Time for one quick post on the way out the door; this one was far too juicy for me to resist. Nicolas Sarkozy, the man who will fulfill his destiny later this week and become the sixth President of the Fifth Republic, is in the news in France for having spent a few days off in Malta on the luxury yacht of loadsamoney friend Vincent Bolloré. The French press - particularly on the left - have been making much of the arrogance of Sarkozy for lazing about so flagrantly after urging the French nation to work harder all through his Presidential campaign. Call me an old Northern European fuddy-duddy but I would rather see it as a case of a man ready to be influenced by his rich friends (and Sarkozy, in defending himself, has said that M. Bolloré is 'one France's great industrialists, the pride of the French economy'). It is not, as some people have alleged, a tendency to the Berlusconian but a more squalid, mundane one to the Blairesque, Blair of course having been long attracted by the filthy lucre of the former Italian Prime Minister. Sarkozy is to meet Blair this week for what one can only imagine is going to be a workshop on vulgar displays of chasing new money.
Most gallingly of all, M. Bolloré has said that it is a tradition in his family to entertain dignatories of the French political world, including former Popular Front Prime Minister Léon Blum, though Blum's family have flatly denied this. Sarko sent many on the left apoplectic during the campaign by evoking Blum and another hero of the progressive Left Jean Jaurès and it now seems clear that the orgy of lying and chicanery has begun in earnest. If Sarkozy is this foolish already, his fall may come a lot sooner than we all expect. BTW, the Libé front cover headline 'Boat people' is priceless.