Monday, April 14, 2008

A "Profound Malaise"


Claude Goasguen, deputy from the 16th arrondissement of Paris, and member of Sarkozy's UMP party, a party now deeply troubled by divisions, disconnects and pessimism, granted an interview to Journal du Dimanche, of which these are highlights:

Nicolas Sakozy finally backed off: the Family Benefit Card will continue to be subsidized by the State, and even extended...

If the National Assembly had been consulted on economic measures, the deputies would have been able point out that economizing on the Benefit Card would set off a wave of controversy. It would have been best to discuss this first (...)

After the Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet incident, is all forgotten?

There remains a profound malaise. The deputies had already felt alienated because of the Grenelle talks on the environment and the Jacques Attali report. Ever since the election political life has been nothing more than a face to face encounter between Elysée and public opinion. If that worked well when he was the favorite of the polls, we see today that it wasn't a very good method.

Is the mess going to continue?

There will be new embarrassments. We are about to examine many sensitive issues such as (...) Sunday business hours, the redeployment of the Army, (...) He must instruct us, not toss off measures one after the other like a bombardment. The deputies do not wish to be treated like simple voting ballots. In addition, many of them have the feeling that Sarkozy's will power is fading.

Who is responsible for the chaos in the government?

The ministers have decreed that Parliament no longer has power. They attend fewer and fewer sessions, they won't answer our questions and they seek approval with the president. We never see them except when they come with projects, usually poorly thought out, that we hear about first in the press. It's unbearable. (...)

Does Prime Minister François Fillon manage his troops well?

Is François Fillon really prime minister? His behavior seems to indicate that he could become one. That is why he was so firm with Kosciusko-Morizet. The deputies have nothing against him; quite the contrary. The confrontation between Sarkozy and public opinion cannot last five years. We're going to need a prime minister and a Parliament when the time comes. (...)

Should Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet have resigned her post?

She thought that the only way to exist politically was to make waves. Some rely on iconoclastic views to get noticed by Elysée. The next time a minister blunders like that the prime minister ought to sideline him. Otherwise Parliament will take care of him. If José Bové had not been present during the vote on GMO's, it's almost a sure bet that the bill would not have passed!

Note: José Bové is the extreme left-wing anti-American anti-capitalism English-speaking French activist who originally gained world fame by attempting to destroy a McDonald's in southern France. It isn't clear if NKM was in any way working with Bové, but it is ascertained that she made no move to stop the passage of an amendment to the bill on GMO's sponsored by communist André Chassaigne:

The amendment imposes "zones of quality production without GMO's." (
Figaro)

The next day there was an uproar from the deputies. Majority leader Jean-François Copé declared, "when an amendment comes from the Left and the government allows the National Assembly to do as it pleases, that means, quite simply, that it approves."

As I indicated in my previous post, it is difficult to separate spontaneity from trickery in the conduct of the ministers. The same question here is raised as before: Did NKM act totally on her own, as Goasguen seems to feel, or are there hidden strings on Sarkozy's puppets?

In any case, Sarkozy, whatever he is up to, is losing ground again. The latest poll published by JDD shows a 61% disapproval rating compared to only 38% who are satisfied.

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