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Monday, November 20, 2006

She's not Blair, and he's not Thatcher


Horribly superficial article on French politics by Martin Kettle in the Guardian.
"Royal also won because she represents a general break from the failed past. This is most obvious in her gender and her nice smile."
Great analysis.
She may as yet be extremely unspecific about how she intends to achieve her goals, but there is no missing the recognition that things must change... Royal's acceptance speech yesterday spoke of modernisation, individual choice, respect, justice with order, and even "education, education, education".
Kettle talks about:
Royal's neo-Blairite concoction of economic flexibility, cultural liberalism and reducing social exclusion.
In contrast to:
Sarkozy's neo-Thatcherite cocktail of tax cuts, big-bang institutional upheavals and tough law-and-order.
Hang on a minute. Sarko might be tough on banlieues - but he certainly isn't a Thatcherite. In a speech just last week he said that globalisation was "the cause of the protest vote and the rallying of increasingly large parts of the population to protectionist arguments." He said, "Europe needs protection. The word protection does not frighten me." He went on to say that the high euro needed to be brought down to save European companies. Hardly Iron Lady territory.

Sarko also proposed a European import tax on pollution, which would include taxing imports from third countries and which would be used to finance research in clean energy sources. He said, "There is no reason why we should have to respect the environment when we are in competition with countries and businesses which don't respect environmental rules at all."

Nor is Royal really a Blairite. That tag has been stuck on her mainly by her opponents.

So far Sego has said that “the banking system gets rich at the expense of the poor”, and called for looser monetary and fiscal policies.

According to the Economist on Friday, Royal will campaign on a programme of calling for a increase in government spending of 32%. Even the FT think that she is "firmly grounded in the tradition of French socialism of the 1990s."

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