In a display of typical vulgarity, Nicolas Sarkozy has launched his campaign to become president of France again when the elections are held next spring.
The disaster of Sarko’s presidency from 2007 to 2012 has been largely forgotten, eclipsed by the catastrophic stewardship of his successor François Hollande, known to his people as Monsieur Flanby after a popular wobbly jelly. But Sarko came in promising reform and failed completely, eventually humbled, as most French leaders are, by the country’s unreformed trade unions. His rule became famous for the amount of time he spent with his supermodel third wife on the yachts of his rich friends, exhibiting large quantities of bling.
Now, realising who is calling the shots in French politics, he exploits the recent terrorist outrages in France and tries to suck up votes by sounding like Marine Le Pen, leader of the populist-national Front National, who looks certain to win the first round of the election.
The good news is that most civilised French, who would normally vote for a conservative president, find Sarko repulsive. Those who frequent bookmakers would be better advised to back Alain Juppé, the Mayor of Bordeaux, instead.
Labour is now so irrelevant that it hardly matters whether Jeremy Corbyn was dishonest or incompetent in staging his pathetic train stunt, in which he sat on the floor and demanded renationalisation.
You can’t believe a word he says; every loony in Britain backs him and 95 per cent of the population regard him as politically toxic; he can’t even stage a publicity stunt properly; and he will shortly be re-elected Labour leader by a landslide.
Isn’t it wonderful, not least for those who need a final push to form a new, and credible, Opposition?
Tony Jay, the co-writer of Yes, Minister who died last week, was an awesome man. His personal qualities – generosity, warmth, friendship and a formidably high intelligence – were immense. He brought that intelligence forcefully to bear on politics, on which he was always ahead of the curve: that he could write jokes, too, displayed what a Renaissance man he was.
Tony was a huge loss to the BBC, for which he worked between his mid-twenties and his mid-thirties before making a fortune in business. He understood early on the closed mind that damages aspects of the state broadcaster, and warned us against its capacity for institutional Leftism.
While I did not agree with him that it should more or less be closed down, any minister charged with monitoring and reforming the Corporation would do well to start by reading Tony’s writings on the subject. He was the greatest director-general it never had.
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