The French have adopted the familiar English word- 'bashing'. It was used regarding 'Sarkozy bashing'. Now it's used for 'Hollande Bashing.'
'Sarkozy bashing' (mostly practiced by certain media) targetted more the personality than the politics of the former President, whereas 'Holland Bashing' targets everything superficial regarding Hollande, but mostly what he represents.
I might, for an example, be regarded as a 'Hollande basher,' but it's socialism I'm criticising. The French socialism that belongs to another age, when nations were virtually independant islands.
Although his presidential victory hardly contributed to Hollande's modesty, it's probable that basically the French President is a nice fellow. He has humour, and we are aways amused by his inelegant tie-knots and the apparently rebellious, right arm sleeves of his shirts that always seem to give the politically incorrect impression that his right arm is longer than his left.
But if Hollande represents a danger to France and naturally by extension to Europe, it's not particularly because of his personality, which by all accounts can hardly be considered overbearing, it's because of what he represents.
He recently (13th November) gave a press conference at l'Elysée. It was most dramatic, and I referred to this drama and suspense in a comment for Le Point as even being 'Disneylandesque'.
The mise en scène was scrupulously planned, down to the smallest detail including his late arrival, and as if from afar from a trompe l'œil backgound. Like a Messiah he made his way symmetrically towards a rostrum, and even this, resembling a sort of cropped cross, accentuated the quasi iconic sacredness of it all.
Perhaps the journalists were too intimidated by everything to remember what questions they should ask. Indeed the mise en scène was all it amounted to, because no one was any wiser or reassured after the event.
Another comment I posted on the same subject (Le Point) referred to the danger, not of Hollande, but of socialism. F. Hollande is a convinced socialist. By French standards this is almost a regurgitation of the values of the French Revolution, certainly that of Egalité.
Taking into account the presidential campaign programs of Hollande, most of which are economically untenable, yet effective enough to have secured his victory, one can easily arrive at the conclusion that the socialism advocated by Hollande is neither to save the nation, nor Europe from any dire economic straits. It's simply to relaunch socialism. Ideally or ideologically, socialism has no frontiers, therefore essentially it has no particularly direct national interest or national responsibility.
Thus when Hollande claims to be a ressembleur, he isn't referring to the unity of the nation, seriously divided since his election, he is referring to all those who believe in him, or in his brand of socialism. Basically this comes down to all those who naively believe that it's in their interests to believe in him,
and in his brand of socialism.
According to his campaign promises these would include immigrants (including the sans papiers). Those who aspire to retire at the ripe old age of 60. Those for whom a 35 hour working week is already expecting far too much. Those who choose to take up teaching, more for the considerable social advantages of being an employed teacher in France, than for any love of the vocation, along with the devotion and responsibility it should determine and entail. They would also include those who believe in equality, which would therefore spare them, in principle, from making any necessary effort, assuming that those more gifted are prevented from progressing, or if the rich, those who have made their own efforts to succeed, are taxed as much as possible. And last but not least, it would include certain homosexuals who seem to suffer from incurable complexes.
Such populist projects cannot possibly be conceived to salvage the nation from the deep, dark economical bog it's slowly but surely sinking into. They are proposed simply to encourage and perpetuate socialism.
Socialism therefore is the priority. Not national unity. For if this were the case Hollande (following the example of Obama) would feel obliged to work with the opposition. The principles of democracy, (as his Moi-Président is only worth 1.67%) would require this, as well as the nation's economy. But there has never been any question of this.
F. Hollande affirmed it himself. 'I am first and foremost a socialist.' Conditioned by his own dogma, perhaps it has never occurred to him that by continually trampling on N. Sarkozy, he is continually trampling on virtually half of the French population.
And by never once acknowledging the considerable accomplishments and courage of his predecessor, he has blatantly revealed his own lack of stature.
For those so inclined, the obvious attraction of socialism is facility, social protection and even revenge, certainly when a President (who is by no means a propertyless pauper himself) declares that he hates the rich, yet is surrounded by several multimillionnaire ministers.
But to return to his innumerable conferences. These are programmed to manipulate and reassure those who are gullible enough to believe, or those who simply want to believe. The critical issues vaguely referred to, such as the deficit, unemployment and competivity, are put off, as if the President believes that by some miraculous force of nature, by next year, or by the more often mentioned year 2014, such problems would have resolved themselves and won't need his indecisive attention any more.
The obvious reluctance to assume these urgent responsibilities without any more delay, seems to stem from the incompatibility between these primordial issues and socialism itself. 'Competivity,' for example is unsocial. In Utopia where equality reigns, it doesn't exist. When Europe becomes social Utopia, the rich will smilingly pay for the poor and we will all drive ecological cars that may vary in colour, providing the colours are politically correct, but will otherwise all look similar and perform in exactly the same limited and mediocre way.
At a price one would have access to view magnificent automobiles of another age like Bentleys, Cadillacs, Ferraris and Rolls Royces, etc., in museums. One would still be able to dream, providing such dreams are also politically correct.
Naturally unemployment will be remedied by creating a multitude of State paid services. There are endless possibilities in this respect. One doesn't need to have much imagination. In fact the proletariat has no right whatsoever to have any imagination at all. Exertion of the imagination would never be encouraged as it could foster individuality. In this Utopia, equality doesn't tolerate individuality.
If privileges still exist in Utopia, they are limited to the governing sector. It goes without saying that this is perfectly normal and logical.
But to return to tedious reality. As the socialist's priority above all else is socialism, the responsibility of the re-assembler or gatherer of promising socialists, is to use whatever means are available, if not credible and feasible, to attract the maximum of followers to perpetuate the ideology of socialism on an indefinite basis. This, in fact is exactly what F. Hollande means when he ambiguously proposes something vaguely auspicious, 'not for the next elections, but for the next generations.'
However if French socialism has a history of being relatively of short duration, it is simply because it's an unrealistic extravagance in every respect. When it becomes the major priority, the product of the experience can only be mediocrity, also in every respect. A virtually programmed mediocrity.
Thus during such a critical period regarding national, European and world economies, when nations increasingly depend on their competivity in order to survive and thrive, there is a real risk that the consequences of another period of French socialism, could be fatal. Fatal not necessarily for France, une grande dame coriace et experimentée, but for French socialisme, and this would be just as well.
Text © Mirino. Top image ©EPA (with thanks). November, 2012