French Foreign Minister, ''That Property deal w Ben Ali was purely private''

This is perhaps worth discussing as I find the French FM’'s behaviour extraordinary and am utterly baffled as to why Sarkozy has not thrown her under at least one bus:

Now I confess I am partial to the Sarko shake up of France and the exile of the French socialists from power, but bloody hell, what the hell are they thinking in France, sticking with this walking PR disaster of a FM? As I understand it, she offer French police assistance to Ben Ali just as things are spiralling out of control, blunders in comments on Egypt, and now these nasty details on her … ‘private trip’ - I mean really.

I think I am on solid footing in observing that Cameron and any other PM in the UK would have thrown her out the door wit (of course in the UK one resigns over idiotic peccadilloes, so perhaps not the model to follow).

Ah, but don’t you know Sarkozy’s already been extremely firm and proactive ? He’s made a presidential ruling that ministers preferably spend their holidays in France from now on, barring specific dispensation handed out by the Prime Minister. There, case closed.

CASE CLOSED, I SAID. Look, behind you, an illegal gypsy in a burqa recently released from prison by an incompetent judge !

First, Sarkozy is never wrong about anything. That includes people he picked to be part of the government.
Second, Sarkozy is generally speaking in deep shit, being the most unpopular president ever with a support of about 25% according to polls. He thinks (rightly or wrongly) that showing a sign of weakness (like an important member of the government resigning) would do him a disservice. There has been a similar issue with the minister of labor Eric Woerth (wikipedia link about the affair) with much more coverage and discontent in France (even though much less in foreign countries, probably), and resignation similarly wasn’t on the table.
Third, Sarkozy has been and is being supported by the UMP, which is essentially the only right wing party currently, and which is in fact a coalition of parties that historically have been independent and includes members with with very divergent views. He has difficulties holding the UMP together and supportive of his policies, since there’s a lot of discontent within it. Moreso since the next presidential election is approaching.

And it happens that Alliot-Marie is an influential element of the traditional “gaullist” (from De Gaulle’s name) conservative wing (socially conservative, rather statist economically), which is also the wing that has been so far the most faithful to him. Having pissed off a lot of other people and political “currents” within his own party (in large part due to his rather authoritarian attitude), he doesn’t want to piss those too by ejecting one of their most popular (within the party at least) representant.

Right, understood, know Gualist thinking all too well.

Nevertheless I am flabbergasted, I imagine that this is all going over like a lead balloon with anyone but party die hards. I mean my politics are not far from Sarkozy (albeit Anglosaxon liberal), but I would have that woman out in a heartbeat. In combo with Filon I can only think they are giving the Left a bloody gift on a platter.

Well, let’s put it this way: if French politicians got canned or resigned any time they were caught up in some massive, fraudulent shitstorm we’d have to hold general elections every 20 minutes. And then we’d never get any *cuisine *done.

As for handing the Left a gift, I wouldn’t worry about that, really. Sarkozy’s government and avalanche of bad decisions have lobbed no ends of balls into the opposition’s corner, as evidenced by their stellar popularity ratings.
Trouble is, the Left is too busy chasing their own tails to pay attention or do anything serious about it. Too many fevered egos, squabbling impotently like crabs in a bucket. Hell, if they couldn’t make something, *anything *out of a massive, country-wide strike that lasted over 2 weeks and that the grand majority of citizen supported vocally against the government, what makes you think anything should come out of some measly bit of pork ?

It’s already old news.

Well, on French corruption problems, I submit that’s very much tied to the dominance of the self-replicating Enarquist elite and an echo chamber effect. But this aside, I’d see the difference with the demonstrations against the reforms in that the demonstrators were clearly wrong and the French demonstrate at a drop of a hat about anything touching the unsustainable “social model” so I wouldn’t expect the rational right to be overly moved, I would have thought even Right voters would be displeased with this particular angle.

On the other hand, the FrançAfrique scandals seem to have done little or nothing to shift habits… Anglosaxon naiveté on my part I guess.

Apparently you’re confusing Chirac and Sarkozy. But I understand, reality is way overrated.

The Left ? Is there a left-wing party in France ? Oh, you surely mean the Front National 2.0.

Marine Le Pen is more left-wing than Strauss-Kahn will ever be.

The politics of it or the actual issue at hand have little to do with it. There were tens of points of leverage in, around and beyond that. My point is: how do you piss away 70+% of the country locking arms against your political enemy ? How do you manage to not turn that into something you can use ?

As for FrançAfrique, well, see Giscard d’Estaing and Bokassa’s diamonds in the late 70s. All right, so Giscard got beat in the next election, but that had little to do with the scandal and everything to do with the RW base being split between him and Chirac.