Sunday, 6 May 2007

A French Night a la Sarkozy

The party, I guess, would have been better if Sarkozy had lost. On my TV screen, the Royal supporters seemed like they knew how to celebrate into the night. Whereas the Sarko camp, as assembled by the Concorde and cheering to a pathetic (in both senses of the word) rendition of the Marseillaise, reminded me of your average Morgan Stanley investment banker. “We work hard, but just look at us and you'll see how hard we can play, too... Fanaa!”. Not my cup of tea.

Just before eight, when the results were to be announced, I walked around the Bastille. Never have I seen so much police out in the streets – especially not in a democratic country. Hundreds and hundreds of Gendarmes Nationaux with huge machine guns and full body armour.

I suppose they already knew that Sarkozy would win; and it wasn't difficult to guess how the far-left would react. The battles we saw in Paris' streets today nearly seem like a promise of things to come. All foreign correspondents seem delirious that Sarkozy won – more out of professional self-interest than political conviction. Whereas five years of Royal might have been boring from a headlines point of view, five years of Sarkozy promises to deliver excitement and confrontation.

On my way home, some thirty minutes ago, I had a taster of this. Fifty or so protesters – I guess they had been driven away from the main anti-Sarko rally at the Bastille – were monopolising the Quai des Grands Augustins near Saint-Michel.

In their brightly-coloured alternative clothing they seemed approachable and non-threatening. As I turned off towards my tiny appartment, one of them, a beardy middle-aged man who could equally well have been Hippy or Hobo, told me: “On est des non-violents. Pour l'instant.” The second phrase sounded more heart-felt than the first. Congratulations to the French press corps, I suppose!

P.s: I will delete the “Royal” tag in a moment. It won't be needed any more. Unless we're talking about the American equivalent of a “Big Mac” – see Pulp Fiction – which, though it involves cheese, isn't all too French.


Anonymous said...


Wonderful that you have joined the blogging world. This will be a regular read for me, since I value a witty insider's view of the European situation.

The extreme boxiness of the high stance three-button suit that Sarkozy wore when the results were announced alluded to his immigrant roots and confirmed my disappointment in the result of this election.

- Nels

Gracchi said...

Interesting piece Yascha- it'll be fascinating to see what Sarko does when in power- I wouldn't reckon on a long political career for his Prime Minister though.