Opinion: Jospin attacks, Royal goes Biblical
The battle of the losers: Old habits die hard as French Socialists do what they do best – fight amongst each other.
18 September 2007
Former French Prime Minister and failed presidential candidate Lionel Jospin criticised Segolene Royal for being a "secondary figure in public life" unfit to head their party. He made these harsh comments in a book – “The Impasse” – due to go on shelves in France next week.
Lionel Jospin had announced his retirement from politics after his failure to enter the second round of the 2002 presidential election, loosing to far-right leader Jean-Marie Lepen, but has since become active again in French politics.
He expressed his views during the presidential election and recently made public his support for Bertrand Delanoë, the current socialist mayor of Paris, while strongly disavowing Segolene Royal.
Jospin is not the only politician, left or right, to judge Segolene Royal as incapable of leading the socialist party anywhere but to its doom but no socialist had expressed their concerns about Segolene Royal’s capacities as a politician in such brutal terms until now.
Given her reputation as a stubborn and egocentric authoritarian – not to mention her campaign shortcomings and gaffs – it’s conceivable that she wouldn’t be the best candidate to unify a party suffering from great internal turmoil and fragmentation.
But Jospin’s latest criticism, pertinent or not, is only adding the party’s internal tensions and giving France a reason to laugh at a dysfunctional socialist party, yet again.
Consider the irony of a retired politician whose 2002 presidential bid failed miserably criticising another politician whose 2007 presidential bid has, to a lesser extent, failed as well.
It’s the fight of the losers, an entertaining verbal battle between the one who failed and one who never succeeded. Needless to say that they should think twice before taking each other’s advice.
The ridicule doesn’t stop here. Royal’s Biblical reply to Jospin’s criticism, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”, immediately followed by a historically inspired comparison, “If I were Jeanne d’Arc, they would have already burned at the stake”, will be remembered.
Royal spreading the word of God? Royal as the reincarnation of Jeanne d’Arc?
Yes, but she is also a normal French woman suffering from the sexism of of her fellow socialists, a “sexism so strong” that it “resembles racism,” she said.
Nothing has changed for the French left. The reconstruction of the socialist party is still at a halt. It lacks direction and specific political goals as it did during the last presidential election. Its ideas are stagnant and limited to basic criticism of Sarkozy’s right-wing government reform plans.
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Subject: French news, Opinion