We’ve experienced a rather odd phenomenon over the last couple of days.
In Nicholas Sarkosy we seem to have a President of France who is more popular in Britain than he is in his own country.
For a liberal there is a lot about Sarkosy that should worry us. For me the deal on nuclear energy this week is particularly worrying. But there is also a lot to like. I was really pleased to see him present Ellen MacArthur with the Legion d’Honneur this week. Alex does a good job of summing up this dilemma.
I think the thing I most like about Sarkosy, aside from Carla, is that he is so obviously enjoying himself. There is a tendency to expect all politicians to behave like puritans. The large parts of France that seem to want to emulate a great Woodhousian maiden aunt, worrying that Nicholas is not displaying enough “dignity”, certainly does. So it is refreshing to see a politician that so clearly cuts across that. Even if it has done terrible things to his poll rating.
He’s President, and lovin’ it!
As I saw the coverage of Sarkosy’s gushing speech to both houses of Parliament on Wednesday I had this nagging feeling that he reminded me of someone. As compliment piled on compliment in a rhetorical love letter to all things British, I finally twigged who. Ahem.
However, the serious point is that we have a French President with a genuine desire to strengthen ties with Britain and to pull us into a more central role in Europe. We have a huge opportunity here to reshape our European policy into something much more effective and dynamic. But, and I am inclined to agree with Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, I seriously doubt that British politics, and Brown in particular, is able to take advantage of that opportunity.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.