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France: The U.M.P Crisis Lurches On

Politics / France Nov 26, 2012 - 05:19 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


The actors in this now long-running, seemingly complex farce took another major change in the week ending 25 November. The week ended with a one-day mediation attempt, by The Providential Leader also known as Alain Juppe. Juppe was hailed in the private media as The Man. TV stations like BFM Tele and iTele regurgitated newsreel Juppe footage dating back to 1970 to comfort the middle class masses. The fuzzy images flashed by private TV stations told average couched-potato French that Juppe, who got an 18-month suspended jail term in January 2004, is a natural leader, totally above suspicion and respected by all - The One Man who can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

But this former president of the UMP, from its start in 2002 until he was overthrown and replaced as party chief by Nicolas Sarkozy, in July 2004, in a certainly rigged ballot, quickly decided to throw in the towel. There were no grounds for agreement between the raging, squabbling Dark Twins of the UMP, Francois Fillon and Jean-Francois Cope, who both claimed they won the leadership election inside France's second-biggest political party, and the official Opposition in France's parliament.

Alain Juppe, despite his reputation for hanging on to lost causes - like trying to save Chirac-era party bigwigs inside the UMP, which was founded by Chirac but pitilessly cleaned out by Sarkozy - quickly let this one drop. After a nighttime motorcade arrival at the French National Assembly by all three Great Men, Sunday 25 November  and a "terse" 1-hour meeting, Juppe told the press it was all over for him. He was abandoning "the critical mission".

French politics can be said to be in the process of coming of age. Only a week into the crisis, TV anchormen and anchorwomen, and carefully selected TV Talking Heads occasionally let it slip that this "stupefying spectacle" could or might show France doesn't need any second party, any Opposition. It already has more than enough political parties - and anyway the voting public are totally contemptuous of them all. Except when they shift to sheep-mode and troop down to the voting stations to cast their ballots. They believe in democracy! Every four or five years!

They are schizophremc so give them schizoid politics - it's all they're good for. Reassuring the sheep they are cared for, protected and listened to, while sucking down their taxes is the name of the game. Doing that, with help from the right media - both public and private - can earn you a really easy living. French politics excels in latter day sheeple democracy, exactly like "the Anglosaxon countries".

French politics, in relation to the "Anglosaxon" countries, has a continuous and even psychotic need to compare itself with what happens in the US or UK. Half-mocking, half-fawning and venerating towards the "Anglosaxons" and their politicians, and leaders, the French National Soul oozes out of its political mafia and politically correct media in torrents, at times like this. In less than a week, the collapse of the UMP has produced pompous and twittering editorials in what remains of the French paper press saying that the Anglosaxons are watching and loving our national humiliation, we must reunite, if not all is lost. But who reads the Trash Press anymore?

Alain Juppe decided he was not quite able to Save the Nation - in fact he decided it was a total waste of time. Othr party bigwigs adopt a similar line. One dates from the very recent Sarkozy era in the UMP: Henri Guaino, described by Wikipedia as a "French political speechwriter and politician", but in fact the main speechwriter of Sarkozy all through Sarkozy's "Royal Presidency". Countless speeches written by Guiano and excitedly blabbered by Sarkozy described the two-party system as almost an insult to a Regal President, that is Sarkozy, so popular that only communists, terrorists and Anglosaxons would be churlish enough, or dare to criticize.

As we know, since the 1970s the death of democracy is signalled by a one-class pauperized middle class and an impoverished to extinction working class in the so-called Old Democracies, also called "mature" democracies, like mature French cheese. The one quality, low quality, low income consumer rabble thinks alike, dresses alike, eats alike and has no interest in politics. Except when it votes!

It gets what it deserves: the French UMP crisis brings out in the open what this rabble merits. A one-party State, North Korean style. Intrestingly enough, in a long Sunday 25 November TV show, on rigorously pro-Sarkozy, privately owned BFM Tele, Henri Guiano claimed that France could or might "drift towards a North Korean situation". This was after the announcement that Alain Juppe had chucked in the towel on his mediating attempt. One comment made by Juppe underlined the real crisis of French and "Anglosaxon" Mature Democracy politics. He said there were no ideological or party political problems or differences between Cope and Fillon. It was a purely animal egotripping Alpha Male quest for dominance - but as Guaino said: Dominance over what?

The UMP is purely and simply surplus to requirements. Entitled and allowed-to-speak TV experts are finding they are suddenly able to say this, one week into the crisis. The party could split, into UMP-Cope and UMP-Fillon. Sarkozy might swoop down from his branch or belfry and create a short lived and rickety UMP-2. Juppe could or might make a clownish UMP-3 out of the wreckage. Simply through osmosis, the right wing and extreme right factions of the now clinically dead UMP could or might migrate to Marine Le Pen's National Front, but French political commentators across the board think this is unlikely.

What they dont say is why. Le Pen's party is so outdated, primitive and bizarre that acts in a 1970s timewarp. For the National Front, colour TV is only experimental. Party politics still exists. Migration of Lost Souls from the UMP, anxious to keep their parliamentary pay and privileges in the case of UMP national assembly members, to the reformed and modernised Parti Socialiste, could theoretically be possible. Very theoretically: next to the National Front, the Parti Socialiste still has leftover traces of being a political party, pursuing party politics. In any case, UMP-to-PS conversion has proven almost impossible, but PS-to-UMP conversion was possible, and brought Sarkozy several of his smarmiest yes-men and behind the scenes fixers, like Eric Besson and Bernard Kouchner.

Shifting to a non-party, from an organization with still existing traces of party politics, was easy in the PS-to-UMP direction but the other way round was nearly impossible.

The crisis and farce rumbles on, but a single week has been all thats necessary to show how modern France really is: just like the "Anglosaxons" it only needs and wants one party government.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2012 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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