Friday, May 04, 2007

Against All Odds

All French-able readers : read yesterday’s Le Monde’s editorial by Jean-Marie Colombani.

I don’t like bookmakers. I don’t like surveys. Both lie, both present a picture that is anything but the truth of what they claim to represent. Many surveys work on population samples that aren’t correctly balanced. Most surveys never, ever take into account people who do not have, say, a standard telephone line and only a mobile phone number. There are other examples. And of course, it’s well-known that people do not behave when answering to a survey’s questions, as they will when their time to really vote comes. The number of far-right voters are often underestimated because when questioned for a survey, they will not come out and say they intend to vote for a far-right party (yes, this kind of thing is fortunately still considered more than shameful in good old Europe).

So, when I look at the nice survey numbers that came out today and claim that Nicolas Sarkozy has reinforced his leadership position in the last days of the French presidential race, I sit back and smile. And I wait. I will wait until late at night Sunday, and the true results are released. Some people already rejoice. Some people already claim victory is won for the UMP and all is lost for the PS.

Let them.

They are wrong. Nothing is ever finished until the end line has been crossed. Nothing is ever won in advance. Nothing is ever certain, the more so when it comes to polls.

Nicolas Sarkozy is a liar. It has been demonstrated time and again. He lies when he claims that he will regulate the Euro rate and make it lower against the US dollar. He lies when he claims he has any kind of power over that. Nicolas Sarkozy lies when he spews out his simplistic slogan “Work more so you can earn more, and the jobless numbers will fall”. He plans to suppress all taxes on extra-hours and to get rid of all limitations on the number of extra-hours an employer can ask of his employees. This, he claims, will help companies and help the unemployment rate to drop.


Suppress all taxes on extra-hours, and get rid of all limitations, and you’ll get a very mathematical, very logical consequence: you will simply encourage employers to “request” that their employees work more and more extra-hours instead of hiring new employees. And one wonders, how will that help the unemployment rate…or perhaps one misunderstood, and the aim is to have that number of unemployed people rise?

Add to that the other announcement by Nicolas Sarkozy that he will reform the laws applying to social and job matters: that he will create a single sort of work contract, in which it will be possible to fire anyone without reason, with greatly reduced notice and redundancy payment. This, he has announced. Now, please combine this measure with the one announcing the extra-hours taxes suppression, and you will catch another of Mr Sarkozy’s lies: that everyone will be free to choose. Of course, you will be free to refuse to work extra-hours. With a quasi absence of trade union presence in the small and middle-sized private companies, you will say “no” to your boss, as will be your right, and he will fire you and replace you with someone who will comply, as will be his right.

And I will spare you the rest of the demonstration, and how admitting and finding it normal that people do not earn enough to live with a full-time job will eventually lead to the same shitty situation as in the US or the UK, where people are forced to work several jobs in order to pay their bills, if they’re not lucky enough to have a well-paid job.

Mr Sarkozy has done nothing but oppose people, turn them into enemies or adversaries. This is perfectly logical: he represents the right, and the oh so very moral values of the ultra-liberalism. Mr Sarkozy doesn’t give a damn about Europe, but he gives a great deal of consideration to the US, and to their current president: Georges W Bush. So much so that his staff negotiated during months in order to allow him to be invited to the White House, and to have a stool so he could stand at the same height as W in the famous picture all the media published. Of course, all these negociations took place while he was still Minister of Interior, thus on the State’s budget and the tax payers’ money. But hey, after all, it’s much more useful to use the people’s money for one’s own selfish agenda and ambitions than for the good of all citizens, right?

Mr Sarkozy loves the US so much that he has made a public apology for what he has the gall to call France’s "arrogance", thus humiliating France, and usurping a place and rights that were not his. Who is he, who does he think he is, to belittle France that way? To make judgements that go against his own government? What does it say about what he believes France should be for the US? Oh, not an equal, not a partner who can voice a clear disagreement. A faithful dog, rather, as the UK has been in the whole Iraqi fiasco. Well, that's showing his true stature, and it's not one worthy of becoming the next president of France, for sure!

And there are many other things that give one pause when considering the candidacy of Mr Sarkozy: his American vision for the economical and social solutions in the sense that all his measures are in favour of the upper social classes and will undeniably lead to a deepening of the inequalities between people. Others are his constant attacks on May 68, sign of a clear desire for an ideological revanche. What disturbs people is also the way he has to oppose “those who work” to “those who cheat” and all his suimplistic rhethoric of “black and white”. Mr Sarkozy doesn’t seem to know what grey is. In this, he’s much like his idol Georges W Bush. What appals people is his hyper-repressive vision of society, his challenges of justice decisions, which show a blatant disrespect for the independence of the Judicial power. His ties with the high and mighty in the media world are also in question: how can you be sure of the media’s independence, when you know that Mr Sarkozy is the godfather of the kid of the most powerful TV channel in France? When you know that Mr Sarkozy is a close friend of all the big bosses of the great names of newspapers publication?

Nicolas Sarkozy is dangerous. He is at heart someone who will divide, who will oppose and who will bring chaos, in small or great measures. He’s someone who wants to destroy, to unmake. He's someone who's so bent on projecting the image of one who loves France, that he'll make references to Christianity and happily trample down all the essential priinciples of secularism that are the foundation of France. A Christian's values are higher than an Atheist or an agnosticist, according to Mr Sarkozy.

Even worse, and reminiscent of the dark years that led from 1930 to 1940, Mr Sarkozy is someone who believes that your destiny is determined at birth, by the genes you inherited. He believes that you are born a pedophile, and he plans to have 2 years old kids tested to check if they’re not going to become delinquents. The Brave New World of Aldous Huxley isn’t so far away.

Segolene Royal wants to unite people, to bring them together, to spark discussion and debate. To put all the problems on the table and discuss them with everyone, to find solutions that everyone will adhere to.

Segolene Royal wants dialogue. She wants change and movement, pushed and supported by the support of everyone.

If only because of this, we must reveal the opinion surveys for what they are: lies. Every single vote does count. So go vote on Sunday.


Dare bet on Segolene Royal, on her project of reinventing France and a true dialogue between everyone so that all can benefit and go forward.

Dare. Vote.

Laugh in the face of the big media.

And remember, on the precipice of defeat, one gathers one's strength, and one defeats the enemy, even against impossible odds. Everything is possible, to the end.

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