Posts Tagged ‘Terra Nova’

FRANKRIKE | Alla valrörelser präglas av överdrivna vallöften. Men frågan är om inte den franska tar priset. Och med väljarnas goda minne.

Men det finns logik i galenskapen.

I en utmärkt rapport om valkampanjen förklarar The Economist varför president Nicolas Sarkozy och huvudmotståndaren, socialisten François Hollande, inte vågar tala klartext när det gäller Frankrikes problem.

The French live with this national contradiction—enjoying the wealth and jobs that global companies have brought, while denouncing the system that created them—because the governing elite and the media convince them that they are victims of global markets. Trade unionists get far more air-time than businessmen. The French have consistently been told that they are the largely innocent victims of reckless bankers who lent foolishly, or wanton financial speculators, or “Anglo-Saxon” credit-ratings agencies. Mr Sarkozy has called for capitalism to become “moral” so as to curb such abuse. Mr Hollande has declared that his “main opponent is the world of finance”. Few politicians care to point out that a big part of the problem is the debt that successive French governments themselves have built up over the decades. Why?

The explanation is part conviction, part calculation. Neither the French right nor the left has ever fully embraced market-friendly thinking, except under duress.


All this is also tactical. In the first round of voting in France (as in America’s primaries), candidates try to shore up their base; in the run-off, they compete for the centre.


Many French commentators dismiss all this as mere political posturing. Aides to both front-runners argue that, in reality, each understands what is at stake. The 75% tax rate, says Olivier Ferrand, head of Terra Nova, a Socialist-linked think-tank, is “just a symbolic measure”: even Mr Hollande has conceded that it will bring in little revenue, if any. Behind all the rhetoric, Mr Ferrand insists, “the Socialist Party has modernised, and does understand the need to improve competitiveness and control the deficit.”


Yet it requires much forbearance on the part of the electorate to accept that the candidate will not do half the things he has said he will. There is a serious risk of disappointment if, for example, President Hollande were to say upon taking office: “We have examined the public accounts and, quel dommage, there is no money for anything I promised after all.” And in order to defuse this risk the new president would have to put into place at least some of his dafter ideas, if only as a political gesture. The last such measure the Socialists introduced was the 35-hour working week.


All of which leaves voters with the unenviable task of deciphering which part of each candidate’s message is credible, and which part pure fantasy. The best guess is that both front-runners, for their own political security, would need to put in place a couple of the barmier ideas.

Läs mer: Allt är kanske inte bara mörker. Nu har Sarkozy presenterat ett 32-punkts program för att få ordning på Frankrikes ekonomi.

Bild: Artikeln och tidskriftsomslaget ovan är från The Economist den 31 mars – 1 april 2012.

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