Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’

A note of caution for Labour on François Hollande’s lead

23/04/2012, 03:01:32 PM

by Atul Hatwal

What’s that? A left-wing party doing well? Sacre bleu!

The response on the centre-left to François Hollande’s lead in the first round of the French presidential election has been a mix of excitement and hopeful expectation.  Billy Hayes, leader of the Communication Workers Union tweeted last night “Socialism is on the agenda, via La France”.

Lessons are already being learnt and precedents noted for Labour’s own strategy for victory in 2015.

But some caution would be advised.

France is not Britain and in amidst the understandable optimism there are some fairly serious reasons to be reticent about reading too much into a Hollande lead for Labour.

Three in particular stand out: Sarkozy’s perceived responsibility for the crash; his conduct in office and the narrowness of Hollande’s first round lead.

First, Nicolas Sarkozy is one of the few remaining leaders in office whose tenure pre-dates the crash of 2008. Gordon Brown, Silvio Berlusconi and Luis Zapatero are all gone. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the case, in the eyes of his electorate, Sarkozy will bear some culpability for the disaster.

From the major European nations, only Angela Merkel has retained office following the crash and it’s no coincidence that her survival has been secured as Germany has avoided the worst ravages of austerity.

The electoral gravity on this issue weighs against Labour and at the next general election David Cameron will still be reminding the public that the crash happened on a Labour government’s watch.

Second, Sarkozy is partially being punished for not being monarchical enough. The French take the ceremonial solemnity of the office of president very seriously and his conduct in the office is deemed by many to have been sufficiently unbecoming.

There is no natural read across to Labour’s experience on this, not unless David Cameron divorces his wife and shacks up with Adele.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Friday News Review

15/04/2011, 06:53:20 AM

A modern triple entente

President Obama today signals the return of America to the forefront of the international effort in Libya, writing a joint article with David Cameronand Nicolas Sarkozy in which the three leaders commit their countries to pursue military action until Colonel Gaddafi has been removed. In the joint article, Obama reverses America’s earlier cautious approach to the conflict – which saw the US hand control to Nato and withdraw fighter planes just days after the intervention began – and signs up his country to the more muscular intervention of his European colleagues. Obama’s new interest could transform the efforts of the international community after three days of talks in the Gulf state of Qatar in effect came to nothing. – the Guardian

Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy have stated their determination to keep bombing Libya until Muammar Gaddafi steps down or is deposed. The leaders of the United States, Britain and France said, in a jointly written article, it would be an “unconscionable betrayal” of the populations of rebel towns to cease operations with Colonel Gaddafi still in place. It was “unthinkable” that a leader who has “tried to massacre his own people” could be allowed to continue in government, they said. “So long as Gaddafi is in power, Nato and its coalition partners must maintain their operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds.” – the Independent

Immigration policy chaos

The Lib Dem Business Secretary, was speaking in Manchester following the Prime Minister’s speech on mass immigration which Mr Cable had said was “very unwise” suggesting they could fuel extremism over immigration. “The reference to the tens of thousands of immigrants rather than hundreds of thousands is not part of the coalition agreement, it is Tory party policy only,” Mr Cable had told the BBC before Mr Cameron’s speech. Questioned about his comments to the BBC Mr Cable said: “I don’t want to develop that, and I think I have said what I wanted to say. – the Telegraph

Vince Cable insisted the government was ‘completely united’ on immigration after earlier claiming David Cameron’s comments on the subject were ‘unwise’. The Lib Dem business secretary was greeted by angry protesters as he arrived for a visit in Greater Manchester at the centre of a political storm. The protesters – complaining about government cuts – disrupted a campaign visit to Levenshulme by Mr Cable. One was arrested. Mr Cable had appeared to criticise Mr Cameron’s keynote speech on immigration – in which the prime minister said the numbers coming into Britain were ‘too high’ and were dividing communities. The business secretary said the speech risked ‘inflaming extremism’ and was ‘unwise’. But Mr Cable, who was touring businesses in the north west, said later there was ‘no division’ between him and the prime minister on the issue. – Manchester Evening News

More people waiting longer for treatment

David Cameron’s pledge to protect the NHS was in tatters last night after official figures revealed a shock increase in hospital waiting times. The devastating blow, in a week where Health Secretary Andrew Lansley was ¬humiliated by nurses, ¬undermines the Premier’s -promises to patients. Less than 90% get their treatment within 18 weeks – the worst performance in almost three years, said the Department of Health. And some patients are even being made to wait for more than 39 weeks. Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said: “Cameron should say sorry to patients for breaking his promise. “He said he wanted waiting times to come down but these figures will further add to people’s concerns the NHS is starting to go backwards.” – the Mirror

Official figures show that some people have endured gaps of more than five months between being seen by their GP and being admitted to hospital, with the average wait lengthening by a full week over the past year alone. Waiting lists lengthened over the winter as NHS trusts cancelled planned operations to care for critically ill flu patients, but are likely to increase still further as health authorities begin in earnest to make savings of £20billion over the next four years. It represents the latest in a series of figures that have called into question ministers’ claims that the health budget and front-line services are being protected. Waiting times in A&E have increased by 63 per cent over the past year while more than half of 10,000 planned job cuts are said to be hitting doctors, nurses and midwives. Labour, which introduced the targets for treatment within 18 weeks, highlighted David Cameron’s claim at a recent Prime Minister’s Questions that the Government wanted “to see waiting times and waiting lists come down”. – the Telegraph

First class cover up

Labour leader Ed Miliband has been caught out trying to cover up his first-class train journey to the regions to reconnect with voters. Aides of Mr Miliband’s were spotted taking away the ‘First Class’ seat covers just as the leader arrived on the London to Coventry train with cameras in tow. The leader, who elbowed older brother David out of the way to seize the top Labour job, has repeatedly tried to launch a class war with the Tories, emphasising Prime Minister David Cameron’s privileged upbringing. But yesterday his class-war tactics backfired when Mr Miliband was filmed in the first class compartment of a Virgin train on his way to a local election campaign visit in Lancashire. Asked why he thought he should travel first class when he was trying to pitch himself as a man of the people, he said: ‘We travel standard class and we travel first class at different times… I don’t think any politician should claim that they are leading an ordinary life. – Daily Mail

So it was with mild surprise that I watched Ed Miliband step into a first class carriage on his way to Preston at the outset of a day of pre-local election events to which I and my Sky News crew had been invited. His team is evidently aware of the potential pitfalls of being seen to travel apart from the hoi polloi, as the first thing they did was to remove the “First Class” head covers from all the surrounding seats. When I questioned the Labour leader, he said: “We travel standard class and first class at different times.”I don’t think any politician should claim that they are leading a normal life because talking to you, being in the public eye is not a normal life.” The important thing, he said was to be able to “put yourself in other people’s shoes”. – Sky News

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon