Shame

1850745_3_e4fb_francois-hollande-et-jerome-cahuzac-le-4_a74d414ac4ad8ec942dc00f15809453cIt would appear that shame is an emotion that is not in sufficient quantity in some quarters of French politics.  In a stunning turn of events, the rising star of the Socialist government, Jerome Cahuzac, who resigned from his Budget portfolio last month over allegations that he had hidden money from the tax authorities in a foreign bank account, who had spent months denying the allegations, on radio, television and even in the National Assembly, who had begun libel proceedings against the news organisation that led with the accusations, has now admitted that he has an account with some 600,000 € squirreled away and that he has repeatedly lied to all concerned over its existence.  He has been charged with tax related money laundering and risks prison.

The government is reeling from the betrayal and brazenness of Cahuzac.  What should happen now? Continue reading

Competing over Competitiveness

And so Louis finally handed in his report.  Mr Gallois, who faced, as I have blogged previously, the difficult decision of what medicine to prescribe to an obviously ill patient, published his report on French competitiveness yesterday.  The report was met with suspicion by trades-union, acclaim by the right, the centre and employers’ associations, and consternation by the government.

Ruled out immediately was the suggestion to pursue research into shale gas – a big no-no for the Greens.  However the key measure – finding some other source of financing the social security system by reducing employers’ and employees’ payroll taxes by 20 and 10 million euros respectively – has no become an unquestioned dogma in French politics.  The question is how to pay for it.  So who will the government stick with the bill? Continue reading

A weekend by the sea: part one

Every year for the past two decades, the French Socialist Party holds its summer conference (dubbed a Summer University, to differentiate it from the Party Congresses held every few years which vote on policy and the party leadership) in the Atlantic resort of La Rochelle. I’m here for the weekend to participate in what is designed to be a studious series of workshops and presents tins on the issues of the day. This is however the first conference in ten years where half the government is here. So what use is three days of chatter at the seaside in the dieing days of summer?

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