Stanley's blog

Celebrity politics

As thoughts of vacation drift before our eyes, we may perhaps be permitted a little musing. The two biggest political names in July 2008 are Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama – who meet today in Paris.

The French President’s Mediterranean Union Conference was a great success; his Irish visit does not seem to have ruffled any more feathers; and, thanks to the disarray of the French Socialists, Parliament approved his economic reforms. So far, so good. We must now wait for the follow-up and implementation.

As to how much of the Sarkozy initiatives and actions are influenced by personal characteristics and how much is part of an overall strategy, we can only speculate. France – and not only France – needs stirring up, provided that the result is constructive.

A doubt lingers over the President’s introduction of celebrity politics to l’Elysée.. Hitherto, the institution of the French Presidency has tended to be ‘monarchical’ and the individual occupying it has respected this in his personal conduct. Who would have imagined last year that a First Lady’s album be number one in the charts? Is this all part of the shake-up?

Nicolas Sarkozy remains an enigma and will now lead Europe for the rest of the year. We should all take some good relaxation and return home and fasten our seat-belts for the roller-coaster ride ahead.

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