Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Glucksmann supports Sarkozy

It's just not a surprise - why expect anything else?

French thinkers abandon 'archaic' Royal
By Henry Samuel in Paris
Last Updated: 1:16am GMT 19/02/2007

Daily Telegraph

Battle-lines are being drawn in the salons of Paris' Left Bank after several eminent philosophers did the unthinkable and publicly disavowed the Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal in favour of "la droite".

France's traditionally Left-wing intellectual elite has been ablaze since one of its leading members, the former Maoist André Glucksmann, wrote an article in Le Monde entitled: "Why I choose Nicolas Sarkozy."

Jean-Paul Sartre will no doubt be turning in his grave, but Mr Glucksmann, who co-founded the influential New Philosophy movement in the 1970s, said that the Right-wing interior minister is the only candidate who represents France's tradition of anti-totalitarian humanism — "the France of the heart".

Conscious that his backing of Mr Sarkozy would earn him many enemies, he described the Left as fatally out of touch and "marinating in its own narcissism".

On the other hand, Mr Sarkozy — who is favourite to win the April and May elections — represented "movement versus conservatism" and a break with an old Right "used to hiding behind grand pontificating concepts".

Other thinkers have been equally outspoken about the state of the Socialists.
Alain Finkielkraut, a teacher at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique who has a radio show on the highbrow France Culture station, described Miss Royal as "manifestly incompetent".

"I can only observe that the Socialist party is in a coma," he said, going on to condemn a Socialist tract which depicted Mr Sarkozy as an "American neo-conservative with a French passport" as a "slip into fascism".
He said he was toying with voting for centrist UDF candidate, François Bayrou — also an author and doctor of literature who has won over a string of "intellos". France's highest profile media philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy, refused to back a candidate, arguing that the role of intellectuals was to ask questions not express preferences.

However, he declared himself "circumspect and perplexed" by Miss Royal. "She is at a crossroads. There are two possible destinies," he added. "Either she can be the Tony Blair of French socialism and break the taboos, or she goes back to building the archaic old machinery."

Miss Royal's manifesto launch has done nothing to stem her flagging ratings. One survey on Saturday showed her losing to Mr Sarkozy by a 10 per cent margin in a second round head-to-head contest. But she will have taken heart from another poll suggesting that 79 per cent of voters think that everything is still to play for.
Miss Royal stated yesterday that she would reshuffle her campaign team later this week. "A denser, better structured team is needed," she said.


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