Monday, May 07, 2007

France chooses modernity

Ségolène Royal had a good deal of moral support from Spain's man of the moment José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a politician that has gained and retained my respect and admiration since that most particular of moments which catapaulted him to power.

Yet unlike Spain's governing PSOE (and to an even greater extent our own Labour party) France's socialists have yet to adapt to the realities of the modern, globalised world.

Modernised politics mean that most of the things worth setting fire to a Renault about tend to run on auto-pilot and voter apathy soon establishes itself as the norm once the citizenry have realised that there's nothing really important at stake when they mark their ballot papers.

But here in the spring of 2007 the French have still been able to hold an election in the full knowledge that their nation is confronted by a very serious set of problems indeed. Across the channel "am I bovvered?" is not really an option.

Oddly enough though, the more self-evident the crisis the more immoderate and potentially erroneous are the political solutions that push to the forefront. It is a phenomenon you see all over Latin America, and on this occasion the people of France have had to make a choice between two candidates whose apparent unsuitability for the highest office was off even that most slanted of scales.

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