Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Q. Will Hollande clean up corruption in France after the Cahuzac affair? A. No, he won't

A tax fiddler. Just like me.
Unbelievable. As you know, Jérôme Cahuzac, the Socialist minister responsible for taxing French citizens, ferreted hundreds of thousands (millions, says the Swiss press) into Swiss and Singaporian bank accounts in order to avoid paying his taxes on his lucrative private business and its profits. That's why he was fired recently by President Hollande. So be it. France has seen worse.

The reaction of the political classes, from left to right? Easy. They all predictably denounced Cahuzac and his actions and they all called for heads to roll, and they all called for draconian legislation to make sure it could never happen again.

So François Hollande reacted. 'Swiftly', as they say.

The idea was that France should borrow some ideas from rather more democratic countries which demand that office-holding politicians should be checked out in advance to see if they are fit for office. Vetting, in other words.

Ah, but alas, it was, and is not, to be.

Because two days after the news broke, the opposition UMP party suddenly woken up and, realising the danger to the interests of certain of its members which would be posed by stricter vetting, is now making it clear that it is against 'Stalinist' or 'inquisitory' or 'demeaning' legislation which would oblige them to render public their business interests and sources of income, and it is also becoming apparent that there are a substantial number of influential personalities within the government itself who, without admitting as much, agree with them.

Even journalists are weighing in against more transparency in French politics.

As for the public, I haven't seen many polls yet but a reader poll on Figaro earlier this evening gave 75% of readers against more financial transparency for politicians.

In other words, the Cahuzac affair will change nothing. This affair will see the usual endgame which is reserved for ethical and democratic issues in French politics.

In French politics, on fait le coq, on s'engueule beaucoup, et puis on laisse tomber, et puis merde....and make no mistake about it, à bon entendeur....


  1. Crazy! Not long ago, we were all good at criticizing third world countries. They were just following our examples.

    1. Hello Nadege, and I hope you are well. and I haven't been around much lately as I'm snowed under with work. In fact by the end of today I'll have worked 26 hours this weekend!

      Anyway, yes, many third world countries are in the grip of modern methods of political and financial corruption, and those methods have been handed down to them by colonialism. We have no lessons to give anyone...