Wednesday, March 26, 2008

 

President Sarkozy Makes Sense

The Today Programme’s prestigious (and often preposterous) ten past eight slot this morning was unusual in two ways: I thought the interviewee made a lot of sense; and I was agreeing with Nicolas Sarkozy. I don’t know which way I’d have voted in last year’s French Presidential run-off – the Socialist seemed a fluffy but ineffectual voice for the status quo, while Monsieur Sarkozy made more economic sense but on issues like immigration was a grotesquely illiberal git. Still, at least it was a more palatable (if less easy) choice than the previous election’s alternatives of the crook or the fascist. Some might say this morning’s interview was unusual in that the interviewee was speaking French, too, but as we largely heard his translator talking over him instead, the main vocal style of note was the amusing way in which Mr Naughtie’s usual terrier-like style gave way to fawning over a head of state.

The BBC news site’s coverage of the interview focuses on President Sarkozy’s warm words about a new Franco-British entente amicale and proposed closer co-operation in advance of his address to both Houses of Parliament – oddly enough, it’s on issues like nuclear energy that I’m more wary of him – but it was his words about the European Union that I found more stirring. In essence, he said that a Europe without Britain was unimaginable, but Britain needs others, too, explaining so many of the issues in the world that we can only really affect by working together. And Britain can only build a different Europe by getting involved – if we don’t have “both feet in Europe,” we’ll never be able to change it.
“Now, we’re not asking you to join Europe by giving up what you hold dear, but by bringing in everything that you have achieved. And that is a lot.”
Both more practical and more passionate than any interview on Europe that Today’s broadcast for a long while, it’s well worth a ‘Listen Again’ (later today, I imagine the interview will be part of their daily ‘Best of Today’ podcast assortment, too).

On the other hand, grumpy old Mr Brown may be less delighted by President Sarkozy, not only because he’s threatening to boycott the country illegally invading, occupying and oppressing Tibet for the last half-century – whose murderous dictator Mr Brown has been expending so much effort in sucking up to – but also because in his Today interview Nicolas Sarkozy talked about how impressed he was by the UK’s exciting young leaders. To paraphrase him in the style of Sideshow Bob: ‘The following UK leaders are youthful and vibrant: Monsieur Blair (once); Monsieur Cameron; Monsieur Clegg; that is all.’

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Comments:
Brilliant entry, just what I've been thinking.
 
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