Apologies for the lack of posts yesterday. All the driving up and down the motorway was more draining than usual, by the time I reached home again I was too exhausted to type in a straight line. I did, however, just about summon up the energy to watch a little of Nicolas Sarkozy's Q&A appearance on Télé 5. The part I caught was impressive. On immigration and national identity, he struck the right note, defending traditional French values, equality of the sexes and so on, while keeping his distance from Le Pen.
As for his oft-noted "demagogic" instincts, I thought Naima Bouteldja's Guardian column would come up with stronger evidence than this:
Sarkozy's ability to slay all in his path to self-promotion was in evidence as long ago as 1983, when he was just 28 and right-hand man to Charles Pasqua, the frontrunner for the Neuilly-sur-Seine mayoralty. When Pasqua was hospitalised with a hernia, Sarkozy disloyally chose to campaign for himself, allegedly savouring his political victory with the line: "I've fucked them all!" Sarkozy has never denied this rumour.
... After riots in the suburbs he fumed: "I do find it unacceptable that the juvenile court of Bobigny hasn't handed out one single prison sentence."
Not really my idea of a smoking gun.... As you probably know, he's already won the Economist's endorsement:
It has been said that France advances by revolution from time to time but seldom, if ever, manages to reform. Mr Sarkozy offers at least a chance of proving this aphorism wrong.
But this journalist thinks he's blown it with the youth vote:
"Think of it in terms of a family. Segolene Royal - she's like your annoying mother, telling you to clean your room but at least she'd give you some pocket money so you could go out on a Saturday night. But Sarkozy is obviously the strict father who may want what's best for you but is not able to explain it to you so you would always want to go against him. It's like the army. Don't think, just obey."