Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mbissing the point

Madelaine Bunting, here accusing Sarkozy of being sexist and patronising for telling Segolene Royal to 'calm down' after she called him immoral and brutal, manages entirely to miss the point of the French Presidential debate. Royal is behind in the polls, and fighting against a sense that what is needed for France is change, the sort of rupture that Sarkozy represents. Against that is a feeling that Sarkozy is too angry a figure, too thin-skinned and arrogant.
Trying to make sure that this aspect was revealed during the debate, watched after all by 20 million voters, Royal tried to provoke Sarkozy into losing his temper. She called him immoral and brutal, referring back to a pre-election smear that Sarkozy was dangerously anti-democratic, and even fascistic. In response Sarkozy made a point of remaining extremely calm (zen-like according to Le Figaro) and telling Royal to calm down. Royal gambled a little on making Sarkozy lose his temper, and lost. Worth a try, but no cigar. What it isn't is indicative of misogyny.

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