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by Alex in Toulouse
Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:44:32 PM EST
Tonight starts part I of the internal Socialist debates, between all 3 candidates for the presidential elections.
Tonight's debate is televised on LCP (which I'm watching), but there is also a webcast on LCP's website (which seems saturated)
Part I will be about Economic and Social matters.
Here I would say that Ségolène Royal was most convincing. She sounded like a mother trying to reassure her children. Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK for short) was political. Fabius was false.
DSK: "My goal is full employment within 10 years [..] I understand that people are worried, even youths as we saw with the CPE [..] Oil is running out [..] The Right has been disastrous [..] We need to invest to prepare the future [..] Our strongest strengh is within us"
Fabius: "I would use 2 words: precarity, and veering off [..] There are more and more homeless [..] For the first time parents are saying that their kids will have a harder time than they did [..] Past capitalism was industrial and national, today's capitalism is global and hyperfinancial [..] We are not declining, we have an inner strengh, our grandparents have overcome harder hardships"
Royal: "I agree with veering off, and I would add a certain depression and a spiral of misery [..] GDP does not evaluate real wealth [..] We need to change the way we look at the Economy [..] Added value is not wealth, as it may destroy the environment [..] this is why current ways of seeing the Economy are no longer valid"
Fabius: "growth is weak in Europe and in France, compared to the rest of the world [..] social matters must feed growth and justice, and a stronger purchasing power [..]
I propose a law of ecological planning for energy [..] the number 2 in government should be responsible for energy" (my opinion: was average, paddled in deep water at some point)
Royal: "we need to reinvest in work, investment and environment [..] on one hand 3 million french people are unemployed, and on the other hand some companies are undermanned [..] professional training is important [..] we would have benefits in social accounts (and not deficits) if we followed Denmark's example [..] investment too [..] environment is essential, many jobs could be created in the environment if we focused on it [..]" (my opinion: was not very convincing, but stuck to a plan)
DSK: "what we need today, is confidence. French people are not confident. if there is no confidence, there is no growth [..] confidence [..] to create confidence we need to hold a huge round of negotiations on purchasing power, pensions, etc, creating a pact that binds the president [..] so first of all, regain confidence through negotiation [..] debt is not good, because then you pay interests. if you're a liberal then you don't care because you don't want the state to interfere, but I care" (my opinion => sounded like a salesman)
And as I say that Ségolène Royal pulls out the first diagram of the show! (map of France showing the power of regions - while arguing that France is the sum of its regions)
DSK wants to imitate Sarkozy (tries to look ultra-confident, economically modern etc)
Fabius is a bit confused, probably because he doesn't really know how much he should try to seduce the extreme-left.
Royal is probably the most passionate, but talks longer than others (gets scolded by the hosts). It's hard to tell whether she's talking from the heart or a very good comedian reciting her notes. If it's the first, she'll have convinced a lot of people tonight (after 30 minutes of debate). If not, she'll be like DSK.
Fabius is starting to pull off a harder left rhetoric, but still speaks slowly.
DSK is becoming more passionate, speaks faster, but still has a liberal-tinted tone.
Royal speaks at the same rate, neither fast nor slow, seems tranquil.
Fabius: "this is Sarkozyst rhetoric [..] there is an ultrafinancialocapitalist tendency to ... [..] our strength is in Europe, but not just every Europe, not a Europe based on free trade but with an industrial policy, with a euro policy, with an external trade policy".
And I thought German was full of long words.
But you're doing a stellar job, Alex. Have a penguin. In fact, have two.
DSK - starts talking about inequalities, saying there are more and more, repeats the same thing he said earlier about using the wrong methodology in the past, and then gets to men and women ... saying that we need to prevent inequalities before capitalism creates them: "something must be done about this particularly horrible one between men and women, we won't be able to solve all inequalities in 5 years" (but we'll get some).
What about you Fabius? Maybe you could even start with parity in your government?
Fabius - "Yes, I have in fact promised it, my government will have as many men as women [..] i would fight against imposed part time [..] for instance in companies, very early in the morning, 4am, it's often women who clean up ... which means they cannot have dinner with their children, this is what I mean by imposed part time [..] increase allocations towards women"
What about you Royal, do you think the 35 hours are responsible here? You seemed to be criticizing them ...
Royal - "the 35 hour week constituted a great progress for many, but a regression for some [..] it needs to always be a factor of social progress, so in sectors where it hasn't been, it will have to be adapted. I'm not saying it's a mistake, it's created a great amount of jobs, has increased productivity and is a true social progress, I am only saying that in cases where it didn't lead to job creations, it created social regression"
DSK - "Baaa you're here thinking that France is here with its millions of unemployed people, with its low growth, and with its strict budget as if that was the end of it ...!!"
So you're basing everything on growth?
DSK - "but life is growth!! growth will come back, we've done it in the past"
What? They're going to field four or five candidates? Splitters!
Royal - "I find it unacceptable that there are such territorial inequalities in access to health [..] I find it unacceptable that in some rural parts of France a woman for instance needs to wait several months to see a gynecologist [..] on the basis that the state pays for a part of the training of medical students, we could implement a directive that would force medical students, like is the case in other professions, to spend a part of their professional life in rural areas [..] I would generally give health a more localised approach, opening tiny clinics, focusing on proximity and thus prevention, and this would greatly reduce the sector's debt"
Fabius - "well have you noticed that we were all 3 socialists (grins). But let me summarize what I think on the Health issue. I agree with Royal when she uses concrete examples to show that we can make improvements here and there and I'm happy that she re-used a proposition I made a long time ago and that everyone had refused back then, concerning territorial inequalities and medical students [..] and I agree with DSK that the health issue will be essential to the future, these expenses will keep on increasing, and it's normal, we will live longer, we will find more expensive and effective techniques [..] I believe we need to focus on public research here"
Fabius is thus the first to take a swipe at one of the opponents, as soon as the host invited him to show why he's different.
Fabius seems to be highly intelligent, gifted with an impressive synthetic capacity. However, it it impossible to know what the man wants, what he believes in, and since he oscillates in his speech between soft socialism and hard-left rhetoric, it's even harder to know. It's a pity the man has no firm shape, as he could have been a great leader. Has srong Keynesian touches at times.
DSK comes through as an economist, and something of a corporate manager. He is also clearly intelligent, but I would say somewhat less than Fabius (who seems out of this world). He really is a social-democrat, which to me means a centrist. This man is a Blairite I would say. Would probably do a good job as president though, but would not prepare France for the end of this age.
Royal comes through as a mother, no matter how hard she tries to shake it off. She sends the message that she is here to change our diapers, to make us all live with dignity. She is a sound reasoner, ie. doesn't seem to get caught in her own reasoning traps. She is definitely a believer in all things small and regional and local, and makes you feel that she would be your favourite mayor. As a president, I don't know. She has the charisma and the confidence, but does she see the big picture? She puts forward some arguments that seem to show she does, but when she does it's her own big picture, which seems quite contrary to established ideas.
Two experts so far say that Ségolène Royal seems to have consolidated her lead as the other candidates were stereotyped. DSK was said to be elegant but avoid answering some questions. Fabius was "all to the left" but nothing clear. While Royal, a less talented speaker, always talked to "all French people" and "accepted to recognize past errors".
The socialists are winners because they organised this debate.
Fabius came through as hard left.
DSK came through as a manager.
Royal came through as a simple, pragmatic person.
One said she is basically managing her popularity.
I'd also like to hear the impressions of anyone else who watched the debate.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
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