20 December 2008

First, well done to those who spotted my deliberate mistake a few days ago in giving the UK Prime Minister a new first name! There was a past MP called George Brown who, as I recall, was slow, large and ponderous and believed he was the answer to everyone's prayers......not much difference there then.
Here in France, the usual troubles that beset governments everywhere drone on. However, a new salacious slant is that the person doing the complaining is the President himself. As we all know, our Nicolas led a very colourful private life before he took office - and afterwards too. Well, it seems that a former domestic intelligence chief, a Monsieur Bertrand, actually kept secret files on Nicolas's personal and sexual life!
So, of course Sarkozy has launched a probe into the former head of the General Intelligence agency -- France's former political police. We all know that the French are, allegedly, in a permanent state of unbridled eroticism, but it appears they don't wish their own personal exploits broadcast in one man's files! So the prospect of a formal investigation has sent shudders through the Parisian elite, as cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, business leaders and celebrities are among those named in the notebooks. Between 1998 and 2003, Bertrand filled 23 spiral-bound pads with cryptic handwritten notes recounting tales of sexual and financial indiscretions, feuds, and insults and alleged crimes among his high-level targets.
Now, French people are never happier than when they are complaining about something, and (as we've seen with the recent teachers' protests) manifestations are commonplace. What makes this latest scenario so interesting is that it merges their love of protest with their alleged reputation for licentiousness, but also with their renowned insularity - worse than the Japanese. Also, of those they hate, the French reserve their greatest enmity for their fellow countrymen, but especially those who live in Paris! Never the 'twain shall meet?
On verra - we shall see. Makes for some festive entertainment anyway.

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