Thursday, May 10, 2007

By their friends you shall know them...

Malcolm, like all old lefties, was rooting for Ségolène Royal. He is less than surprised by the result (though 53-47 is a heck of a lot better than the last outing) and less than staggered by the following piccy:

That's Sarkozy lurking behind the red duster. Only last Sunday he was pledging to be President for all the French people, and preaching his mantra that the French must work harder and make sacrifices.

Back home, the French were indulging in their usual vigorous post-election analysis:
Tuesday night, some 200 cars were burned around France and at least 80 people detained in the third night of post-election violence, Interior Minister Francois Baroin said on France-Info radio Wednesday. That was down from 730 cars burned on Sunday night.

Vandals broke windows at a local headquarters of Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement party in Villeurbanne, near Lyon in the southeast. But Baroin insisted the violence was ebbing, and was under control.

Meanwhile Sarko was cruising off Malta, on a floating gin-palace owned by Vincent Bolloré, number 17 on the French
Rich List and 451st among Forbes world-wide plutocracy. Bolloré gets his kicks by collecting BDs (French comic books) and corporate raiding:
With his easy manners and sleek good looks, Vincent Bolloré seems the epitome of Gallic gentility. But in clubby French business circles, the 49-year-old industrialist and investor is considered a killer. Bolloré has a habit of shaking up undervalued icons of French business--often family-run companies--then wresting cash and choice industrial morsels from them. Film group Pathé, construction and telecom giant Bouygues, and even venerable merchant bank Lazard Frères Co. all got a taste of his medicine.
He may even have aspirations to go the Berlusconi route by muscling into media, currently by adding the British advertising firm Aegis (in which he currently has a near-30% holding, just below the level at which he must make an all-out bid) to his fiefdom. Aegis is significant because it is:

the world's largest independent media buyer... Havas [which Bolloré already owns] controls an estimated 4 percent of the global media buying market, while Aegis controls approximately 9 percent.
It was refreshing to see that the French opposition press were out of the blocks, and harrying Sarkozy. La Depeche du Midi of Toulouse saw Sarkozy indulging in luxury "in the manner of a newly-rich who had won the lottery." Nîmes-based L'Independent du Midi predicts Sarkozy "will be our first American-style president," because he is a "great admirer of the country where money and luxury are considered as mandatory symbols of success." Sphere: Related Content

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