Perhaps it was just the novelty of seeing a French President speak in their own country and not addressing Parliament, but the speech President Sarkozy gave in Lyon really wowed me! Disclaimer here, I am a ‘leftie’ and don’t speak French and was listening to the translation from the BBC.
Deconstructing the speech the first thing that struck me was the ‘fellow citizens’ tone, this is so unusual, I am so used to politicians adressing, to coin a phrase Queen Victoria used on Gladstone at their private meetings, being “addressed like a public meeting” – it was ‘fellow citizens’ not the usual abstraction and distinction between politicians and the people they work of ‘the public’ here was someone saying that he was a member of the public, just an ordinary bloke doing a job. Look at the speeches that our politicians make and we are referred in the abstract like they are set apart from the general populace. In a sense a very real example of interpolation in practice (remember the Lord Kitchener poster from ‘The Great War’ “Your Country needs YOU” – a perfect example of interpolation, drawing the audience into the event.
If ever an example of an egalitarian society existed, then this was it. Unfortunately we could not replicate it in this country even if we got rid of the Monarchy, it’s too Class ridden.
The bulk of the speech was very sobering, almost a swan song for his Presidency, and for Europe – I truly believe this speech could become an Ich bein Berliner speech, a landmark – the part that was broadcast was that we have to face that Europe was the First World, that the economic system was designed for America and Europe and that now the rise of China, India, & Brazil and we have to accept that change, and that Europe must literally stick together, it has provided peace and will provide a continued existence, and that we cannot disengage from the World.
Interestingly, and Cameron should take note of this, Sarkzoy underlined the right of democratic protest, and that it is good for democracy.
Not to deviate to UK politics too much, but Cameron does tend to ridicule his opponents, and his public comments belie his personal contempt for those less fortunate not to be the The Queens 5th Cousin, note his comments about Tourette’s, and Ageist slurs (ridiculing Denis Skinner on being a Dinosaur), the ‘Calm down dear’ comment to a female Shadow Minister, and his general ‘bully boy’ tactics when he is losing an argument – which I am sure goes down well at Eton but he left there a long time ago.
Back to a serious politician I have to hand it to President Sarkozy, he made a good speech, an honest speech, and a very human, which made me think I wish I had him has Prime Minister.
Please read this brilliant blog I found talking about how we are living in history, how the World is re-arranging – people will be reading about these years in history books: