Laurent Fabius Watch

The VS’s French Politics Correspondent writes:

“I had a look at the Stoa yesterday and noticed that the Dead Socialist Watch didn’t seem to have reported the tenth anniversary of the death of François Mitterrand! (I was in Paris last week and a distinctly uncritical nostalgia is everywhere … you even can go on a Mitterrand-themed walk around Paris to observe the sumptuous tableaux put up for the anniversary outside, amongst other Mitterrand-related locations, the Panthéon, the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Institut du Monde Arabe…).

“May I suggest that the occasion be marked (and Laurent-Fabius-Watch updated) by publishing Fabius’ latest tribute to Mitterrand? (My translation from Libération, 7-8 January 2006):”

“François Mitterrand, who defined himself first of all as a free man, thought that the experience of one person never really works for others. But however he most certainly taught me a lot, on personal and political levels. The most obvious of his lessons is the power of will, the necessity of rallying the Left together and the decisive role of Europe: all that is so well known that it is becoming banal to speak of it. He also taught us several other things. I cite, in no particular order: the primacy of culture over economics, the pre-eminence of the historical and strategic vision of France over making media coups, the fact that nothing in politics is worth as much as having territorial roots, the attention to the right word and the useless epiphet, the faith in friendship, the necessity of thinking globally and acting locally. And, above all, the human dimension of all action. “Life is judo”, “When you want, you can”, “Politics is saying things to people”, “Don’t take every fly flying past for an idea”, “He who has betrayed will betray”, “We must move the lines”: these were some of his favourite phrases, carriers of a philosophical vision – at the same time volontarist and sceptical – and of a political and human practice. Without having looked for it, he taught us that we should beware of courtesans, of habits, of excessive powers and of too long terms of office. Ah! I was almost going to forget: he taught us that at least three essential qualities are needed for a good president: experience, competence and endurance. The man of state must know how to anticipate and to resist. It is not totally useless to remember this.”

Thanks for that, that’s very fine, and, yes, apologies for not posting on this Dead Socialist; I was away over the weekend.

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