Third, a populist nationalist right.
These can be traced back over two centuries, and although they have espoused a variety of institutional forms and labels, they have never completely disappeared. It had its brief heyday in the middle decades of the nineteenth century - contemporary with the liberalism of the Manchester School, of Peelite conservatism, and of Gladstonian liberalism in Britain.
But even then it never shared with British liberalism a quasi-religious devotion to free trade as the source of progress, peace and universal prosperity. France never had the equivalent of the Anti-Corn Law League. The idea of laissez-faire from the state aroused deep suspicion there, and it still does. Another right-wing prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, has recently stated that 'we do not want a liberal Europe.
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This tradition originated with Napoleon. Its political hallmark is the assumption of what Max Weber defined as 'charismatic' authority by an individual who claims to have been chosen by the people to embody the unity - even the destiny - of the nation above the squabbles of the parties and the conflicts of personal or sectional interests, and uses the power of the state to shape and direct the future of the nation. Moreover, de Gaulle's Fifth Republic institutionalized this by downgrading parliament and the political parties. De Gaulle was in no way an economic liberal: he pursued and accentuated the policy long followed by both left-wing and right-wing predecessors of making the state the arbiter and planner of the economy.
It maintains involvement in many privatized industries, it heavily regulates the labour market, it has institutionalized the control and subsidy of agriculture through the Common Agricultural Policy. It presses the EU to adopt an 'industrial policy' i. Exponents of this strategy would doubtless point to Airbus and the TGV high-speed rail service as proofs of success, and the huge majority of French voters would agree.
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Sarkozy, as finance minister, did not depart from this approach. Most famously, in he prevented the takeover of the bankrupt Alstom by 'foreigners' - in this case, Siemans, a company from France's closest ally, Germany. During his successful presidential campaign, he reiterated his intention to 'protect' the French economy from 'unfair competition'. His supporters among the middle classes and in business circles want precisely that.
Only once in its history has France ever followed a determinedly liberal economic policy: during the s, when the authoritarian Napoleon III, in alliance with Britain, set up the first west-European common market and created an embryonic common currency. This lasted little more than a decade, and caused widespread opposition.
After Napoleon's fall, his successors - who included right-wing, liberal and left-wing politicians - rapidly introduced a series of tariff protection measures, culminating in heavy agricultural tariffs in the early s. Compare this with the diametrically opposite history of Britain, which since the s has had only one comparably short period of thoroughgoing state interventionism: the s and 70s.
So when Margaret Thatcher introduced a programme of neo-liberalism, she was going back to the economic norm, and drawing on a free-trade tradition that had never really disappeared. If Sarkozy were to do something similar, he would, on the contrary, be going entirely against the grain of French history. Moreover, Thatcher came to power after a much more acute economic and social crisis than France has suffered in recent years, and hence greater public readiness to accept painful change - which even then caused lasting bitterness and almost destroyed her party.
If all French politicians today are aware of British economic successes since the s - Le Monde wrote recently that its higher GNP and lower unemployment were things that 'everyone knows' - they are no less aware of their social and political cost.
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But in governing, Sarkozy will have to use that class. From the s, French politicians of left and right have consciously undertaken the creation of a professional ruling elite.
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They thought the Revolution had destroyed, or at least removed, France's 'natural' ruling class. A specialised administrative training school was briefly established in Significantly, the school's founders centre-right intellectuals wanted to create an elite to act behind the political scenes as top civil servants, for there, they believed, was where real power lay.
Soon, Sciences Po was indeed training a high proportion of officials in the key ministries. The students are overwhelmingly middle class and urban, many from civil-service families, and indeed many are the children of former alumni. The outcome is a coherent and homogenous group of high-flying administrators - who also migrate into business, the political parties and the trade unions, fostering a symbiotic relationship - expressly trained to serve the state and preserve its values as leader and protector of the nation. In short, what is summed up as 'le service public'.
This could arguably be said of any respectable bureaucracy. But the French have it in spades. Sarkozy poses as an outsider: but he will be surrounded by insiders. A sign well worth watching of how radical he really means to be, or can be, will be his attitude to university reform: will the 'pyramid' described above be opened up, and its privileges pruned?
No less important, and certainly more tangible, than political ideas, traditions and institutions are economic structures and interests, which also have deep historical roots. During the eighteenth century, Britain and France were Europe's biggest overseas trading nations, with France somewhat in the lead. Series introduction author Chuck D redefined rap music and hip-hop culture as leader and cofounder of legendary rap group Public Enemy.
His music addressed weighty issues about race, rage, and inequality with a jolting combination of intelligence and eloquence rarely heard before. A musician, writer, radio host, television personality, college lecturer, and activist, Chuck D is also the creator of Rapstation. Nicolas Sarkozy. Dennis Abrams. Nicolas Sarkozy was born an outsider.
A child of immigrants who grew up outside the circles of the French political elite, Sarkozy beat the odds by slowly climbing up the political mountain until he reached Frances highest peak--the office of the presidency. The former president was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations in and claimed he should not face trial because Azibert never got the job in Monaco.
But investigators believe the deal fell through because Sarkozy and his lawyer learned that their phones were tapped. Sarkozy's post-Elysee life has been mired by legal trouble. In , he became the first former president to be taken into police custody during a preliminary stage of the inquiry. Last month, a top court rejected an appeal to avoid another trial, which involved charges of illicit financing of his campaign. Sarkozy denounced the charges arguing he was unaware of the fraud by the public relations company Bygmalion.