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Monday, May 7, 2012

BE THANKFUL FOR SMALL FAVORS

Heaven knows, Francois Hollande is no flaming radical, but he is a socialist, and he has just won the French presidency for the Socialist Party for the first time in nineteen years, so I think this calls for some decorous cheering and a kir at the local bistro.   I took a look at the election results by Paris arrondissement on the Liberation website, and made a curious discovery.

Paris has the shape roughly of a fat oval, with the Seine running east to west through its middle.  If you draw a veritcal line that bisects the city from top to bottom, you find [looking at Liberation's useful interactive gizmo] that every arrondissement to the right of the vertical line voted left, and every arrondissement to the left of the vertical line voted right.  [In France the colors are reversed, so left is red and right is blue.]

My tiny apartment is in the 5th, just to the right of the line, and sure enough the 5th went for Hollande 56% to 44%.  Now, when Susie and I walk to the movies in Place de l'Odeon, we actually pass from the 5th into the 6th, which is just the other side of the line.  I am utterly unware of moving into a different sort of neighborhood, but the 6th went for Sarkozy 57% to 43%, a 9% swing.  I think it is clear that I have a lot to learn about the intricacies of French politics.  A friend of mine who has lived for many years in France and works as an English/French simultaneous translator explained it very simply this way:  "It is old money versus new money."

The last socialist president of France was Francois Mitterand.  Mitterand had a mistress, whom he set up in an apartment on rue de Bievre, which is the next street over from ours.  Apparently this caused enormous inconveniences to the neighborhood because of the security required when he visited her.  Hollande is not married, but has four children with Segolene Royale, who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency on the socialist ticket last time around.  I trust we shall not see an influx of security forces this time.

4 comments:

Phersv said...

Mitterand had a mistress, whom he set up in an apartment on rue de Bievre

Mitterrand had indeed mistresses but as far as I know the Rue de Bièvre appartment was his official family house in Paris, not an adulterous pied-à-terre. :)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Good grief, are you sure? In that case, I really have the story wrong. I must ask the folks in our copropriete who were there at the time what really happened. Thanks for the heads-up.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Hollande "has just won the French presidency for the Socialist Party for the first time in nineteen years".

The last socialist president of France was Mitterand, who was re-elected for the last time in 1988. It's actually been 24 years. (And it's been 17 years since France had a socialist president, as Mitterand departed in 1995.)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Sigh. I think I had better return to philosophy, where facts don't count for beans. Although, come to think of it, I am so out of touch with reality maybe I should go for economics.