Is this curtains?
It’s a reasonably fast-moving Monday morning in the world of French conservatism.
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin (conservative PM before Fillon; Chirac’s poetry-writing Iraq-invasion-opposing Foreign Minister), interviewed on radio station Europe 1, urged Fillon to deliver Operation Truth ‘and perhaps a bit more … He must put everything on the table’ at a press conference or major TV interview.
De Villepin then said: ‘in every championship … if the winner’s disqualified, the second takes their place’.
De Villepin was almost immediately wrong-footed by Juppé tweeting 30 mins later. Juppé repeated he will not be Les Républicains’ Plan B. His tweet addressed ‘the authors of unfounded rumours’ saying ‘une confirmation: pour moi, NON c’est NON’.
So in the absence of the Républicains N° 2 does it logically fall to N° 3? Step up M. Sarkozy. Nah, surely not.
If Fillon goes, then still more names will need to be discussed I’m afraid. Just a couple of Républicains to be getting on with : Xavier Bertrand (winner against Marine Le Pen in last year’s Regional Elections in her depressed northern France redoubt) and François Baroin (Macronesquely-youthful-looking professional-machine-politician).
De Villepin also said only 2 people could beat Le Pen: the Right’s candidate and Macron ‘who has the advantage of being young’. De Villepin wouldn’t say if he supported Macron.
Will he go? Won’t he go?
Early this morning on flagship BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’, Christine Ockrent (one of the Beeb’s liveliest go-to commentators on Things French … she’s actually a famous Belgian!) was interviewed. She said (listen at 45:15 – with, just before Ockrent, a short report on Le Pen’s opening Lyon rally) that Fillon was likely to go on TV tonight asking for more time. An hour later on ‘Today’, Valérie Pécresse (President of the Parisian Regional Council and erstwhile Juppé-iste) – currently in London touting for Brexit-distressed businesses to move to the Paris Region – stated as a fact that Fillon would not resign today (her interview is at 1:51:20).
Latest NEWS: At 4pm today Fillon will address the French from his campaign HQ. Now that’s really odd timing. Fillon’s campaign say he will launch a counter-attack and will ask for more time. Why not on telly if he’s fighting on?
And now for some music
Day 98 (pt 2) provided readers with a link to Hamon’s campaign song. I’m delighted to report that the Beeb has (tardily) recognised the importance of the musical side of this campaign. A summary (with musical accompaniment) emerged yesterday morning [thanks Chris] on the ever-enjoyable BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House. Campaign analysis at 21:59. And for those who might enjoy a minute of enchantingly ‘Slow Radio’, there’s a minute’s recording of a river in Finland at 21:00.