Thursday, May 11, 2006

Double French

I see from an incoming link that someone has tried putting my weblog through Google's translation tool. The results are sometimes amusing  -  'the FT' becomes Le pi - but generally not too bad - Il a sorti de la poche intérieure de sa veste un papier.

When it tries, however, to translate my - not infrequent - passages of French, it produces complete gobbledygook.

Anyway, see for yourself... 

The prime minister went willingly, but left the country in a mess
This self-perception is probably too rosy, as that of 1976 was too gloomy. Germany and France are not doing so badly, and Britain is not doing as well as many Brits like to believe.
I  tried to comment on this, but 'Comment is free' messes up the formatting. So here it is, below
I was listening the other day to an interview on France Inter with the author of Le Royaume enchanté de Tony Blair. One of the magic tricks, of course, was to turn the unemployed into the long-term sick (starting under Thatcher, increasing under Major). He argued that if you added those claiming long-term sickness benefit to the 5 per cent unemployed, you get a figure of 9 per cent, not far below France's unemployment rate. You would of course also need to take into account the 'the long-term sick' in France, but the impression given was that the figure was very low.

However, it is true that the rate of economic inactivity of the young is much higher in France than in the UK.

The book is supposed to be unremittingly negative, but in the interview the author did say that Britain was much more open for ethnic minorities, compared to France (nothing like the périphérique, forming a 'rampart' to exclude the immigrants).
Another comment: on Watergate sur Seine , Leader , Thursday May 11, 2006, The Guardian
But Mr de Villepin is in much deeper trouble. Under the French system he can be dismissed by President Jacques Chirac and replaced by his bitter rival Nicolas Sarkozy
It doesn't seem now that Sarkozy wants to replace de Villepin as Prime Minister: it looks more like he is positioning himself for the presidential election next year.

Update: in the comments, I mentioned Emmanuel Todd's views, carried in Libération. Here is the link. He says
l'affaire Clearstream est un épisode politico-policier relativement mineur [...] enfin, ces faits devraient occuper un espace raisonnable dans les pages intérieures des journaux. Or, nous assistons à une hystérisation, une focalisation totale du système politico-médiatique sur cette question mineure. Pour un sociologue, il est impossible de ne pas voir cet emballement comme une tentative de fuite hors de la réalité. Parce que nos dirigeants ne sont pas capables d'engager les débats qui comptent ­ sur la globalisation économique, sur le rôle de la France et l'Europe dans cette globalisation ­, ils se donnent en spectacle.


Anonymous Peterl said...

thanks for your commentry and postings on the clearstream affair, which i'm trying to follow on the web and in le monde. the notes of this Rondot character seem very interesting. it was searching for the name of one of the participants in the affair on google which threw up your blog. do you know of any good commentaries about this here in the U.K? I noted that the Guardian had a leader today, i read it on the tube and have now completely forgot what it said. well done on the blog.


10:31 pm, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous DavidP said...

I did a search the other day for Clearstream in FT.COM and there were about 25 hits (you need to be a subscriber to view most of these). There were a similar number for GUARDIAN.CO.UK. The recent Guardian leader, to which I linked, gives a reasonable overview, even though I had a comment to make on it.

The trouble is, things are still moving very fast. I haven't heard anything on BBC World Service recently, for example, but in France it's still a very hot topic: it has been top of the news bulletins for the last couple of days, taking up over a third of them.

It reminds me more and more of the David Kelly affair 2 years ago.

One of the latest developments is that one of the judges investigating has himself been called into question, with some saying that this is an old trick, used in another affaire 20 years ago.

Emmanuel Todd in Libération wrote that the whole affair is a distraction from France's real problems.

5:12 pm, May 12, 2006  

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