Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Third Republic Lives - French ministers accept free travel

I thought I had great material for kicking off a new thread - The Third Republic Lives! Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie have admitted taking some "free" travel and lodging to visit Tunisia and Egypt. This would have been keeping in the rich tradition of canoodling of the great Third Republic politicos as they careened towards total defeat in the 1930s.

Alas! I read the article in today's New York Times and all the "free" travel turned out to be sensible precautions and measures that a visiting minister should employ when visiting a foreign country. There are security concerns and these were pretty standard practices. Supposedly these were "embarassments." Looked sort of sensible to me.

Saved! Rather than not having a story here, President Sarkozy entered the fray and said henceforth ministers would stay in France for vacations. This is genuinely stupid. Ministers should be encouraged to go visit the world, particularly around the Mediterranean where two great cultures meet. I couldn't help thinking what Charles de Gaulle's response might have been, such as sticking the grand nose high up into the air and saying, "The state travels where it will." So, Sarko has once again come across as a pogo stick!

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