President Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler – happy in each other’s company
Pauvre, pauvre M. Hollande, il est dans la merde profond; things just go from bad to worse for the hapless French President. With his UMP opponents in disarray (those who’re not in prison) the Socialist leader should be having an easy ride.
But the Front Nationale are topping the polls, their leader Marine Le Pen is an increasingly popular figure and Hollande’s popularity rating is the lowest for any French leader since Louis XIV lost his head over bad polling figures, the economic disintegration of the French nation becomes more apparent every day, Hollande’s sycophancy in supporting all America’s wars is going down like a lead balloon with voters.
And then when Hollande already looks down and almost out for the count, along comes his former girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler and stomps on his bollocks.
Hollande has always traded on his image as a gentle, if somewhat befuddled looking left wing intellectual. Alas, the lovely Valerie has just trashed that image in a new book, Merci pour ce moment (Thank You For This Moment), a tell-all memoir chronicling her seven years at his side.
In her words Hollande is presented as mean, cold, curmudgeonly, mean spirited, with a penchant for offensive sexist put-downs and snobbish contempt, a serial liar in love and in politics and a media-obsessed egomaniac. And that’s just Chapter One.
“He campaigned as the enemy of the rich, but the truth is that he despises the poor, she writes, recalling their single visit with her working-class family at their council house, in which Hollande looked “bored to tears he would rather have dined with his sophisticated Parisian friends than with us. The President shows a nasty streak with his joke that “all those Massonneaus [her maiden name] aren’t very pretty, are they? In a further damning revelation, she says he calls the poor “the toothless and is “very satisfied” with his own witticism.
This kind of attack has far greater potential to harm him than political ineptitude. The French may have been willing to forgive the affairs with Trierweiler while he was in a long term relationship with Ségolène Royal, his partner of 29 years and the mother of his four children; with the actress Julie Gayet, the perfectly typecast luvvie supporter with the Marilyn Monroe figure while he was with Trierweiler and who knows how many others, they might forgive the deceitfulness Hollande must have a talent for in order to simultaneously run several relationships but will they forgive his hypocrisy?
French politicians whose private life attracts adverse attention usually claim that the personal should be separate from the political, and that private behaviour holds the key to public conduct. But Trierweiler’s revelations about The Presidents attitude to the poor are so toxic it’s hard to see how Holland can survive.
Unflattering anecdotes about the President’s macho side have been picked up gleefully by the press and will be particularly damaging with women voters who are traditionally more sympathetic to the political left. These stories include accounts of Hollande’s dismissive comments made to Valérie just before a State dinner, that “it does take you a long time to look that beautiful, but then, that’s the only thing that’s expected of you.
That little snark was overheard by many guests.
And she will have caused Hollande even greater damage with her claim that he instructed her to be given high doses of tranquilisers, shortly after they had split, in order to keep her in hospital and out of his way.
As an ex – journalist herself, Trierweiler is nothing if not media savvy. When she started to write her book she disconnected from the internet, and never sent anything by email. The manuscript was secretly printed in Germany by an independent publishing house, and Hollande only knew of its existence last Tuesday. It’s all reminiscent of the operation surrounding the ‘hatchet job’ books published by Mikael Blomqvist in the ‘Millennium Trilogy’ novels.
According to reports in French media, the President dispatched aides all over France to try to get hold of an advance copy, the effort failed just as he failed to get hold of the fateful issue of Closer magazine with pictures of him astride a motor scooter last outside Julie Gayet’s apartment, which kicked off the whole debacle, just as every policy he has implemented during his two and a half year Presidency has failed.
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