Sarko ~ theatre notes

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


As widely expected, Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidency on the weekend. It's an election that has been somewhat anxiously observed in this house, as it will probably affect us more than the upcoming Australian election.

It may seem trivial in the face of intransigent social problems such as these, but there's a deep connection between Sarko's proto-Fascist policies and his hostility to contemporary culture (he believes in "high art", but the massive decentralisation of theatre to the suburbs and regions of the '70s looks as if it's had its day). A major fear is that the Ministry of Culture could disappear altogether, as part of the public service cutbacks Sarkozy will implement in the next year. No matter what, French artists are bracing for a Thatcherite-style kicking over the next few years. Most people seemed to agree it was between bad and worse as far as the arts are concerned: Ségolène Royal by all reports viewed art principally as a platform for social propaganda. Well, being French, they're already manning the barriers...


Nicholas Pickard said...

It's strange how the flow of right and left works...
Portugal recently went to the right and Germany went to the right last year - now the French. It always dominoes. Will the tories now get back in the UK?

Meanwhile, the US is steering back a little to the left with Mr Bush now at an approval rating of 28%.

And how will this little country fair later this year? Hopefully it follows in the footsteps of the country that our PM so loves to follow. It would be ironic that we follow them a little closer than he anticipated.

Paul Martin said...

Just this evening I had a little clash with my French teacher, who was happy that Sarkozy won and thought that he would be good for France. He was a little taken aback when I said there was enough fascism in the world without adding to it. People forget how innocuous fascism is at the start.

Alison Croggon said...

The most simple definition of Fascism - accoding to Mussolini - is that it means the corporate state. The closest we have to that at the moment is Halliburton's America. As for France, there's a fair bit of "wait and see" about Sarko, but nobody in the arts thinks it is a good thing (but they didn't think Royal was any kind of alternative either - her policies were apparently no different). Although, like Jeff Kennett, Sarko will make entrance to public art galleries free.

I'm hoping to get some informed opinion about the actual implications of this - just guessing at the moment - so watch this space.

TimT said...

Portugal recently went to the right and Germany went to the right last year - now the French.

Chirac and his Government are nominally right-wing.

As for discussion about whether Sarkozy is fascist or not, it seems a little odd, coming at a time that his opposition are rioting on the advent of his election. And the involvement of corporations in affairs of state offered as a definition of fascism seems like a slightly different version of the state-run monopolies that are the result of socialism.

On the whole, I think these opening gambits against Sarkozy's presidency aren't too convincing. Let's wait and see what happens.