Sarkozy, who seems to have developed a penchant for grabbing his heart these days, wouldn’t have been much of a laugh as a student I imagine. Films of him as a young UMP activist have been widely broadcast, but the question today must be asked. Did he leave any time for having fun?
Much as I disagreed with the CPE protestors, had I been a student I would surely have joined them. Because marching when you are a student is fun. And you can tell your children about it when you are older and your youthful ideals have gone a bit hazy. When I was at university, the overwhelming consensus was that the time of great causes and strong beliefs (the 1970s) was over. People didn’t care anymore. They just watched Eastenders and smoked dope instead. Still, I jumped at the chance of waving a banner at the then Education Minister Harriet Harman, even if I didn’t give a toss about why.
We forget that it was also a little like that in 1968, when French students riots provoked by the refusal to let men into women’s dormitories escalated into a full scale social movement that forced De Gaulle to dissolve parliament and call new elections. Still, the gloss of history should mean any self-respecting once-upon-a-time student pay respect to the 68ards and their glory days.
Not Sarkozy. He attacked them today in a star-studded Paris rally, blaming the ‘moral crisis’ in France on the social protests over 40 years ago. ‘The heirs of ’68 have imposed the idea that anything goes,’ he told a 20,000-strong crowd. They led France to the false belief ‘that a hierarchy of values doesn’t exist.’
Oo-er. He IS beginning to sound a little scary….