Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Segolene Royal would be good for the American economy.

World: Also China, India, the far east.. hell a lot of people because when someone is willing to anchor themselves in this global economy race, I say encourage them.

For months Mme Royal’s party rivals have been demonising her as a Blair-like reformer who will expose France to the mercy of the free markets. Until now the favourite had revealed little of her plans for the economy, but she is showing her hand in the campaign for the party endorsement next month. A glimpse of the Socialist star at work this week in her western fiefdom showed that President Royal — should she win next spring — would keep business under a firm state hand in the old Gallic way. “The capitalists have to be frightened,” she told The Times. “There is no alternative. They can’t just dispose of people as they wish. They have to be held accountable.” Mme Royal, 53, was chatting in the corridor of the Poitou-Charentes council, in Poitiers, a pretty medieval city. She has presided there since 2004 when she became the first woman elected to run one of France’s 22 regions. Mme Royal had just offered her support to unionists from Aubade, a brand of luxury lingerie, who are fighting plans to close a local factory and move production to Tunisia. “We have to prevent this wildcat outsourcing,” she said. “The workers have no power. We need to tax businesses who want to move out jobs and tax their products when they re-import them.” Such talk may be anathema to the business world and pro-market reformers, but it is music to voters who see Mme Royal as a Joan of Arc who will bring new moral leadership to France while shoring up the old protective state. Mme Royal, whose rank as France’s most popular politician should guarantee her the Socialist nomination, has won favour with Blair-style tough-on-crime rhetoric. She says that she admires some of the British leader’s policies, on youth employment and life-long training for example, but she remains wedded to French leftist doctrines of strong job protection and a firm state hand on the economy. She also came out on Europe this week, supporting “social harmonisation” and promising to put an end to Britain’s opt-out from the Union’s 48-hour maximum working week. She also wants Europe to fight the export of jobs to low-cost countries.

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