If you want to understand why Sarkozy and his cronies have been quite so vituperative about les rosbifs, the possibility of a Sarkozy defeat in France’s upcoming presidential election is not a bad place to start.
The elephant in the room is the upcoming French presidential election. L’Express carried a headline recently noting that French far-right leader Marine “Le Pen is riding the wave of the debt crisis and the euro” with some polls putting her on 20% for the first round of the election, to be held in April. As opposed to her father, who made it to the second round of the Presidential election back in 2002, she’s not just running with an anti-immigration message but also rallies very firmly against the euro, something that wasn’t on the political agenda in 2002.
Polls show that Sarkozy is currently expected to gain around 25% of the vote in the first round, while the socialist candidate François Hollande is a few percentage points ahead.
Since April is still some time away and the euro crisis can still take many turns (including France losing its triple A rating) the French press is starting to realise that there is a serious danger that a Le Pen could again make it to the second round.
And if Sarkozy loses, that will be the end of Merkozy, and, in all probability, what is left of the euro rescue deal cooked up in Brussels a week or so back.
2012 is shaping up most, uh, interestingly.