In these grim times, the French are showing a bit of form. Magistrates there are extremely influential, perhaps more so than politicians. They form a union, and have premises in Paris. In a rather sturdy joke, the legal chaps have now turned one of the walls there into “Le Mur des Cons.” This consists of photographs of the people in public life whom they don’t like and want to hound. The rude word here has rather lost its force through repetition, so in English we speak about the Wall of Prats.
The magistrates are tendentious lefties, of course, so former president Sarkozy is prominently up on the wall. So is a former prime minister Edouard Balladur, and intellectuals such as Guy Sorman, Alain Minc and — to balance things out a bit — President Mitterand’s side-kick, Jacques Attali, and sporting figures who have let down the national team. Paris is echoing with the sound and fury of it. Here is also a reminder that in the hearing of General de Gaulle someone once said famously that “cons” ought to be eliminated. “A vast enterprise!” was the general’s response, valid for all times.