Ségolène Royal has walked away with the Socialist party (PS) members’ selection as its candidate for next year’s presidential elections with over 60% of the vote. She left her next two competitors trailing and her live-in partner – the PS party leader, François Hollande, by whom she has four Royal offspring – out of the race.
The Royal name may sound familiar. In 1985, when France decided to test its nuclear bombs in the south Pacific, the other islands in the region were extremely concerned, and Greenpeace sent a ship, the Rainbow Warrior, to New Zealand with the intention of sailing into the area to try to discourage the tests. The French president, François Mitterand, would not be thwarted: he sent the brother of one of his closest aides to discourage the Greenpeace protesters.
This they did pretty effectively, blowing up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour killing a photographer. According to Antoine Royal, his brother Gérard planted the bomb. Mitterand’s trusty aide was their sister Ségolène, who said recently that she couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
As the Independent pointed out recently, ‘Mme Royal's meteoric rise in French presidential politics has been based partly on willingness to talk plainly on "family" issues’. But not the Royal family, it seems.
A popular quotation in our house is from Lord Melbourne, who said of a 19th century British historian, ‘I wish I was as cocksure of anything as Thomas Macaulay is of everything’.
I’ve been musing on this since learning that not one, but two of my most respected friends have described me as ‘inscrutable’.
I’ve always thought myself highly scrutable. Blogito ergo sum. Anyone who blogs lays out his prejudices for all who are interested to see. Like Lord Melbourne, I worry about the number of subjects on which I don’t have any strong opinion, but in general I’ve tended to agree with the person who said it was better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it.
If scrutability means revealing my Thoughts on Life, they are going to be disappointed: these boil down to a few fairly conventional ‘pros’ – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - and even fewer ‘cons’, such as cucumber. More Pandora’s box than Aladdin’s cave.