Jeremy Harding describes a scene of Sarkozy's last big meeting before Sunday's vote:
‘You’re 200,000!’ Sarkozy announced triumphantly, before he laid into the opposition’s preference for the red flag over the tricolore, quoted from Lamartine and promised a new kind of entrepreneurial capitalism to replace ‘finance capitalism’, but he’s been saying that for a while.
A spat erupted just in front of me and a woman fought her way to the edge of the crowd in tears, her hands pressed either side of her hijab. ‘I’m French after all,’ she shouted. Someone in the crowd had thrown a racist insult. ‘This is why France will never lift itself up,’ she said, shaking with rage. Moments later a poor white family – too poor for this rally in a slick part of town – were being questioned by the police.
I'm afraid that the divisive identity politics, which focuses on the idea that immigration is a threat to 'French identity' is here to stay. Sarkozy has americanized French politics by shifting its focus from deeds, gravitas and grandeur to being and nothingness,