Thursday, July 03, 2008

Vote for Sarkozy!

I've just voted for Nicolas Sarkozy.

No, don't worry, I haven't been smoking illegal substances or overdoing the Ouzo.
I've voted for Sarko in the Guardian poll on who would be the best person to be in charge of the EU Trade negotiations: The French President or EU Trade Commissioner Peter 'Mandy' Mandelson.

I've written some pretty critical stuff on Sarkozy over the past year or so and there's no doubt that his foreign policy initiatives leave much to be desired. But on the issue of the EU's trade negotiations, he's dead right.

"One child dies every 30 seconds because they are hungry, and we should go and negotiate within the WTO framework a 20 percent cut in European agricultural production? Honestly, there is one person who is of that opinion -- that's Mr Mandelson.", Sarkozy said recently.

Sarkozy, unlike Mandelson, is not an ideological free trader. He believes, quite rightly, that Europe's ability to feed itself comes before a dogmatic attachment to neoliberal economics.

It's Britain, and not France, that is pushing the extreme neoliberal agenda in the EU. And it's Mandelson, the architect of New Labour, who is playing a key role in this process: a process which benefits global big business and no one else.

So, please, if you've got a spare moment, get over to the Guardian poll, and help defeat Mandy! It may well be the only time in your life you vote for Nicolas Sarkozy, so make the most of it!


Roland Hulme said...

After all, 'Sir Cozy's' made such a good job of the French economy, hasn't he?

Roland Hulme said...

Probably should clarify that... In an environment of skyrocketing food prices and growing global famine, does it make ANY sense whatsoever to keep on with the gross subsidies and ridiculous tariffs that riddle the French (and American) agriculture industry?

So the European (and American)consumer has to pay artificially inflated prices on TOP of naturally inflated prices. We pay more for less? And a few farmers rake in millions.

I grew up on a farm. We reaped the benefits of European subsidies - but now I'm a consumer, not a farmer, I think they're ridiculous.

For example, America could HUGELY ease it's dependence on Middle Eastern oil if they stopped subsidising American corn production to make ethanol (while putting tariffs on ethanol and sugar imports.)

What do you want? Cheap fuel? Or rich farmers?

It's all a farce and Sarkozy's got no clue. He's the political pawn of the French agriculture lobby on this issue.

olching said...

I considered voting for Sarko, but I just abstained in the end.

Martin Meenagh said...

Roland-- when food prices are skyrocketing, and there is global famine on the horizon, why is now the time to abandon food security in Europe and to depend upon states that cannot at the moment feed, or in many cases, run, themselves?

As for biofuels, they are wastfeul, inefficient and incredibly hard on water supplies, which I might point out are running down in the midwest. The only time when they make sense is when they are the product of very decentralised factory or home bioreactors. They are not an alternative to hydrocarbons. Electricity generated by fusion, supplemented by devolved renewables, could be, but the US would have to mobilise on a world war two scale to get to this point easily.

States are, in one central sense, machines to feed their people. The Common Agricultural Policy--not the disastrous fishing policy, but the CAP--should be maintained so that we have enough food, albeit at higher prices. Others should ensure that for themselves as well, and at worst we can share our surpluses.

Handing everything over to agribusinesses like monsanto and the chiquita company, regulated by the WTO, is NOT the answer. At least one of the six or seven brains which the lovely Carla Bruni identified in Sarko has enough space left from his narcissism to realise this.