Monday, April 23, 2007

Making a queen or a king

Everybody is reassured to discover that the two contenders in the final sprint bear the respective colors of the Left and the Right. In the French political domain, the Left and the Right are a little like Mum and Dad. It's nice to know that they're both there, even if they're at loggerheads, as usual. Recently, in the middle of a presidential election, one of the traditional parents was missing, on that terrible day of 21 April 2002 when the Socialist Lionel Jospin was beaten by the Right Extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen. This was a traumatic happening. To avoid the repetition of such a political nightmare, French people have been encouraged to cast a so-called "useful vote". This is a way of saying that they should refrain from taking advantage of the first round of the presidential election to vote for an attractive but lightweight candidate who could not possibly become the president of France. The outcome of this "useful vote" idea is that most of the lightweights got annihilated, to a greater or lesser extent. Le Pen's Extreme Right is still alive but, thankfully, it will be kicking less and less from now on. As for the French Communist Party, we can safely say that it's henceforth just as dead as Boris Yeltsin.

The outcome of the second round, in two week's time, will be determined certainly by the votes of those who have just given the Centrist François Bayrou a result of nearly 19%.

If you examine my website concerning the Skeffington ancestors of Lewis Carroll, you'll discover a couple named Ralph de Neville [1364-1425] and Joan de Beaufort [1375-1440]. They had a grandson named Richard Neville [1428-1471], who was a leading figure in the Wars of the Roses during which he helped in deposing the Lancastrian king Henry VI in favor of the Yorkist king Edward IV. Later, he fell out with Edward and restored Henry VI to the throne. Richard Neville, Duke of Warwick, was nicknamed the King Maker.

François Bayrou has acquired a position in French politics that likens him to a latter-day King Maker... or maybe (I hope) a Queen Maker.

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