We might soon have to start thinking about a lovely memorial window that would be installed in the great pagan temple of French politics. [Click the image to display the logo of the French Socialist party, which inspired the design of my memorial window.] Following the latest bout between the stern school-mistress Martine Aubry and a boisterous Spanish-born pupil named Manuel Valls, I fear that we're facing a bloody showdown, and that this imminent day of reckoning is likely to leave no survivors. The only remaining question (to paraphrase the poet T S Eliot) is: Will it all end with a bang or a whimper? In any case, the window would be placed above a vast graveyard... of elephants.
ADDENDUM: I hesitated for a moment, yesterday, before talking about the French Socialistes as if their party were moribund, because I thought I might be exaggerating.
The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy has expressed himself on this question in harsh explicit terms. "I've rarely seen politicians spending so much energy on self-destruction. Is the Parti Socialiste going to die? No, it's dead already. But practically nobody dares to say so. It's like the cyclist in the Alfred Jarry novel who carries on pedaling even though he's dead. Or the knight in the Italo Calvino novel whose suit of armor was empty, for he'd been killed." As for the party secretary Martine Aubry, BHL (as he's often called) said: "She's surely a fine person who has become the guardian of a house of the dead, and she can do nothing about it." BHL says that the present party, described as "a big sick body", should be "dissolved".