The former prime minister's ideas are making a comeback
THE left wing of the French Socialist Party was still reeling this week after the shock eviction of Arnaud Montebourg, a populist industry minister, and his replacement by Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker. Fran?ois Hollande, after all, was elected Socialist president in 2012 declaring that his main “adversary” was “the world of finance”. Yet on August 31st, in a defiant speech to party members in the port of La Rochelle, Manuel Valls, his prime minister, made no apology, reasserting the government's more pro-business line.
The most important shift taking place within the government, however, may not be the appointment of a single new young minister. It is rather the closet takeover by social democrats linked to Michel Rocard, France's prime minister from 1988 to 1991.
Mr Valls himself is the spiritual son of Mr Rocard, and got his first government job serving as the former prime minister's parliamentary attaché. In his book “Pouvoir” (Power) Mr Valls writes admiringly of Mr Rocard, citing “the force of his intelligence and the frankness of his words”. These fired Mr Valls's political imagination as a teenager and secured his loyalty for the next 15 years, as Mr Rocard, then a rising star of the left, tried but failed to impose his centre-left thinking on the Socialist Party as an alternative to the socialism of Fran?ois Mitterrand.
Rocardiens have been installed in all corners. Mr Valls's current political adviser, Yves Colmou, is one, having also served on Mr Rocard's political staff. So did Sylvie Hubac, who now runs Mr Hollande's staff at the Elysée Palace. Bernard Cazeneuve, Mr Valls's interior minister, got his first job as an adviser of a member of Mr Rocard's government. Mr Macron is a close friend of Mr Rocard and invited him to his wedding.
罗卡尔的死忠追随者们已经遍布各个角落。瓦尔斯先生的现任政治顾问Yves Colmou就是其中之一。并且这位顾问还曾为罗卡尔先生效过犬马之劳。现在为奥朗德先生搭理爱丽舍宫的Sylvie Hubac也是一样。瓦尔斯的内政部长 Bernard Cazeneuve，初入政坛时的第一份工作就是罗卡尔先生的政府成员顾问。Marcon先生是罗卡尔先生的密友，并且罗卡尔受邀参加过其的婚礼。
At the same time, those on the party's left have been sidelined. Two other left-wing ministers were thrown out along with Mr Montebourg. Their departure was preceded by that of Aquilino Morelle, a confidant of Mr Montebourg and a presidential adviser, after a scandal involving the shining of lots of pairs of Mr Morelle's posh leather shoes at the Elysée palace.
“The Rocardiens have clearly won the day,” notes another ex-member of Mr Rocard's prime-ministerial cabinet. Mr Valls, who insists that the left must make peace with business, is now partly unpicking a rent-control law passed by his predecessor. Mr Macron has hinted at loosening rules governing the 35-hour working week; Mr Cazeneuve has urged common-sense immigration control, echoing Mr Rocard in 1989. As if all this were not suggestive enough, there is a further link: one of the former prime minister's sons, Lo?c Rocard, now works in Mr Valls's cabinet.