Following her unsuccessful presidential bid against Nicolas Sarkozy, many observers were inclined to believe that Ségolène Royal was a personality of the past, a political has-been, ground into the dust by the superior style and energy of Monsieur Bling-Bling. Well, we're forced to admit, as they say in French—allusion to a comic sketch in which a guy spends an entire day trying vainly to catch a backyard duck for dinner—that the duck is still alive. Very much alive. Quacking elegantly and convincingly, as usual. [Ségolène's accent and manner of speaking have always irritated me. It's silly to say so, but I've never liked the way she walks and talks.]
Last Thursday evening, French Socialists amazed the nation by their top vote for the motion of Madame Royal, facing two tough contenders: Bertrand Delanoë (mayor of Paris), the favorite, and Martine Aubry (mayor of Lille), the outsider.
Clearly, recent events have brought Ségolène back to life... and so much the better. The problem, alas, is that it's all very well for doubters to be able to stick their fingers in the holes of a resuscitated political personage. [That metaphor wasn't exactly as nice as I might have hoped.] The real problem is that everybody is still waiting for Ségolène to speak intelligently and convincingly in many tongues, with a view to reassembling the moribund French Left. Did I just say "moribund"? That could well be a euphemism. Many of us fear greatly that the French Socialist duck is indeed dead.