THE BLOG
10/28/2014 07:38 am ET Updated Jan 08, 2015

Some Good News, By the Way

As we follow the French political debate, the country seems to be in a desperate situation: A President embroiled in humiliating negotiations with European partners keen to impose additional savings measures or unavoidable reforms. A Prime Minister who is not standing firm against blackmail by a former Senator from the south-west of France and calling into question, among others, the necessary territorial authorities reform. A government that seems to be experiencing significant strains and running out of energy. A parliamentary majority engaged in a dogfight on any text and on the extent of austerity, that everyone knows does not exist. The opposition obsessed by rivalries among its leaders and merely criticizing the government, without proposing a programme or an apology for past errors made when they were in power.
At the same time, quietly in the background, the far right is biding its time, by using scorn and vituperation, describing a country on the brink of collapse, invaded by hordes of savages.
All agree only on one particular point: The country is in very bad shape. For those who govern, it is ungovernable; for those who aspire to govern, the country is not governed.

This is compounded by the equally depressing speeches of « intermediate bodies.» Employers are describing a country close to popular democracy. Various occupations, grouped into diverse lobbies, are criticizing one another as parasites.

Hardly anyone among those who speak on its behalf or aspire to do so, is promoting the marvels and successes of the country.

Those who only know this side of France can only but think that this country is doomed to endure the worst decline; and it is no surprise that the French are among the most pessimistic people on earth.

And yet just this week, while the so called elites were charging and circling away using denigration, many similar events show that France is very much alive: The splendid Picasso Museum reopened, in a more beautiful 17th-century Parisian building; the inauguration of a beautiful building, in the Bois de Boulogne, which will, no doubt, go down in history like many masterpieces, more for its designer the architect Frank Gehry, than its enlightened sponsor. The success of FIAC (one of the leading international art fairs), that of the exhibition Hokusai and many others, give other signs of the French passion for art and its boldness. At the same time, the creation by Xavier Niel, after his computer programming school, of an incubator specifically targeted to the 2000 startups the project owners are looking to attract, underlines France's great creativity. And countless entrepreneurs, social workers, creative people of all kinds are winning victories after victories in all markets of the world.

Such is the present state: A country alive, in a major upheaval, bustling and alert in its depths thanks to creative people of all kinds that leaders and intermediate bodies no longer know.
This yawning gap will be bridged one day. Either political leaders will understand the need to find a new and closer link with the most vibrant and positive forces of the country. Or, from this France, will rise other political actors, who will wipe out all the disgruntled people and lead the country to a better future, by restoring its self-confidence, its pride in being what it is.
j@attali.com