It may well be that the presidential election in France holds little interest for the self-absorbed American public. It is, however, of immense importance to all the people of the Western world, for the ousting of Sarkozy by Francois Hollande marks a turning point that will set the right-wing, capitalist, establishments shuddering.
Like the Egyptians of the ‘Arab Spring’, the French people have become the first to raise the cry, “Enough is enough!”, and kick their far right ‘President of Bling’ to the touchline.
Hollande is a true Socialist. He promises to be a rarity among politicians: a man more concerned with the needs of the people than the lining of his own bank account. Sarkozy, like so many of today’s politicians, sold out his country to US corporations, and his own ego.
The new French president rides a motor scooter and has returned to his home in the 15th Arondissment of Paris, at least for now, saying he intends to stay there, rather than the overly grand, official, presidential residence at the Elysee Palace.
Hollande has promised to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012; reduce the share of nuclear power in France from 75% to 50%; raise the level of income tax to 75% for those earning over a million euros, and recruit 60,000 new teachers.
We must wait and see how he fulfills these, and other promises. But of more importance is the symbolic victory of the French people, who have made the first move in taking back their country from the right-wing establishment who milked it, and most of the Western world, for far too long.
Not just in France will those who sleep on the most luxurious mattresses, beneath sheets of finest silk, above soft, deep-piled carpets, do so a little less easily tonight.