Posted by / Category Politics /

Every week, in London, there is a press article about French politicians. Unfortunately, it is not about politics or economics. And no, it is not about elections either! It is all about the politicians’ tangled love life. What vaudeville! The latest articles were about Rachida Dati, a former Justice Minister. She decided to sue a well-known French businessman to establish the paternity of her baby daughter. The said businessman implied that the lady had numerous lovers at the time. The saga continues. This new episode left me wondering when French politicians actually work. Don’t get me wrong: what happens between two consenting adults is their own business. But come on, surely the French politicians have too much time on their hands. Maybe it is a side effect of the 35 hours per week. It must be.
Francois Hollande had various partners, mistresses and an actual girlfriend. Apparently he has a love child too. It must be some sort of compulsory routine when you want to be a French president. Love child: check…Giscard d’Estaing had an accident with the milkman when he came back from a night with one of his mistresses. I don’t get it. Where do they find the time to do some actual work? Correction: do they actually work?
I am starting to wonder whether it might actually be me. My life seems, in comparison, incredibly boring. I wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of what they do. Not that I would want to. Is there something wrong with me? No wonder that the French social security deficit is so abysmal when what is expected from some is so, let’s say, incredibly demanding. What is going on in my home country?
Where in America we would have tears and confessions and promises that it will never happen again (remember John Edwards? Mark Sanford?), everything is kept under wraps in France (literally and, well, figuratively) and, even when the rumours are founded, French politicians will sue the newspapers for ‘invasion of privacy’. And most of the time, they will win, although the fines are ridiculously low.
So there is another French paradox: in France you are protected, and sometimes even rewarded for a tangled love life. Especially if you are a man, that is. I am not sure that Rachida Dati will have such an easy escape: apparently she could be jailed if she was to travel to Morocco, her country of origin, because of its strict morality laws. In the meantime, all the male French politicians can travel as much as they want with all the honours. Some things never change.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I think that not only in France, but across Europe, politics is associated with love, virility and power. Here in England I think we have more emphasis upon money – hence the expenses frauds etc. Common theme seems to be corruption though…I’m just saying!

    • Maybe. I have to admit that I don’t get it. They always seem to want more!

  • It is interesting how there does seem to be a double standard when it comes to men and women. However what is particularly remarkable about Ms Dati’s potential number of baby-daddies was that she was able to juggle them all; the woman would have to be a multitasking genius!

    • I know! I think that she should write a book to explain it. It would be a best-seller!

  • I’m fascinated by all things French, and this was a topic I hadn’t thought about! You’re quite right- here in America there would have been drama and tears. It’s interesting to me to view the differences in our cultures through this tawdry lens.

    • Although the approaches are clearly different, the behaviour itself is, I believe, quite disgusting. Whu do politicians feel such an urge to have affairs?

  • You know, I wouldn’t have become interested in politics at all if it hadn’t been for drama and gossip. =) That’s what politics is all about here in Peru too and as I came to know more about politics and politicians through their life stories, it got me interested in politics in my own home country and the US. =P I guess we all have to start somewhere. =P

    • We do indeed…that said, sometimes I think that I could do with less drama!

  • I’ve always been impressed, and in favour of, the way France approaches the personal lives of her politicians.
    We know that when discovered in similar circumstances the tears of American politicians are crocodile tears – they cry because they’ve been found out, they’re only sorry for themselves, not for what they’ve done.
    The France are at least being honest about their expectations.
    Wayward British politicians naturally appear to be living a part straight out of Monty Python or Blackadder which, of course, is perfectly acceptable as eccentricity is the national pastime.

    • I can’t help thinking that I find the French drama a bit OTT. I could do with less affairs and more work. You are right about some British politicians. Some do look a bit funny!

  • I think your life is far from boring; you have just decided to live your life responsibly instead of all the shenanigans that politicians on both sides of the pond get up to! I say good for you!

    • Thanks Elizabeth! I am actually quite busy, but not doing what politicians seem to be doing!

  • Politics is not existent without love, drama and a little bit (read lot of!) of sexual incidents thrown here and there. But I am surprised why people don’t bother in many countries. Does one really want to have a politician who have scandals written all over them; or sometimes does bedroom stuff need to stay right there. But then again, will it be equally ignored if a woman does it?

    • There is a double standard here. A woman would never been forgiven! As for politicians’ private life, I suppose that you have to lead by exemplarity. Can a politician who is a bully with his family be a good leader? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

  • Politicians and mistresses and sex scandals appear to be the norm and not the exception everywhere. For me, the story here isn’t so much the French Prime president having a mistress or an out-of-wedlock child – what’s new in that? – but the fact that men are protected and sometimes rewarded for a tangled love life. On the other hand, the woman often has to bear the brunt of public comdemnation, labeling, ostracism, humiliation,and job/career loss. Is the French president going to lose his job? Or be vilified in the press. I rather believe not.

    • He won’t lose his job. Quite the opposite. People will admire him for his tangled love life. In the meantime, women will be vilified if they have affairs. A clear case of double standard.

  • Add Gen. Petraeus to your list now. Bravo to the French for doing away with hypocrisy! As to your ‘boring’ life, well, I recently heard this saying: Whatever follows “I am” (or ‘I have’ , in your case) is bound to pursue you (or something to that effect). So, it’s all up to you isn’t it? 😉

    • You are right…Now the whole world knows that Gen. Petraeus had an affair. How embarrassing! That said, come on, he should have known better, shouldn’t he? As for whatever follows I am or I have, well, at least I won’t have to face the same media storm than Gen Petraeus!

  • High achievers often have high sex drives. Throw in opportunity, the attraction of power, money and influence and you have a recipe for affairs, bits on the side, second families, love-kiddies and so on.

    What’s surprising is that people are still surprised when a ‘scandal’ is uncovered. We should all just be yawning and muttering ‘how predictable’. 🙂

    • I have to admit that I keep being surprised at human nature in general and politicians more specifically…But you are right, this is all too common. Is it acceptable? I am not so sure. Being betrayed hurts, however you try to make it look normal!