In the run up to the French Presidential elections in 2012 a sad case has come to light...as it comes to light at every election.
No, not Dominique Strauss-Kahn, he can look after himself.......Dominique Paille.
This poor man only wants one thing in life to make him happy.
He wants to be a minister.
No, not a minister of religion...a French government minister.
His hand in your pocket.
He has all the qualifications....
Went to the right schools, made the right friends.....
Learned how to use his post as a hospital director to hoover up campaign funds from pharmaceutical companies when he turned to politics......
And, after a couple of misadventures in court over misunderstandings about the proper use of funds, showed that he was truly qualified to be a person in whom the trust of the people could be vested by escaping scot free from a bigger mess, leaving an unfortunate woman who served only as a channel for the transfer of monies to take the rap.
He was maire of his commune...with an accompanying allowance for expenses that qualified locally as halucinatory in its magnitude...and councillor for the department and region, as well as shoving aside the sleepy incumbent to become a deputy for his department.
He had not only his allowance as maire, but his allowances as councillor and deputy...and in those days there was no ceiling on the amount of expenses allowances one could hold, unlike now when the ceiling obliges those concerned not to give up the dosh over and above the amount allowed, good gracious me no....but to give it away...usually to their wives and children.
A pretty good CV, one would think.
Ideal for a future minister.
So what has gone wrong?
He has two fatal defects.
The first is that he has no sense of which way the wind is blowing....he has an unbeaten talent for changing his coat at the wrong moment and deserting a winning camp for that of a loser.
And the second is that he is unlikeable.
I remember him as deputy.
No occasion was free of his presence from horse trials to the award of medals to the mothers of many.....the hair plastered to the skull, the damp palm, the oily repetition of
As he shook your hand....
His arrogance....local councillors declined to attend his election meetings at their peril...their commune would be cut off from the gravy train.
He would visit communes, and instead of asking about local concerns would spend his time shut in the maire's office on the telephone to his election helpers...at the commune's expense.
The joy when he was overturned at the last election was palpable. Not quite fireworks behind the salle de fetes and a vin d'honneur, but not far off.
For once he had been following the right candidate, but his own defeat put him out of the running as a minister.
He was given a compensation prize, as one of the President's counsellors, ....then he was spokesperson for the ruling party....but the compensation was meagre...only 8,000 Euros a month.
He was put up for election as senator representing the French overseas....he failed miserably.
He was made boss of the Office for Immigration and Integration in January 2011....a safe and well paid haven. But he still wanted to be a minister.
So he changed his coat again in favour of another presidential candidate and, surprise, surprise, was sacked as boss of the Office for Immigration and Integration in August.
Times were hard.
He qualified as a lawyer....not by undergoing a course of study but under the provisions by which those 'appropriately qualified' can become lawyers without having a clue about the law, thus allowing him to accept money for advice openly as opposed to in briefcases under the table or brown envelopes under the blotter.
Still, it was worth it. Sarkozy's star was dipping toward the horizon and he was going to be a minister!
But Sarkozy's star proved to be the Death Star for Paille.
Dominque Strauss Kahn happened...the Socialist Party was in disarray.....the prime minister made a cock up of the elections to the Senate, and thus to his own hopes of seeing off Sarkozy as the candidate of the right and the Centrists...where Paille had thrown his coat in the ring...decided to back out.
Sarkozy has bounced back and Sarkozy has a mafia like memory for deceit and treachery.
Even if he gives a ministerial job to Paille's candidate, Paille will be out in the cold.
What remains for this man? Which party will give him shelter?
He's tried most of them in his time and stuck with none.
So, if you have any political contacts and think they could offer poor Monsieur Paille a good home....he'll be waiting on the end of the 'phone...
Let some one give him a home for Christmas....