Shortly after the Brexit vote, a French diplomat was quoted as saying,
Before, Britain had one foot in and one foot out. Now, they have one foot out and one foot in.
Ironic truth. To me, it is crystal clear that the European Union needs the UK, but not as a member – as a friend. Dear Britons, I am so glad you voted to leave – and I am also glad that you’re not going very far. You’ll still be there, just over the channel, playing in our back yard, vacationing in our sunny climes (unless that changes – global warming, you know…), and enjoying our food and wine.
Not only that, you’ll still be trading with us, fighting by our side – at least some of the time, and probably even welcoming Polish plumbers.
Michel Rocard is dead. It will be a long time before any political figure appears, in France
or anywhere else, that has his rigorous intellect, his ethical position, or his clarity of vision.
He saw the need for France to disengage from its colonial holdings well before anyone else.
He was a true believer in the possibility of government by the voice of the people, with social justice – in short, a social democrat in the true sense of the term, not the way it’s been mangled by ideologues of all sort.
He was a true lover of Europe – a Europe of federated nations, working collectively for the common good – not just economically, but politically and socially as well. Not managed by technocrats, but by European citizens who felt themselves to be European citizens.
He saw, back in 2014, that the UK had done a lot of damage to the EU and needed to get out – about which more in my next post.
He was a staunch defender of open source software.
As prime minister, he passed the minimum revenue allocation for all French residents.
He believed that good decision making requires reflection, that you have to take the time to accomplish that.
He believed you need to be practical, and deal with reality as it is, in order to make life better, without losing an idealistic vision of how that might be.
He shall be sorely missed, even by people who don’t even know his name.