Thursday, May 31, 2007

Whatever Happened to What's-Her-Name

She's rested, and ready to take on Sarko:

"Mr Sarkozy, like Jacques Chirac, will not enact deep reforms," predicted the 25-year old Sabine Herold who shot to fame four years ago when she addressed crowds of up to 80,000 people angry at public sector strikes. De Gaulle, he will remain true to the Bonapartist tradition of state control, warned Miss Herold, and will use public money to bail out flagging French companies.

She is hoping to become the youngest parliamentarian in the Fifth Republic when she runs in parliamentary elections next month for the new Liberal Alternative Party.

....With its motto "For an open society, less state, more freedom," her one-year old party is fielding 50 candidates with an average age of 31 across France.

...."Margaret Thatcher managed to bang her fist on the table and go the distance with her reforms, but that wouldn't work in France," she said.

Instead, her party has a bold and controversial plan to shake up the public sector: to buy off state worker's privileges.

"At present public sector workers have a job for life - it's a contract between the state and 'fonctionnaires.' You cannot just change that from one day to the next, as not only would they go on strike but it would be a genuine breach of contract," she argued.

"So they should be given a choice: either carry on with relatively low wages but full security, or accept a bonus and then have more flexibility, with the prospect of faster promotion on individual merit," said Miss Herold, who is a venture capital consultant.

One of her party's first measures would be to break the stranglehold of France's five unions that represent just 8 per cent of the workforce.

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