Friday, November 10, 2006

Royal Gaffe

Segolene caught Kinsleying French teachers and their unions:

PARIS, Nov 10, 2006 (AFP) - The Socialist favourite in France's presidential race Ségolène Royal caused more dissension in the ranks Friday after she was shown in a video chastising teachers for not working hard enough.

In a clip circulating on the Internet, Royal is seen telling a meeting that "revolutionary ideas" are needed to reform the French education system, and that teachers in secondary schools should spend 35 hours a week on the premises as opposed to 17 hours at present.

"I am not going to sing it from the roof-tops, because I don't want to come under attack from the teaching unions," she says on the video, which was filmed in January in the western town of Angers.

She described it as an "absurdity" that many state sector teachers use their spare time to give private tuition via "companies that are quoted on the stock exchange".

"We need to take a step, perhaps with the new generation (of teachers) if the current lot say — sorry, we've got our rights, 17 hours and then we are off home," Royal says.

Royal's spokesman Gilles Savary confirmed the video was genuine, but said its broadcast on the Internet was "an underhand attack" ahead of next Thursday's vote by Socialist party (PS) members to designate a candidate in April's presidential election.

Teachers make up a large proportion of the party's 200,000 card-carrying members and are likely to be angered by her remarks.

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