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France

France and the Cahuzac affair

The tax evasion revelations about former Socialist budget minister Jerome Cahuzac shows it is time to end the revolting door between government and large private companies, and the impunity of the oligarchy, says Martine Billard of the Parti de Gauche.

The Cahuzac affair demonstrates, if any further proof were needed, how the mix of finance, politics and the media has reached a level that is bad for democracy. Looking at the career path of Jerome Cahuzac, can we really be surprised? A member of the Socialist Party in 1974 when it was still calling for the class struggle, Cahuzac was at the time rather more focussed on making money as a plastic surgeon, providing hair-transplants to the rich and famous. Conflicts of interest were introduced when he joined the departmental team of Claude Evin, Minister of Health (1988–91), and then when he created a consulting company using relationships previously forged with pharmaceutical companies.

This demonstrates the first thing: the need for an end to this revolting door between government ministries and large private companies. The most surprising thing about this story is that he was then chosen as budget minister. In the fight against tax evasion he was charged with carrying out, he lied with aplomb, convinced of being above the law. Like so many others before him, on the Right of course (remember the indictment of Eric Woerth, Sarkozy’s budget minister, the Takieddine affair and later, the scandals linked to social housing in Paris, a market fixing in the Ile-de-France …) but the Left is also contaminated: Dominique Strauss Khan could have been French president without the New York Sofitel affair.

No, Cahuzac is not an isolated case, it is part of a system that serves itself as long as possible and only rejects one of its own when it becomes impossible to do otherwise. The common thread here is the sense of impunity of the oligarchy.

But what is the government’s response? Nothing to strengthen legislation and the means to fight against tax evasion, instead minor reforms at the margins of the Constitution (clamp down on the holding of multiple elected political positions, but not before 2017…) and François Hollande’s proposal to ban elective office for persons convicted of tax fraud, despite the fact that laws already exist on ineligibility for office in such cases, but are very rarely applied.

Yes, there is something rotten when the pursuit of power and wealth takes precedence over the values of the Left, when the Socialist Party is no longer concerned about the ethics of individual candidates for government posts.

 Parti de Gauche April 4, 2013

Translation/Edit by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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