Petit Nicholas Sarkosy
In 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy came to London just before the people swept him to the French Presidency. He trumpeted the capital as "one of the great French cities".
Remember? As he turned and left our city he was the political darling of the world, seemingly unstoppable and vigourous. He was sure to dominate global politics for the foreseeable future and all with a glamourous feisty wife, Cécilia, in tow. (He had originally met Cécilia when he officiated at her marriage, and then proceeded to steal her from her original husband (how very French)).
In 2009, le Président skulked back to London for the G20 summit and spent most of the time being rude, having strops and trying to scupper a successful global economic deal. Cécilia had left him after the elections, and she had been quite swiftly replaced at his side by Carla, a gorgeous young singer. Barack Obama was sweeping all before him in wake of his triumphant US election and was busily spreading his diplomatic wings, simultaneously clipping those of Sarko.
So what's a Frenchman to do when he's lost the spotlight? Well, for one thing, he needs to be wary of losing power. So a plan has been hatched to elect French MPs to their parliament from large population centres across the world - including one from London and the UK. Le Député for Londres/Royaume-Uni would represent thousands of our French Londoners and sit in the Assemblée Nationale in Paris. The plan is for 11 overseas MPs in total, drawn from around the world.
It seems like a nice idea. Ex-pats here can already vote, but to have their interests championed together by their own overseas MP sounds bien, no? But a closer look reveals that ex-pats predominantly vote for the centre-right, so if this were in place for the next election, Sarkosy would add 11 safe seats to his party's total in the assembly. At a time when the economy is headed south, that might just mean he keeps the Prime Minister of his choice.
So, Sarko gets sneaky. But in the deal we get an MP to represent London to France. Sounds to us like it could be fun to try - and if they replicate this in the Australian Parliament, with the numbers that work in our bars we could end up controlling the whole country.
Petit Sarko pic from awielie's Flickrstream under the Creative Commons