Today the first round of the French election takes place. President Sarkozy is trailing his rival Francois Hollande by a signiificant amount and I do not see Sarkozy winning either the first or second ballot in 2 Sundays time. Sarkozy is a wily short fox and it is a brave man who writes him off. However, he is a victim of his own character and his indecisiveness as a President - he has not reformed the French economy or addressed their significant lack of competitiveness. Change is always difficult but the French banks, business and economy are clearly really struggling - particularly as the Euro staggers from disaster to disaster.
Does this election affect us in the United Kingdom? The answer is yes.
It is vital for our side of the Channel that we have a French President who will open France up to trade and who will help combat the Euro Economic Crisis. I fear that the Socialist candidates programme will be short term popular but a disaster economically. This is an election worth watching - but the clear implication is that the French public have both fallen out of love with Sarkozy himself and simply do not wish to address their economic problems. They are voting for Hollande because he is both not Sarkozy and because Hollande promises them an ever larger public sector of in excess of 60% of the population and economic apple pie.