Many of us, when we were in secondary school, had a friend who was an non-deliberate asshole. What I mean is that he or she kept doing things that annoyed or irritated other people even though he or she was not deliberately trying to annoy other people. I remember there was once an American guy in my class who just could not stop bragging about where he’d been and the things he had done, and it made him very unpopular. He wasn’t a bad guy, he wasn’t doing it to annoy people, but he just kept rubbing people the wrong way. I would occasionally defend him, but just as I’d managed to convince people that he wasn’t a dickhead, he’d go and do something else.
Francois Hollande is Europe’s non-deliberate asshole. Think about the scenario: Angela Merkel probably recognises that Germany will have to do more to save the EU, and occasionally drops hints about X being done first and THEN maybe Y could be looked at in the long-term. Just as she calms German taxpayers about their fear that the rest of Europe will go all Zsa Zsa Gabor with their credit card, Francois opens his big yap and announces that the French can stop working at sixty and someone else (a phrase that makes Germans prick up their ears) will pick up the tab for the rest of their (getting longer) lives.
Seriously, can you blame the poor woman? We are living in an age where people will quite possibly live to see 100 and this guy is going around telling people that they won’t have to work. Which begs the question: does he really believe that such a plan is economically viable, and who does he think is going to reasonably pay for it? Or is Hollande just the latest addition to the Chirac/Sarkozy pantheon of bullshit panderers who will say anything to get elected?
Either way, we should be very worried.