Politicians in Paris

July 2nd, 2008 at 11:25 am by David Farrar

Sadly for me, not all my time overseas was a holiday. In I also attended an IDU meeting. The International Democrat Union is a grouping of centre-right parties from around the world – around 95 parties are now members.It was founded by Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Helmet Kohl and Jacques Chirac.

I’ve been involved in the and IYDU for a number of years. This meeting is the big one though – the party leader’s meeting which is held every three years. The last one was in Washington DC in 2005.

The French National Assembly where we met for the Party Leaders Plenary. There were representatives from 46 countries, including eight Prime Ministers and a further 24 Party Leaders. The Prime Ministers included , Croatia, Denmark, Georgia and Iceland. Some of the Leaders included (UK), Bosnia, Chile, Ecuador, Lithuania, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru and Portugal.

The Conference lasted for two days with Regional meetings on Wednesday morning, an IDU Executive meeting on Wednesday afternoon and the main plenary session on Thursday.

The lady speaking is an Opposition Leader from Venezuela. A growing number of attendees are from semi or fully autocratic countries such as Venezuela, Cuba and Belarus where their parties are banned back home. It is quite inspiring talking to them and realizing how much they risk to get what we take for granted.

John Howard (IDU Chairman) greeting the French Prime Minister – Fran├žois Fillon. The French PM gave one of the best speeches I have heard – hard to believe it was from a French politician. He quoted economic heroes of the right and the merits of free trade and liberalism which is not socialism or conservatism. I am going to try and get a copy – it really was that good.

On the Wednesday Night we were taken out to the Elysee Palace to meet President Sarkozy. The bus even got a police escort who cleared traffic for us, and you can see us travelling on the wrong side of the road here. A lot of pedesterians were wondering who was on the bus to warrant such treatment and must have been very disappointed to see me on the front seat. Mind you there were also half a dozen Prime Ministers with us!

The attendees are entering the Palace. Quite unusually there were no security checks (despite us all having been told to bring our passports. We were just escorted from the bus straight into the Palace without even a metal detector.

I did get to meet President Sarkozy (who is even shorter than Winston!) and The Stig remarked to me that it was the first time meeting someone who actually has his finger on the bomb!

The photo above is a poor quality one (taken via cellphone) of Sarkozy and UK Conservative Leader David Cameron. Cameron was in attendance for the full two days, and is a very engaging personality. He is quite charismastic and a good public speaker, but also very engaging on a one on one level. You feel you are talking to a person, not just a politician.

Sarkozy was, well, very French. :-)

After a couple of hours of champagne and nibbles at the Palace, we were taken to the Senate for a reception dinner. Also a fine venue, to say the least. And the food was absolutely first class.

This was taken out the window of the Senate. What is really amazing is the photo was taken a bit after 10 pm. Paris has amazingly long days, staying light until after 11 pm. It was one of the many things I loved about the city.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to “Politicians in Paris”

  1. Grant Michael McKenna (1,160 comments) says:

    Sarkozy was very French- he kissed you? He goosed German Girl? What?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. radar (319 comments) says:

    “A growing number of attendees are from semi or fully autocratic countries such as Venezuela, Cuba and Belarus where their parties are banned back home.”

    Which political party is banned in Venezuela?

    [DPF: Parties per se are not banned,but 386 candidates are banned from selection because a Chavez appointee is investigating them. They have not been charged, yet are unable to stand.

    http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/may/24/venezuela-says-386-opposition-candidates-cant/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Ryan Sproull (7,259 comments) says:

    I was about to ask the same question, Radar.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    While you’re there you could casually mention to them that the Arthurian ledgends are NOT their to screw with thanks.

    Their last contribution was to add that gay bragart “Lancelot” (I’ll bet he did). We’re not really looking for them to tell us what we can and can’t have as heroic legends thanks.

    Stick to waiting tables and eating garden pests k.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. pushmepullu (686 comments) says:

    I wish Cameron didn’t feel the need to hang around with socialists like Sarkozy and Fillon… it only compromises him.

    The sooner McCain gets elected and the League of Democracies gets founded, the better.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. david c (254 comments) says:

    Pushmepullu: What the hell is the League of Democracies? Is that like the League of Nations?

    DPF: So when you say “where their parties are banned back home” you don’t actually mean “where their parties are banned back home”?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. The ex-expat (10 comments) says:

    Screw politics, did you get to meet carla?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    This organisation needs to morph into something more relevant to the democratic nations of the world than the bloody UN. The USA and all the other decent countries should just pull out of the farcical UN and meet together under the sort of auspices that Farrar is describing above, passing resolutions and so on.

    The world’s totalitarian states, who constitute a majority at the UN and on every UN body, actually have no legitimacy as “representative” of their peoples, so stuff them if they complain about the “Union of Democratic Nations” (or some such) passing resolutions and removing thugs in Zimbabwe, Sudan, etc; and generally getting on with world governance without them. If any of them WANT to join, they can just sort their shit out and come up to some sort of minimum standards for membership first.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. berend (1,715 comments) says:

    Here the topics our centre-right speakers addressed:

    * Dave Brooks: the New Deal was actually a very conservative policy.
    * DPF: how nationalising your phone company and government fibre are not socialist policies.
    * Sarkozy: how to pick up chicks when you’re on office.
    * John Key: government no longer needs to become smaller, that’s the failed policies of the Reagan’s of this world.
    * David Cameron: Being green is the new centre-right identify.

    You just hate to see what the topics would be that a centre-left group would have.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Deborah (156 comments) says:

    I find those very formal gardens (in your last photo) fascinating. They’re a bit dull on the ground, but once you are up a level or two, and can look down on them and see the overall design, they are beautiful to look at.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Perhaps they could add Berend.

    Writing letters to the local paper pretending not to be able to speak English!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote