‘They don’t come from the usual elitist white male cookie-cutter mould of French politicians. They have grassroots political experience rather than coming from the old boys’ club of grandes écoles [the elite universities that educate the bulk of France’s high-flyers]’
Vivienne Walt, the Paris correspondent for Time magazine quoted in the Guardian
After my last post I re-read the Observer article and found this quote I’d missed. Well I knew that Rama Yade was at Sciences-Po, so I thought I’d check how realistic this assessment was. Of the six female ministers mentioned in the article, five had been to the grandes ecoles, and the other is a doctor of pharmacy and an ex-MEP. One of them, Michele Alliot-Marie, was a lecturer in politics and law at the Sorbonne, and it doesn’t get much more grandes ecoles than that.
Interestingly, two of Sarkozy’s seven female cabinet ministers didn’t go to one of the grandes ecoles (Rama Yade isn’t a cabinet minister), and these were the ones not mentioned in the Observer piece. Christine Boutin probably doesn’t fit their story because she’s of the religious right and involved in the pro-life movement, and the other Christine Albanel, was a senior civil servant and worked for Chirac when he was PM and President, hardly grass-roots.
The analysis presented in the quote above is quite simply nonsense. Hold the front page, ‘government still populated by the posh and privileged’; even if one or two had humble beginnings.