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French press review Press review Edward Snowden François Hollande Socialist Party

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French press review 5 June 2015

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Edward Snowden talks about a world without Big Brother. There's not much optimism among either right-wing commentators or their communist counterparts that this weekend's congress of the Socialist Party is going to produce much-needed change. And should Vincent Lambert be let die?


Libération gives the front-page honours to Edward Snowden, the man who let the world know just how much the US intelligence machine knows about everything.

Two years after his remarkable revelations, Snowden says the balance of power is beginning to change, with a better-informed public in a position to challenge the once sacrosanct powers of those whose job it is to protect us.

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In the course of his article Snowden says that for the first time since since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, one can begin to see the emergence of a policy which rejects fear and reactionary thinking, in favour of reason and a respect for the facts.

As a society we have come to appreciate the principle that laws are not supposed to conceal things. Especially laws about things that are concealed.

You know something fishy is going on when right-wing paper Le Figaro gives the top of the front page to those pesky ruling Socialists.

This morning's conservative enthusiasm for Socialist matters is sparked by an opinion poll, commissioned and paid for by Le Fiagro, delving into what left-wing sympathisers think of the current president, François Hollande.

Well, 76 per cent of Socialist voters would like to see the holding of a presidential primary. In which case, 42 per cent of them would choose the current prime minister, Manuel Valls, as presidential candidate, with only 27 per cent saying they would support Hollande. The mayor of the northern city of Lille, Martine Aubry, is a distant third.

All this is totally theoretical since the sitting president is automatically the sole Socialist candidate, unless he decides to resign. François Hollande is going to give it another crack.

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The point of the Figaro poll and front-page splash is simply to make a difficult task even more so.

The Le Figaro editorial is headlined "Hollande and the Socialist Party in ruins," and the tone is more than usually nasty.

What has the Socialist president to show for his three years in power, the article asks. A party from which supporters are fleeing, a record low in the opinion polls, rejection by an increasing number of intellectuals.

For Figaro, this weekend's party congress at Poitiers will be another disgrace, with rebel voices and others who have called for real change being muzzled by vague concessions and an appeal to left-wing solidarity.

And France continues to see the dole queues lengthen, the deficit deepen and the school system ravaged by ill-considered reform.

Instead of structural reform, the president is playing party politics; instead of courageous change, he gives us a Socialist synthesis. Nobody, says Le Figaro, expects anything serious to emerge from the hot air of Poitiers.

The Poitiers congress also gets the front-page treatment over at communist L'Humanité. Sadly, the lads out on the hard left don't expect much good to come of all the gab, either. This will be another confirmation of liberal stagnation, says L'Humanité, with the government bending over backwards to ensure that the surface remains calm. But it's all an illusion.

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A sequence of broken promises, the inexorable rise of the number of unemployed, the repeated determination to adhere to a liberal economic line suggest that nothing will change between now and 2017, date of the next parliamentary and presidential elections here in France.

Finally, Catholic La Croix looks at the tragic situation of Vincent Lambert, the 38-year-old victim of a road accident, who has been kept alive medically but whose mental condition is described as "vegetative".

His wife and doctor want his treatment to be stopped; his parents want it to continue. The case raises all sorts of crucial questions: about the authority of doctors in the face of the machines that make this sort of debate possible, about divisions within families, about the rights of the injured person, of those who survive him. The European Court of Human Rights will announce its decision on the case today.