The political news is occupied this week by the release of Valerie Trierweiler’s book.
If nothing can replace the reading of this book to understand it, the publication of this book is a political act and as such deserves for any student of political science, but more broadly for any person interested in politics, to understand its message and its novelty: what did Valérie Trierweiler want to say in her book? What is the originality of such a book in the political life of theFifth Republic since 1958?
This first part is in 4 parts:
- The reasons for the book Merci pour ce moment
- Scoop Gayet: political rather than personal consequences
- The political blows
- A personal story
The reasons for Merci pour ce moment
Valérie Trierweiler begins by explaining the reasons that led her to write this book: it is a question of re-establishing her truth, after the distortions that have been made in the press about her role as First Lady.
The dedication, borrowed from Tahar Ben Jelloun, a Moroccan writer born in 1944, sets the tone: “The silence of a loved one is a quiet crime
Gayet scoop: political rather than personal consequences
– Political consequences first
In this passage reported on the website of Paris Match, Valerie Trierweiler tells how she learned, after hearing rumors and being warned of the front page of Closer, that François Hollande had a story with the actress Julie Gayet.
But“At that moment, I feel more affected by the political disaster than by our personal failure.” she says.
This political concern is also the reaction of François Hollande: “How are we going to do?” he asks, who“seems more down than” Valerie Trierweiler.
Even the hospitalization of Valerie Trierweiler, resulting from this news, is political. Valerie Trierweiler deplores it in these terms:“This personal matter is treated as a matter of state. I am no longer just a file.“.
The medical community, willingly or unwillingly, becomes political too, victim of the politicization of this personal matter:“The doses of tranquilizers were overdosed to prevent me from going to Tulle.“.
– The media machine with uncontrolled cogs
The paparazzi are also at the heart of the political issue. Thus, during the outing,“The car that we usually use is transformed into a decoy and sent to scout.
What is interesting to note is that the paparazzi seem to be just as much victims of the political soap opera as their prey.“- It’s not us, it’s not us, the photo of the Parisian, we swear, it’s not us!“They defend themselves.
The book sheds light on this complex system, where the paparazzi function as a tool of the press against the politician, at the same time that they fear or even sympathize with these political figures.
– The hypocrisy of political friends
If Valerie Trierweiler receives support from her family, letters from French people, she is disappointed by the lack of help from the political world, which already considers her as“an outcast“, especially from those she knew best.
Especially since she receives the support of personalities from other political camps, for which she writes this moral:“In politics, it is not better to be on the losing side.”
– The sacrifices of political spouses
It is a recurring theme in political series: the sacrifices that must be made by the family of a political figure, and especially his wife or husband.
The conflict of interest must be ruled out even in its ghostly form of suspicion. The risk is that someone, well-intentioned or not, could denounce a conflict of interest between the political function of one, and the professional work of the other. Now Valérie Trierweiler has been offered to present television programs as a journalist, which she is forced to refuse so that no suspicion of conflict of interest can remain:“You must give up television.“.
However, this sentence partly deprived Valerie Trierweiler of her financial independence, to which she was attached.
More generally, it is the conflictual relations caused by the suspicions of conflict of interest that are highlighted, more particularly within the presidential couples of theFifth Republic.
– Literature to live or survive
Valérie Trierweiler then recounts her childhood, in particular the constant concern of her family not to spend more than they needed or could afford.
She recounts her love for books, her meeting with Bernard Pivot after an invitation tweet, and her pleasure in writing her literary reviews for Paris-Match.
From the moment they broke up, François Hollande was concerned about what Valérie Trierweiler might do after their breakup: “He wants me to abandon the idea of writing a book“, slips Valerie Trierweiler, then later“What matters to him is my silence.“.
It is directly the political character of this book, Thank you for this moment, which is crystallized by this attention of François Hollande.
– An inhuman bureaucracy
“I will learn later that it took three official advisers, between two piles of current affairs to dispatch, to write my repudiation”
The author’s style is to be commended, and one can feel that he is inspired by a long literary tradition. The antithesis “the death certificate of our love” is for example striking, associating the cold and regular vocabulary of theadministration to the noble and warm feeling of the love.
To some, however, this style may sometimes seem emphatic, even overplayed, using forced formulas:“One of the butlers slips me a packet of handkerchiefs. But it’s me, the Kleenex that has just been thrown away.“.
– Destabilizing practices
Valerie Trierweiler mentions“right-wing policemen who feed the rumor“, and“officines that have the habit of fabricating affairs from scratch to destabilize“.
These agencies would have made“a false police file” that“gave herconnections with half of the political class on the right and left“.
This first destabilization pushes Valerie Trierweiler to withdraw, to avoid external pressure, while she tells the story of the development of rumors around Gayet, which she did not believe at first.
But then it was Valérie Trierweiler’s turn to destabilize the political game:“I suggest that she denies it herself to put an end to this bad film. [Julie Gayet] agrees. I send her a message to tell her to wait until the next day, so as not to pollute the presidential interview.”
The First Lady thus retains an influence on the course of events, she can clearly act.
– The chronic illness of a Trierweiler hurt by the lies of the president
Valerie Trierweiler presents François Hollande as lying to her on several occasions, to hide his secret.
Throughout the story, Valerie Trierweiler appears sick, ready to vomit, to faint, and especially constantly fed with pills, drugs, sleeping pills.
She then describes the solitude of the private apartments, in the heart of a buzzing environment:“The Élysée is a hive of activity, the heart of power, but the private apartments are like a silent bubble, preserved from agitation, into which no one dares enter. I sometimes felt very alone there.”
The Elysee Palace appears to be a teeming environment, where one can nevertheless find oneself quite lonely once one is staying there.
the “tweet affair” – where Valerie Trierweiler had supported another socialist candidate against Ségolène Royale, ex-wife of François Hollande – is a recurring reproach made to her by the president.
It seems to be an original poison, a first political fault, acknowledged by Trierweiler:“she is still pursuing me today, so I know I was wrong“.
But this tweet is not a coincidence or a clumsiness, but rather the attempt according to Valerie Trierweiler to repair an injustice, materialized during an argument:“I warned François of the tweet of support that I will write. He wants to prevent me, tries to snatch my phone from my hands.”
– François Hollande student of Machiavelli
It is however for Trierweiler still linked to a lie of François Hollande: that of encouraging Ségolène Royal to the post of president of the General Assembly, while“unofficially, he assures that he does not want it as the third character of the State“.
According to Trierweiler, this is a constant trait of François Hollande, manipulator:“How many times have I heard him, when he was First Secretary of the PS, encourage a candidate and then do everything so that he does not have the nomination?” and to conclude, “He is a politician“.
This very Machiavellian vision of politics, attributed to François Hollande, where the end justifies the means, irrigates the work. As if Valerie Trierweiler was aware of the Machiavellian necessity of politics, and without agreeing to it, accepted its fate, justifying its application by François Hollande.
“Also it is necessary to the Prince who wants to preserve that he learns to be able not to be good “
…would say Nicolas Machiavelli.
– The admiration for the qualities of François Hollande
Many times in the book, Valerie Trierweiler recognizes a great quality of François Hollande, which is to always anticipate the next move. This is particularly true during his breakup, during the tweet affair, but also when Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been arrested.
“He has this immense quality of looking ahead first and never dwell on what is done” This is surely what she wanted to highlight by stating a few days after the release of Thank You for this moment in a telephone conversation with RTL:
“other passages also describe all the admiration I have for him”
Indeed, Valérie Trierweiler recalls on page 135:“He makes me laugh. I am amazed by his intelligence, his vivacity. He goes so fast in his thoughts.”
– The Hollande, Vallaud-Belkacem, and Clinton children
François Hollande’s family relations with his children are mentioned, in particular their difficulty in accepting the divorce with Ségolène Royal.
A word is slipped in about Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, future Minister of Education, impressed by the media strength of Valérie Trierweiler.
Another about Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy Hollande finds“grotesque“, as revealed in the excerpts of Paris Match.
The famous front page of Closer
on Hollande and Gayet
A personal story
– Valerie Trierweiler in journalism
Valérie Trierweiler looks back on her early years as a journalist at Profession politique.
She presents herself as disoriented, unprepared:“I don’t have enough political culture or even culture at all.“I have little experience: “I amtwenty-three years old and I have never been on a plane.“.
It is as a journalist that she studies the currents within the socialist party, among which the Transcourants, of which one of the leaders is François Hollande, whom she meets in 1988 during a meal at the National Assembly. She discovered him to be sympathetic and cheerful, especially with journalists.
The following year Valerie Trierweiler made her first steps in Paris Match. She wrote an article on Bernard Tapie, reporting remarks that he later denied, but which were proven by recordings a few days later.
At Paris Match, she met her second husband after Franck Thurieau, Denis Trierweiler, with whom she had three children.
Valérie Trierweiler then describes her family, her parents, how they influenced her career and her studies. She tells of her reputation as a “bourgeois” in contrast to the social environment in which she actually grew up, and of being “disdainful”.
– The love Hollande – Trierweiler
The book takes the turn of a TV show when it relates the affair between Hollande and Trierweiler, as well as the trio completed by Ségolène Royal, with its scenes of jealousy at the corner of a restaurant.
But these relationships will shed light for some on the complexity of the case of Ségolène Royal in the government since the arrival of Manuel Valls, symbolized by this sentence:“Ségolène Royal has just arrived. It immediately becomes another.”
The tone of betrayed love stories continues, until the interviews given by Trierweiler on Europe 1 and Hollande on RMC following the Gayet affair, while Valerie Trierweiler is on a trip to Haiti in support of the Secours populaire association.
– The victory in the presidential elections and the fall
Valerie Trierweiler appears as a broken woman, just as when she tries to overcome the pressure on the day of the election of François Hollande as president:“I collapse, sitting on the floor, on the tile.” after Francois Hollande has padded her. This does not prevent them, a few minutes or hours later of “an intense moment”:“François leads me in a half-step dance“.
Trierweiler then criticizes the behavior of the Express, which according to her, because she had refused an interview too early, had chosen to stigmatize her as the First Lady“who controls everything. And to launch in Merci pour ce moment:“So go those who are ready to lynch what they could just as well celebrate”
Obviously, it is the dishonest search for scoop at any price that is denounced. This criticism is not new, but the book shows more than any other, by the proximity of the reader to the First Lady, theinjustice of its violence.
This election does not abate the jealousy of Trierweiler against Ségolène Royal, that François Hollande will kiss, and to which she responds with an act:“When he returns, I ask him in his ear to kiss me, specifying “on the mouth””
– The fragility of a new First Lady
Like many First Ladies before her, Valérie Trierweiler made it a point of honour in her early years not to enter the political arena, which was entrusted to her husband. This is what she reports under the words,“Once at the Élysée Palace, I am careful not to encroach on politics.”
In accordance with the customs of theFifth Republic, it is the strategy that seems then the most natural.
But its fragility is as much physical, related to stress, as mental, especially when President François Hollande does not always tell him the truth but prefers“the unspoken, the dodge and the lie“.
One aspect raised by Valerie Trierweiler, and which is very important to understand the political environment, is the supposed machismo of politicians. It is true that in the 2007 legislative elections, for example, women still only represented 18.5% of the deputies.
– Strategic appointments
Thus, François Hollande refuses to appoint the wife of the director of the Point at the time, because he“would have necessarily experienced the promotion of his companion as a personal slap in the face. Valerie Trierweiler concluded: “Macho solidarity“.
Similarly, the concern for parity in the government seems to obey the same priorities:“Some women ministers are even chosen from a catalog. ”
The way in which ministers are appointed is quite explicitly denounced, as solely strategic,“a game of billiards with several cushions“. This is another observation of calculating politics.
– Sudden celebrity as a test for haters
The press is often criticized for falsely attributing responsibilities to Valerie Trierweiler, without knowing the real reasons. For example, when she asks for more privacy for her child, or the absence of the president’s family at the inauguration:“The press attributes to me the responsibility for his decision.”
Valerie Trierweiler then made a surprising revelation, as it may have escaped some of the French: Carla Bruni’s difficulties in adapting to her new life as First Lady. Without a doubt, Valérie Trierweiler finds a reassuring echo of her own plight, of her own difficulties. “Nicolas Sarkozy explained to her how painful this period had been for Carla, who had not been able to cope with the excessive media attention and backbiting. He confided to her that he had been obliged to resort to specialized companies to “bring up” in the algorithms of search engines the honorable articles and references, to hide the horrors that circulate on the Net, so that his wife would not stumble upon them.”
It also sheds light on the increasingly important links between the control of the Internet, in terms of communications, and power. It is nothing other than the power of Google mainly that is addressed. It is also the will not to be discouraged because of the abundant comments on the internet, often more free and virulent.
→ PART 2 of the analysis of the book Thank you for this moment
Thank you for this moment is published by Les Arènes, we advise you to buy this book.