The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Grace and Circumstance
Posted Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 11:05

A good weekend. The Conservative party stormed forwards in the local elections, and Conservative Sarkozy won the French presidency.

Those of you who watched the TV coverage as the French polls closed will have witnessed Segolene Royal deliver her speech, as the French version of the ‘exit poll’ declared Sarkozy the victor with 53%.

Segolene is the personification of a typical French woman, a natural combination of effortless style and consummate grace.

She looked stunning in her very simple understated way, and, although she must have felt heartbroken, delivered her speech as she smiled like an angel. The smile reached her eyes, which made it all the more real.

And then came Sarkozy, the winner.

I met Sarkozy four years ago. Well, when I say met, I am exaggerating ever so slightly.

It was during the time I was working for Oliver Letwin, Sarkozy was the French Interior Minister at the time.

Oliver was delivering a speech at a conference centre in Manchester. He got the train, from wherever it was he had been the day before, to Manchester, and I drove from London. Bad move. Not for me, I got there in plenty of time, Oliver's train however, had been delayed and cancelled, and then if I remember rightly, broke down.

This caused a great deal of stress, until we realised that Gordon Brown, the speaker following Oliver, was also on the same train.

The speaker before Oliver was Sarkozy.

When we arrived at the conference centre we were ushered into the wings off stage as Oliver was going on straight after, the then unknown to me or many others in this country, Sarkozy who had just started his speech.

I was supposed to be helping Oliver. Speech pages in right order, shiny face make up on, running order for media interviews as he came off stage, water in place, final run through, all that kind of stuff, but I did nothing. I was listening to Sarkozy completely transfixed.

It wasn’t so much what he was saying, as the way he said it.

Using the lectern as a prop to hold him up, he was having a one sided conversation with the audience, as opposed to delivering a speech.

In his thick molten French accent, interpreter onstage, he leaned, almost slumped, forward over the lectern and spoke without notes for over an hour in a ‘let me tell you the story of France’ manner. It was one of those skin prickly speeches and you sort of knew you were in the presence of greatness. I was six feet away from him during the entire delivery. I have no idea where Oliver was!

As he came off stage to tumultuous applause, I clapped like a demented seal, and as he walked past me , he winked. Does that count as having met someone? I suppose not, however, the closest I will ever get I suppose!

Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 8 May 2007
And closer than the majority of people in France will ever get either.
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