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Opposition politicians have told their newspaper contacts to expect the French Minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, to be the first casualty among the ‘Sarkozettes’, the group of glamorous women appointed to Nicolas Sarkozy’s cabinet.
Albanel, a former press officer for the city of Paris, and later administrative chief of Versailles Palace, is noted for her eye-catching initiatives, such as the honour given to Kylie Minogue, but with an intangible brief she has been struggling to deliver the tangible results Sarkozy expects of his ministers.
Christine is also said to have fallen out with Carla Sarkozy, whose first-hand experience in the entertainment field has led her in private to be critical of the ‘trivial’ direction of French cultural policy. With renewed speculation, however, that Carla might be about to produce an heir to the Sarkozy dynasty, there is a touch of irony in the matter that has earned Albanel the most criticism in the press: the French television authority’s ban on programmes aimed at children under three years of age, following outspoken comments by Albanel in a newspaper article about their negative effect on child development.
In one televised debate a cleaner from Toulouse, Christine Albanel’s home town, said that it was all very well for a politician surrounded by helpers to pontificate on the benefits of child care unsupported by TV but ‘in the real world very young kids and babysitters watched Disney cartoons until one, and often both, fell asleep’. She added caustically that Madame Albanel, the daughter of a GP, had not excelled in her own ‘attempt at matrimony and motherhood’ either.
This was presumably a reference to Albanel’s marriage to Philippe Guilot de Lagarde, which produced one child, Antoine, before ending in divorce and was said in some quarters to have been almost a real-life parody of a novel written by the French minister entitled ‘A Senseless Mother’.
From our September 2008 e-newsletter