It is well known that Nicolas Sarkozy's disintegration in the polls was caused primarily by his personal life. Its patent instability finally chipped at his president persona and he's been in the survey dumps ever since.
Another element has to be the effet d'annonce; about six months into his presidency, the French caught onto the fact that an announcement, no matter how heartfelt and dramatic, is just an announcement. What matters is the substance that comes after; and in Sarkoworld, there is far too little of that.
The trip to England changes nothing on that score. While a poll bump is a likely reward for donning the sash and being "worthy of the post" as tongue-waggers here insist is de rigeur, one can wonder what substance will come of all the pomp and circumstance? What will grow from Queen Elizabeth's 96th state dinner at Windsor?
Probably nothing except, eventually, more distance between the President and his peuple. Because what's slowly coming across from the UK visit is subtle confirmation that somewhere in that elaborate mind of his, Sarkozy loathes France, its continentalism,its prejudices. If only France, Sarkozy dreams, could cut its own ties, its own history and subsume itself into the Anglo Saxons'; a history where history itself is forgotten, or so he assumes.
Indeed, we can call Sarkozy a neo-conservative in the sense that he sees Western, Anglo-saxon civilization as the summit of human history, and the Others (call them socialist, muslim, Corsican or French) as fodder for condescension where respect comes in exceptions. (In this light, Sarkozy prefers Israel to Arabs because Israelis are culturally Anglo-saxon. Indeed - to Sarkozy no doubt - Israel is part of Europe, because, yes, close to America).
Obviously, this love for Anglo-Americana, is a part of his complex character, and gets contradicted elsewhere.
But there is a consistent line. From his giddiness on the trips to the US and the UK, to his despondency while on the road in North Africa, Brussels, or France, the psychology of these political outings tells us everything about the map of his mind, if little about the substance of his presidency. And the French, feeling rejected (a rejection Cecilia told us Sarko's own children feel), are reacting.