Delivered. Jean-Claude Gaudin, fifty years of political life including a quarter of a century in running Marseille, three decades of parliamentary mandates, promised to “Tell everything” the underside of an exceptional career for its longevity and its trajectory. We expected to see him distribute a few claws of course, to reveal the pitfalls tended for him – or by him – in his long electoral epic, or even to be transparent about episodes such as his 1986 and 1988 alliances with the National Front, or the drama in the rue d’Aubagne – the collapse of two buildings – which, on November 5, 2018, will definitely mar his last municipal mandate. The promise is not kept.
From the foreword, which seems to have been added at the last moment to prepare the reader, the octogenarian warns that he “Only manages to settle accounts with difficulty”. “I am not inclined to resentment, nastiness, or denunciation”, assures the one who, a few months ago still, dismissed his detractors with greed and a semblance of threat to the publication of what he calls his “Memories “.
Anecdotes used again
This story is therefore a long stack where the former professor of history and geography of private education dissolves episodes from another time and lists his actions as mayor, senator, or minister of the city, of the spatial planning and integration (1995-1997). A born speaker, Mr. Gaudin has lost none of his sense of anecdote. He retrieves most of the ones he used to give to journalists. The day he sat in Winston Churchill’s armchair, the day the former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika kissed him, the minute he crossed paths with Margaret Thatcher’s husband… The man loves formal visits and their details.
Conversely, he spends with disconcerting speed over key moments in his own political history. The negotiations leading to his election to the presidency of the regional council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in 1986 in collaboration with the extreme right? “In the first round, the FN presents its candidate, and the left his. I am elected in the second, when the elected FN vote for me ”, he sums up in two sentences, before taking offense at the “Media complacency”, which therefore apply to the “Dirty”. The alliance with the relatives of the former socialist Jean-Noël Guérini which seals his fourth municipal victory, in 2014? A simple “Fusion”, which brings territories “So marked on the left that we would never have dared to dream of it”. As for his close links with the Force Ouvrière union, Jean-Claude Gaudin justifies them by his will “To avoid blockages and social conflicts”, but also by the fact that he does not appreciate that “The CGT, [la] FSU or others call to vote against [lui] ” at the time of the municipal elections.
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