Friday, 12 March 2010
Affairs of state, or the state of Zarkozy's affairs
To a packed Downing Street lunchtime press conference to hear Gordon Brown and Nicolas Zarkozy. None of us were there to ask about the effect of UK hedge funds on the Eurozone (okay the FT was). No, the big question of the day was what's going on with Zarko and Carla Bruni?
The internet and the British press have been awash with rumours that the French President and his glamorous, popstar wife are pursuing dangerous liaisons a mere two years into their whirlwind marriage.
The problem facing press was who would have the courage to ask? None of the French journalists could. One indicated to me that she would face the guillotine at home if she did. But she also assured us that Zarkozy would answer if asked, so pushing the Brits onto the frontline.
It was agreed the Sun would pose the question but in the actual event a French journalist, freelancing outside the pack on the other side of the room, got there first.
Zarkozy immediately rebuked the poor guy, who'd asked about the reports in the British press, for his "idiotic" question.
"You must know very little about what the President of the Republic actually has to do all day long,' he said.
"I certainly don't have time to deal with these ridiculous rumours, not even half a fraction of a second. I don't even know why you use your speaking time to put such an idiotic question."
Brown helped his wee friend out with a joke that he didn't believe a lot of what he read in the British press either. The two were on very warm terms, full of praise for each other. It's one love affair that shows no sign of waning.
Zarko, though showed his penchant for playing both sides. Even though he criticised David Cameron for his euro-sceptic stance in leaving the European PP he went on later to have talks with the Tory leader where it was all warm hugs and embraces all round again.