I’ve just come back from a 3 week trip around the Southern States of America, I wont bore you with the details but I did manage to avoid being caught in a Tornado (only just though). America isn’t my favorite place but my wife insisted so we went and I cant say I like Americans any more than I did before I went but neither can I say I like them any less.
Of much more interest, to me anyway is the story I read about Valerie Trieweiler; The French First Lady for those of you unfamiliar with who she might be. It turns out that yesterday (Wednesday 05 Jun. 2013) that she won a court case concerning her right to privacy, I just love the French attitude to privacy I wish it could be adopted over here in the UK.
A Paris court awarded her €10,000 in damages after ruling that her right to privacy had been breached. She’s sued over claims made that she had engaged in a simultaneous relationship with conservative politician Patrick Devedjian in the early 2000s & Francois Holland before he became President of France. The claims were made in a book written by journalists Christophe Jakubyszyn and Alix Bouilhaguet.
Valerie Trierweiler, who is the first French First Lady not to be married to the president, began her relationship with Hollande while she was still married to her second husband. Hollande was then still in a relationship with Socialist politician Ségolène Royal, who is the mother of his four children. The book is one of several to have been published since the election of Hollande, whose relationship with Valerie Trierweiler is proving troublesome for his public image as president.
Valerie Trierweiler’s legal team said she will donate the damages awarded to charity but that she is also planning separate libel action against the authors. Devedjian also sought legal action for defamation but his claim was dismissed. I think the substance of his claim was related to associated flak from his affair with Valerie. On the other hand however, hers was more about a slur aimed at her and M Holland (politically driven? I wonder).
Unlike the British courts the French courts seem to have understood the full extent of her distress. Of course she was upset; she brought the action, and regardless of her public profile she never-the-less has a right to privacy. She was awarded a reasonable sum, not some outlandish amount that you might see in the British courts (I cannot imagine how much might have been awarded in the American courts had this been about the American First Lady).
Britain may do well to follow the example of our French neighbors rather than aping our American cousins. Better food, spectacular wine, a cultural leaning to localized supply, private matters that remain private…