by Anne-Elisabeth Moutet
Friday, 30
April 2021
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17:14

Call that a makeover? Carrie is no Brigitte Macron

When it comes to home makeovers, France's First Lady sets a high bar
by Anne-Elisabeth Moutet
Carrie has a lot to learn from her French counterpart.

So you think Carrie Symonds’ £58,000 wallpapergate is a political disaster without precedent? Disaster, yes, especially when you’re dissing John Lewis. Political, obviously, as the PM seemed unable to Just Say No to his 5’7” partner when faced with bills for £840-a-roll wallpaper and a £9,800 sofa. Would you trust this man to reject uranium enrichment clauses in treaty negotiations with Hassan Rouhani? 

But unprecedented? Never. In fact, even an £88,000 makeover (taking into account the £30,000 allotted annually by the Downing Street budget for refurbishments to the PM’s quarters) is pretty modest compared to Carrie’s international counterparts. 

The last one to get away with a big home makeover was Jackie Kennedy, who brought in from Paris Stéphane Boudin of Jansen, and got rich Democrat donors to cough up both cash and eighteenth century French antiques. She escaped criticism because it was seen as a conservation prestige project for the nation (Jackie even went on PBS, breathlessly tour-guiding her husband’s voters through the whole thing). Moreover, the Kennedy millions seemed to guarantee this was in no way personal graft. 

Nancy Reagan, by contrast, got massive flak for a perfectly legal $209,508 donation from the JP Knapp Foundation. She used this money to finance her purchase of 4,370 pieces of American-made Lenox china for the White House. But this didn’t chime with the Reagan’s home-on-the-range image.

Carrie is an amateur compared to Brigitte Macron’s €600,000 refurbishment of the Élysée Palace at the height of the Yellow Vests crisis. This revamp (with a lot of greige to replace the crimson and gold of an earlier era) was tactlessly described by the President’s wife as a dépoussiérage (dusting off) of Madame de Pompadour’s house. Mrs Macron blithely explained at the time that she wanted “to let the light into this place: it had become a kind of fortress, shielded from the outside world”, while commissioning 1,200 pieces of artist-designed china from the Manufacture de Sèvres worth a further €500,000. 

Following a week of fawning glossy Sunday mag coverage of the revamp, the Élysée was indeed turned into a fortress — quite literally, as battalions of Gendarmes mobiles were assigned to protect it from rioting citizens, who obviously shared Lulu Lytle’s view on €300,000 neutral-coloured pile carpets.

The British PM and his fiancée have yet to provoke a backlash on that scale. But they’d be well advised to stop pushing their luck.

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Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
1 year ago

Surely this is all just speculation about what any money has been spent on. There’s no actual information anywhere. It’s so ridiculous.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

Am I the first to come up with ‘Carrie Antoinette?’

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

No, it was a headline yesterday!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

That’s a shame. Anyway, this might just prevent the Tories from winning Hartlepool. Despite this, we are are often told that Carrie is a ‘smart woman with a deep understanding of politics’. No she isn’t. She is someone whose background enabled her to get a so-called ‘job’ at Conservative Party, HQ and who signally fails to understand how her various shenanigans are likely to play with the media and at least some of of the electorate.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

No ,but surely Madame Macron has to live up to the example of Versailles?

Stephen Rose
Stephen Rose
1 year ago

When it comes to aesthetics, we Brits are extremely uncomfortable. Any expenditure on appearances, would have been unexceptable. We do Royal gigs, very well though. Especially music, which leaves no material presence. I think Number 10 ‘s flat should just be something you can hose down.

Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
1 year ago

In the 19th century, as he was researching the causes of the 1789 and 1848 revolutions in France, Alexis de Tocqueville identified a common trend in France. A static upper class insulated from the population cannot grasp the internal transformations taking place in society; it is unable to perceive change on the ground.
Eventually, frustration leads to an uprising and the following chaos paves the way for the rise of an autocrat, thus bringing down the democratic regime. So far, post-revolution France has lived through four republics, each of them being brought down by episodes of large-scale violence. 
France’s instability stems not so much from the fact that French people love revolutions but rather from the actions of a decadent and incompetent elite that cannot help digging its own coffin.
Substack

Last edited 1 year ago by Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

WHY COMMISSION THIS DREK? Who cares? The Central Banks are printing Trillions, Biden will create an additional 10 TRILLION $ THIS YEAR! The USA is 37 Trillion in dept now, and has a 100 BILLION spending deficit PER MONTH with China and the world – the container ships arrive full, leave empty so shipping costs are up 100% as there is no return freight. !!! The ECB and BofE are better, but still crazy, The IMF printed a Trillion $ in its fiat currency, SDF (Special Drawing Rights)

The Treasury 10 yields 1.7% The interest rate is essentially zero so there is NO WAY to fight the coming inflation, which Powell says is transitory, and he will not fight any – (as he can not anyway)
The stocks (equities) markets hit RECORD highs every month is a higher record, wile production is rock bottom and P/E ration are the highest ever seen – The Children and not all in school (Till Fall according to the masked fool Biden). Lumber is up 400%, Plumbing 200%, concrete, copper, oil, doubled, people in USA get so much unemployment they refuse to return to work, Block Chain is up to all kinds of stuff – China has an official crypto coming out, everyone is now tracked at all times, and with digital money the entire paradigm of freedom changes.

Taxes on the wealthy leaping up but can not even dent the dept ever – so corporate tax is going way up, which is regressive as it means goods rise to pay it, so all do. Inflation is coming, and Inflation is a Tax on all money – so it totally regressive, maybe hyperinflation, maybe a deflationary depression – the world walks a knife edge and will likely fall off into he abyss, and we worry about the wallpaper in Number 10. Talk about deck chairs on the titanic.

I could go on for pages, but am always told to be less long winded- So UNHERD, why not talk of those?

Pamplemousse LaCroix
Pamplemousse LaCroix
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Be less long winded.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

no

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

But decaff tastes appalling.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I’m with Sanford; the band is playing loudly so that we can’t hear the shrieking of rivets popping, and the cries of the submerged.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Red Reynard

I would adjust my portfolio. I will get some PSLV shares, (Sprot allocated silver), some Ivanhoe Copper (In the Congo, so risky) IVPAF, some NAC Kazatomprom uranium mine, some Cammeco, and although lumber is 400% UP! I will begin the application to build a Air B&B house, 2.5% mortgages! – and out of equities. I am nuts enough to think a 90% drop in the stock market is possible, although it is mostly the gold bugs who say that.
I watch Harry Dent, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83A1PM7VzFY stuff, Demartino Booth, Dalio, Schiff, Munger, and a bunch of others on Youtube, Stansbery Research for the gold bugs (gold sales genda). My mother lives with me now, she lived through the great depression, I went through the 1980s mess, the 1999 Doc-Com crash, the 2008 crash – they are real, and NEVER has one had this amount of signs.

There is a word from history you ones who do not know history may be unaware of. The 1928 was word ‘Uncomfortable Feeling’. People had this ‘uncomfortable feeling’, they could not shake it, but FOMO (another financial word) kept them in the markets, they just were going up and up, and so the crash was terrible, taking almost all with it (The Kennedys made their fortune then, by acting on this feeling and getting out)

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  Red Reynard

Looking for a chance encounter with an inflatable? Not an entirely foregone idea.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago

I know. Sensemaking wasn’t my intention, i was just shooting the breeze.
However, coming to think of it, when finding oneself in a sticky situation one’s gut reflex would be to look for (or improvise) a way out of it, no?

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It seems that people still want to hold the confetti money that the West increasingly considers profit.
For now

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I do not get a pension, just minimal SSI, so I must protect myself. A life of mostly self employed means I have some assets, but if they disappear I am done. I think most have some thought they have a pension so nothing really matters as they will always be taken care of…. I do not have that. I also believe the total surveillance state is almost here, and I am fiercely against that.

People do not understand what digital Central bank crypto means to the world, it means everything. The Chinese digital Remminbi blockchain wallet is happening now, EVERY Central Bank has one in development, the paradigm shift by Government Central Banks displacing banks is huge, finishing Reserve Currency, “Digital renminbi, or Digital Currency Electronic Payment, is a central bank digital currency issued by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China. It is the first digital currency to be issued by a major economy, undergoing public testing as of April 2021″ This is HUGE! (Demartino Booth, youtube, says some interesting stuff on this)

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I am the topic I know best. My pet obsessions are the one I know second best.
My main obsession is from being multi-national, knowing the world, and fearing China like one should have feared Japan in the 1930s. Then I am also fiercely Western Patriotic. I see ones like yourself being the good people who do nothing wile great evil takes foot. I also fear what I believe is an impending economic crash.
I feel the world is on an economic precipice and falling is assured. This can be a correction, or it can be a collapse of the world’s economy, and from that would come greater evil than humans have yet experienced. I also am a conspiracy loon.
I have no idea what your beliefs are, or who you are, and maybe this is a lack in your posting – that you come to a global news site and have nothing to say but glib jabber. Maybe you are just a hallow vessel, maybe you are just a super conformist, try to break out of that and post something meaningful.

PS, I link this handy instruction of how to bypass writing which does not interest you, such as mine: https://appuals.com/how-to-scroll-with-a-touchpad/

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes, please stay on topic and stop taking advantage of Unherd’s (currently) very lenient editorship of commentary.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
1 year ago

“Let them eat Cake” is an expression one could easily imagine as emanating from no 10 Downing Street, not just from the Elysee Palace.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
1 year ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

She never said it. They did character assassination in the 18th century too.