There was something troubling about the way Prime Minister Manuel Valls appeared when interviewed on the main evening news programme on Tuesday.
As you see in the video below, he seems permanently irritated from the start. He looks like a man on a short fuse who is about to explode at any moment. Rather than a man who is calmly in charge of his ministers, he seemed to be irritated, rattled and uncomfortable.
Manuel Valls, interviewed by David Pujadas on France 2 evening news, 26 August 2014
As I struggled to find the right word to describe him, I found this excellent post on the always excellent blog by Arthur Goldhammer. He described Valls as being in “a perpetual state of dyspepsia”.
The Oxford dictionaries definition of someone who is dyspeptic is “having indigestion or a consequent air of irritable bad temper”. A perfect description of Valls at the moment.
Valls has the “man in a hurry” air that Sarkozy always seemed to have. Like Sarkozy, he has been interior minister and, presumably, he would like to emulate Sarkozy by getting his hands on the presidency at some point. I fear dyspeptic tendencies are unlikely to endear him to the French public. In the words of one cheesy but famous British advertising campaign, “calm down dear”.
“Calm down dear”: Michael Winner in esure advertising campaign