This Monday was France's proper back to school day, i.e. when most people rediscover their desk (and realize they forgot their computer password) after their month-long summer vacation on the beach (myself included, to be absolutely honest). And that's not counting teachers: they get 3 times that. Aren't you sad you're not living in France right now?
However, some people just don't like school all that much. Such is the case with France's now former Minister for the Ecology (exact title: Minister of ecological and solidary transition, to make things more pompous and less straightforward) Nicolas Hulot: he lasted just that one day... And he quit without warning, too: yesterday morning, he went on a morning radio show and announced, on the air, that he was out without having first notified his boss, the French Prime Minister, or his boss's boss, aka France's (late) answer to Obama - President Macron. That's like a kid not showing up to class the next morning with no explanation or doctor's note or death in the family. That's Nicolas Hulot for you: he's the real OG (aka Organic Green).
The reason he said he was quitting after just over a year on the job was - and I paraphrase - that it was hard. I seem to recall the (self-appointed) leader of the world once using the same argument about leading said free world. I guess great minds... In Hulot's defence, though, he was merely referring to leading a country's (that is not the greatest country in the world either) efforts to combat climate change. Sounds pretty easy to me.
The kicker of the story is this: Hulot, concluding that trying to move things along while in government is too hard, prefers going back to civilian life, where his voice may be heard louder through his foundation whose aim is to raise awareness on environmental issues. My question is this: how is running a (rather discreet) foundation more effective than being in government to push reforms? Would heckling Macron on Twitter actually be more effective than being part of his cabinet? Do his loud speakers go to 11?
In truth, the more likely explanation is quite prosaic: Hulot is running away because he's come to realized that politics are harder than hosting a TV show (his previous job: see the parallels here?), and that there was an increasing chance that his track record would look pretty light at the (expected) end of his mandate. It's always easier to skip the exam and claim it was rigged than to take it and fail.
Remind you of anyone?