A sad sire, alone, on the defensive. A fragile, fleeing man, propelled to the top of the government only to fall back just as dry. In other words, an amateur… Gérard Collomb comes out scuffed from the portrait that Jean-Michel Aphatie gives in The Amateurs, published Wednesday by Flammarion.
In short chapters, the political editorialist paints the portrait of councilors appointed to the highest level of the State since 2017, when they had neither the qualities nor the shoulders. Like the former mayor of Lyon, whose short term at the Ministry of the Interior is traced in scathing lines.
A minister between two chairs
It is first of all the story of an unexpected friendship: when they meet in 2014, it is “love at first sight” between Emmanuel Macron, then dashing Minister of the Economy, and his elder Gérard Collomb, riveted – it is believed – to his mayor’s scarf. So much so that Collomb slips to Georges Képénékian, also seduced by the outsider: “You have just seen the next mayor of Lyon. The person concerned preferred to become President of the Republic in May 2017, offering in the wake of Collomb to swap his chair of mayor against that of the Interior. The new minister finally acceded to his dream, which turned into a nightmare.
He feels alone at Place Beauvau. Worse: isolated. He does not integrate with the young wolves around him, Edouard Philippe humiliates him, confess his former collaborators. A participant in the Prime Minister’s breakfasts recalls: “With him, it was the end of the world every day. […] He was gloomy, pessimistic. In the end, we no longer listened to him. “
Lyon misses Collomb, he multiplies the back and forth, is even called to order. Moreover, he never intended to leave “his” town hall. David Kimelfeld (who had replaced Gérard Collomb at the presidency of the metropolis of Lyon before falling out) reveals that his faithful friend at the time was communicated all his files during his regency: “In fact, I was under surveillance. He didn’t trust me. “
Its fragility was well known
The indecision of the Minister of the Interior, his clumsiness when passing the Asylum and Immigration law, led to his resignation at the time of the Benalla affair. According to one of his collaborators, quoted in the book, Collomb was then “almost in burn-out. […] He put a lot of distance between himself and the members of his cabinet. We hardly saw him anymore. “His joy at finding the Lyonnais was not reciprocal, since he loses the municipal elections in 2020. In two years, he who thought he had won everything with his appointment to Matignon has lost everything.
It is the psychological fragility of Gérard Collomb that emerges with insistence in the sad record of Jean-Michel Apathie. This goes back to long before, when he was “sickly, ill-fitting suits, a thin mustache under a long nose”, “belittled by his comrades in the Socialist Party”, analyzes the journalist.
At least he will be remembered by the only politician to have quoted Saint Augustine in Latin to the National Assembly, the translation of which sounds like a prophecy: “I loved to love, and loving to love I was looking for someone to love.” History to remind those who took it from above, that it is an aggregate of classical letters.