Philippe de Villiers and the Vendee

The Vendee was yesterday shaken by the news that Philippe de Villiers, who has been President of the Department's Conseil Général for 22 years, has resigned.

It all follows a vote of no confidence last week, precipitated by the disillusionment of Senator Bruno Retailleau, a spiritual son of de Villiers, and Vice-President of the Vendee, who has resigned from the party (de Viliers' Mouvement pour la France). Shades of Julius Caesar and Brutus ... I know how de Villiers feels, because I have been stabbed in the back a few times in my life. Unlike Caesar, I have somehow managed to get up and keep going. And I suspect that de Villiers will do the same.

Perhaps at 61, he feels that if he is going to make his mark in another kind of public life, he needs to make a start now. He has also just got over a rare form of eye cancer; and there are other problems the family.

The national papers are speculating that perhaps he will join the government. My gut feeling is that he will move into a more spiritual/cultural role as the Father of the Vendee, immune from the nastiness of political life.

He is one of the few great men alive today in France, and he has been good to us at Chavagnes. Here is what he has said about us in print too.

We will be praying for him and for the Vendee he loves so much.

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