This article in Prospect is a must read. It expalins you of the role of corruption in the political system, look at its causes, the role of the press, the judiciary, and French culture, gives you the history and whrere things stand at the moment I’d quote the key parts, but then I would have to quote the whole article. Go and read it instead.
In short it says corruption is systemic and all-pervasive, that Chirac and most of the political elite are deeply corrupt, and that it doesn’t look like things are going to get better anytime soon. It paints a pretty belak picture.
Via the invaluble Matt Welch