Second round of the French Presidential elections coming up….and Macron is well in the lead over Le Pen according to the polls.
How could he not be? The press – whose present ownership was assisted to its position by Macron when a minister of Hollande – is behind him and the established political forces are calling for that hoary old standby – the ‘front republicain’ – to preserve France from the shame of a victory by the Front National.
Vote Macron to keep out Le Pen.
It is 2002 all over again when people walked into the voting booths with pegs on their noses to vote Chirac in order to crush the other Le Pen, this one’s father.
There was even a man who took his wish to avoid contamination to the lengths of going to vote in the full fig of a deep sea diver…boots, helmet, the lot.
And, the power of the ‘front republicain’ behind him, Chirac won 82% of the vote.
But will Macron win by a similar landslide?
Before examining the current state of affairs, we should take a look at the rise of the Front National.
A tiny Poujadist movement, it would probably have died out early in its life if not given impulsion by that most sinister man, President Mitterand.
First President from the PS (Socialist Party) in the Vth Republic he was determined to beat off the challenge from the traditional right wing parties and maintain the PS in power. To that end he promoted the Front National.
He instructed the television channels to give more air time to Jean-Marie Le Pen, so raising the profile of the FN which then profited from Mitterand’s imposition of proportional representation in 1985. Thirty five deputies from the FN were elected in 1986, giving the party a presence in the National Assembly which it would have been unable to achieve under the previous system.
The Front National was on its way. Thanks to a Socialist President.
In 2002 the FN had again to thank the PS whose candidate, Jospin, was so arrogant – entitled, one might say – that he thought it useless to spend money campaigning in the first round…he was sure to be put through to the second.
I can see him now…self satisfied prat…. pictured walking to his campaign H.Q. called L’Atelier – the workshop. He wouldn’t have known what a real workshop was like if it had bitten him and bite him it did.
The workshop – the real life one – sat on its hands. recognising what the PS was becoming – a party for the entitled where the locals did the work and the golden boys and girls were parachuted in to safe seats.
As Jacques Brel notes so well, the bourgeoisie can make all the right noises in its youth…but it remains the bourgeoisie.
And with the end of the trente glorieuses – the years of the post war settlement – well behind it, the workshop started to wonder about its future.
Was it safe in the hands of the PS?
Clearly not with Jospin….but it rallied to the call for the ‘front republicain’ to preserve the values of French society when faced with Le Pen senior.
Chirac was succeeded by Sarkozy, whose opponent from the PS was Segolene Royal: her campaign was run by her ‘partner’, the father of their four children, Francois Hollande, First Secretary (boss) of the PS.
He sabotaged her campaign from first to last. Sarkozy won.
Next time round the PS candidate was…Francois Hollande. Quelle surprise.
He won, by not being Sarkozy. By saying that he hated the rich. By promising to bring Merkel’s Germany to heel.
We all know where the last promise went…a capitulation on the lines of Petain in 1940.
Hating the rich? Another capitulation.
But at least he was not Sarkozy.
Under Hollande France has stagnated. Unemployment has risen. Ordinary people see no future for their children.
Support for the FN has burgeoned in these circumstances…promising as it does a return to old values….to stability…to the known, rather than the uncertainty of modern life …..and Hollande has been content to see it burgeon because, like Mitterand, he sees the FN dividing the right.
But Hollande sees further than Mitterand: he sees the FN dividing the left as well, to the benefit of the established….the bourgeois, the servants of the banks.
Not content with demolishing the campaign of Segolene Royal, he has demolished the campaign of the current PS candidate, Bernard Hamon, by giving his support to Emmanuel Macron….the man who sunk his own ambitions for a second term.
Hollande has, once again, betrayed his party. One wonders who has bought him…..and for how much.
I find it shameful that these politicians not only sell themselves…but sell themselves so cheaply.
So, we turn to Macron.
The next president of France.
He has a ready made party – En Marche.
Funded by? His well connected friends in finance and the media.
His programme? To gain power.
His backing in the National Assembly? To be determined…..his party’s candidates in the forthcoming national elections have not been announced. Possibly because enough rats have not deserted their sinking ships yet.
Except, of course, from the PS.
At his rally in Lyon all the well kent faces were there….Hollande’s ministers, looking for another safe billet….those right wing politicians who opposed Sarkosy…
Shown the door by the people…they climb in through the window.
Le plus que ca change, le plus que c’est la meme chose…
Vote Macron and you vote for the incompetents whose rule has led France into the impasse.
Vote Le Pen and you vote for another corrupt party.
Mindful of the struggle to obtain the vote, were I able to vote in France I would vote blanc.
Support neither candidate.
I could not vote Le Pen…but neither would I wish to see Macron with a vote which would legitimate his presidency.