Presiedent Macron of France visits his decidedly unimpressed troops.
As usual he has dressed up for the occasion, this time taking from the toy box a uniform with insignia showing him to be a pilot….
Previously he had had himself lowered from a helicopter to visit a nuclear submarine…wearing naval uniform….
As President, he is head of the armed forces which entitles him to wear appropriate uniforms, but in a man who had not undergone military service – normal for someone of his age when there was no compulsory conscription – it is a bit rich to assume a qualification – as pilot – which was certainly not awarded during his stint at the Ecole Nationale d`Administration.
No doubt some devotee of the ancient art of Arslikhan issued him with said uniform…but as head of the armed forces he should have recognised and declined the pilots`badge: the armed forces are notoriously chary of those who flaunt what they have not earned.
In the wake of a row with the chief of the general staff over fiddles in the defence budget to make Peter pay Paul, Macron had proclaimed to a gathering of senior officers that he was the head of the armed forces and that any question as to his care for their interests was out of order.
Tell that to the poor buggers sent to fight in Mali in obsolete personnel carriers…
Needless to say, Macron`s uniform fetishism has formed the subject of exchanges with French friends…none of whom had or would have voted for him even against Le Pen.
For all of us he is the product of a media campaign supported by the proprietors whom he helped into their positions when a minister in Hollande`s government…a creature of the banks and big business.
So, as always, the consolation of the downtrodden is to extract the urine.
We imagined all the situations in which Macron could dress up…..
He could visit a creche wearing a nappy…
He could visit the Pope dressed as a choirboy…fine for this Pope but with his predeccessors better to go dressed as a nun…
He could make a state visit to Russia stripped to the waist and mounted on a horse a la Putin…
Or what about his arrival to salute the winner of the Tour de France…clad in head to toe lycra? No, forget that…the winner was not French.
Having taken President Trump for a meal in a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower perhaps he would follow that up by inviting another head of state to the Crazy Horse…clad in a G string with feathers sprouting from his posterior…
And just imagine his costume to receive the organisers of the Gay Pride March!
Come to that, what would Madame Macron, who would have been a worthy winner of a Butlins Knobbly Knees competition in her time, be wearing?
Given what she has been wearing to date, the mind boggles….and surmises…but French gallantry negates further speculation.
But then it occurred to me…we were laughing at Macron in a particular context…the context of French history and culture: we were comparing Macron with de Gaulle, with Giscard d`Estaing…we were laughing at a reference from one of Audiard`s films…Un Taxi pour Tobrouk… where one of the protagonists whose father worked for the Vichy government proclaimed that his father respected the law so much that if the Chinese took power he would become a mandarin and that if the Africans took over he would put a bone in hs nose – while best not to contemplate what he would have to do if the Greeks took over..
How the blazes do you translate the sense of all that?
I know that I cannot…and have every respect for professional translators who manage to convey not only the sense but the nuances of the message of the speaker.
No nuances necessary, though, for Macron`s speech at the Vel d`Hiv on the 75th anniversary of the round up of 13,000 Jews, including some 4,000 children, by the French police. They were crammed into the stadium for days without food or water before being shipped out to concentration camps whence but few returned.
He proclaimed that France was responsible for this atrocity…echoing Chirac, the first French President to acknowledge state responsibility: he criticised earlier Presidents…Mitterand, de Gaulle, for their refusal to do likewise.
For Macron, Vichy France was France: while one can understand the reticence of Mitterand given his associations with Vichy one can also understand the refusal of de Gaulle to accept that the Vichy regime was a legitimate government given his position as leader of those who opposed it tooth and nail.
Either Macron has no sense of history, or wrongly believes that the scars of the defeat of 1940 and its consequences are healed: in any case, he took the opportunity to condemn anti semitism in round terms in the presence of his guest, Netenyahu, President of Israel, and to agree with the latter that anti-Zionism was but another manifestation of anti semitism.
Which is where another serpent raised its head.
You can be Jewish without being a supporter of Zionism and to conflate the two is either a remarkable feat of ignorance…or a sop to his guest before calling on him to soften his policy towards the displaced Palestinians.
While those who are in fact anti semitic will take the opportunity to call Macron the Rochschild candidate once more those who are not will have further doubts about his ability to master any part of his role other than that of issuing soundbites……and wearing uniforms.
Solis swallowing wasp