Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
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By Harry Spindler
As of the 7th May 2017, France decided it was time to distance themselves from the establishment which they had been so accustomed to, the first time that neither Republican nor Socialist party were represented in the final round of voting. After Francois Hollande failed to improve the economy, involved the nation internationally in conflicts in Mali, Syria and Iraq and dithered between the traditional left and the hard-line right, thus becoming one of the least popular presidents in France’s history, it would’ve been easy to believe that the Republicans would have been favourites for the election.
Francois Fillon, the Republican candidate, may have been favourite initially as well as a keen option from our government due to his Thatcherite nature. That was until his campaign was shot down before it really got started after French media discovered he had been paying his wife just short of a million euros to do a job which never existed. In similar fashion to the American election, the term anti-establishment was thrown around on multiple occasions and it was clear to the see that the French were keen to follow a similar route.
Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French President, was involved prior to his election in previous President Hollande’s cabinet, initially as a non-elected economic adviser and then as the Economy Minister from 2014, eventually leaving to start his own party En Marche! This is a party which has promised to progress between the left and the right, taking the Social justices so supported by the left and then the business orientated economic policies of the right. A stance much like Tony Blair’s New Labour and the ‘Third Way’. If we were to draw comparisons, we would have seen a political consensus in Britain since the end of the Second World War; Thatcher took a far harder right stance with the sacrifice of Social rights, Blair promised to bring the best from both worlds whilst distancing themselves from both the left and right. Macron has sung the same tones Blair did in the run up to his election and, now, France has taken a step away from the consensus which had brought the country to its knees.
Macron’s closest rival, who in hindsight was convincingly beaten in the final round of election, was Marine Le Pen. Le Pen represents Front National (FN), a right-wing Populist Nationalist party who were aiming to play on the fears of the people to ride the wave straight into power. Whilst Le Pen’s party used to represent a far more aggressive stance of Nationalism under her father, who was a Holocaust denier and Racist, Le Pen has worked towards a goal of ‘De-demonisation’, under which the FN used to stand for all the things her father stood for. Le Pen attempted to take a similar stance to American president Donald Trump in covering up Racist Isolationist agenda with the promise that she can fix France’s problems by closing off to the world.
Macron, however, fought against that. An ex-banker, Macron wants to promote global business using the EU as a platform to boost French finances as well as distancing French politics from careerist politicians. Macron represents a centre stance of Technocracy in which his Cabinet should be built of men and women who specialise in what they are fighting for e.g. Minister of Finance will be an ex-banker like himself, Minister of Health will have worked in the Health industry as a doctor and so forth. This stance is a change from what France has worked under for so long, and, in many essences, what we have been under across the Channel. Failing governments, not just under Hollande, but Sarkozy before him and Chirac before him, led the French people to desire change, which opens avenues for, not just Macron’s promise for leaps forward, but Le Pen’s hate-fuelled fall backwards.
The French election breathes new life into a weakening EU with Macron promising a re-energised France sharing the burden with Germany and strengthening relations between the two countries. For us, Macron has said that Britain will receive no concessions on Brexit and that access to the Single Market will only be on French and German terms and not British ones. Macron knows he has a massive job on his hands, the right wing is still in strong prominence in the country and they attack Macron for being a ‘European’ and not French, whilst many feel that Macron was merely elected by the electorate because they wanted to beat Le Pen.
Macron knows too that the French economy needs to be saved as soon as possible. Unemployment needs addressing after stalling under Hollande and the walls between communities which had been reinforced by Le Pen in the run up to the election need to be broken down by En Marche! Before any of that can be done, however, Macron must build a cabinet. Early days but the Technocrat has begun a process of bringing hope into a country which was just waiting to tear itself apart.