That Was A Week That Was, It’s Over Let It Go.
Fillon will have immeasurable difficulty recovering from these catastrophic last few days, regardless whether (i) investigating authorities quickly announce no charges will be brought or (ii) no charges are brought right through February. More Républicain MPs are lining up to say that a Plan B needs to be devised urgently. They even refer to the Titanic – but say they haven’t the luxury of an orchestra playing while the ship sinks. A reminder: Fillon has said he will stand down if charges are brought. I think he will finally quit before any charges appear.
Juppé (but not Sarkozy) would surely save the day for the Républicains and the Right if he does what the country ‘expects every officer and man to do … this day’ and dutifully re-emerges from Bordeaux. Juppé should have first dibs at filling the gap (wrote Ph Ridet in Le Monde): finishing 2nd in the Républicains Primary is like finishing 2nd in the Tour de France … before the results of the anti-doping tests are published. Plus, says Ridet, Juppé has of course already served his ‘time’ for fictional employment. But, so far, Juppé insists that he will never be anyone’s Plan B. So might the Right have to jump a generation (or two), find a much younger candidate and so put an end to Macron?
Centre-right Bayrou appears to want to join the fray. He talks of ‘unprecedented chaos’. He describes the situation as ‘grave’ (which it certainly is for the democratic health of the country) but says he will only announce his decision end-February. Surely that’s far too late for him to be a candidate? Fine if he supports Macron (at least for Macron’s extreme centre-left + extreme centre-right candidature). If Bayrou stands as a candidate, which seems highly improbable, I imagine he will bob along the bottom but not significantly affect the outcome in any way.
Hard-left Melenchon is trying to shore up his campaign, seriously damaged by Socialist Hamon’s arrival on The National Scene looking like a genuine Mr. Clean and a very bright candidate. Today’s poll shows those having a favourable opinion of Hamon are almost at Macron’s level. One of the President’s Men got in on the act; a ‘person close to the President’ said ‘Hamon can become President’ (seems remarkably unlikely to me).
Ex-banker, ex-Minister, ex-Socialist, never-stood-for-public-office, still-to-reveal-his-programme Emmanuel Macron (who coincidentally (?) picked a name for his Party which has his own initials [thanks for that one Chris]) and to some can sound like a voice from a much earlier era as he insists (Thirties-style?) that he is of neither the Left nor the Right.
But this is all increasingly disquieting for the effect it may be having on The Body Politic. While attempting sometimes to draw an occasional wry smile from this shambles, I worry ever more that the only person really benefiting from all this ‘Washington swamp’ equivalent is Le Pen. Constantly the most supported candidate by 30-year-olds/blue-collar workers/the unemployed/the low-paid/people in social housing, she sails serenely leading all 1st round polls with 25%+.