The 5 leading candidates (whether ‘self-anointed’ or chosen by their Parties) vie to be seen as the outsider fighting against the political/Party Establishment. Le Monde has today identified statements where they each try to show their distance from ‘The System’ whilst rallying support for themselves, THE Anti-System Candidate.
Hard Left Outsider Melenchon.
As I write, I am thrilled that (courtesy of conservative Le Figaro) my computer screen regularly cuts between Melenchon at his rally either (i) Live At Lyon or (ii) as a hologram at his Paris suburb meeting. The Hard Left goes razzmatazz hi-tech for allegedly a ‘mere’ €35K while Socialist Hamon wants to raise money by taxing robots. Melenchon’s tweets claim a turnout of 12,000 at Lyon PLUS 6,000 in Paris. He seems to be saying that his today is bigger than Macron’s yesterday.
Asked about working with Hamon, Melenchon said ‘Why not?’. But, he said, ‘no question of a woolly programme in exchange for some MPs… We don’t just want new packaging and old furniture … If the place is cleaned out everything’s possible.’ So that’s a ‘No’ then.
Socialist Outsider Hamon.
Hamon has started work on trying to enlarge his support base. It looks likely the Greens will support a Hamon candidature. Also some Communists may be detaching from support for Melenchon. Today officially invested Socialist candidate, Hamon may feel like reaching out to his fellow Socialists too.
Centrist Outsider Macron.
Introducing Macron, yesterday, the Socialist Mayor of Lyon said there were 200 MPs present at the rally. [We need fact-checkers urgently.] One of those attending was a Fields Scholar: that’s serious stuff having a big-time mathematician’s support. Macron also referred to ‘Our 5 year Presidential term’ (first time that’s been said). Premature maybe?
Macron attacked the FN for ‘not speaking in the name of the people’ but rather ‘from father to daughter, from daughter to niece … in the name of their bitterness’ [father is old-fashioned bully boy anti-semite Jean-Marie; niece is 27 year old Marion (youngest-ever MP aged 22) and a seriously nasty chip off Jean-Marie’s deeply unpleasant old block. If the NF’s National and Social(ist) parts split, she’s the natural leader of the Nationals].
Right-wing Outsider Fillon
A ‘highly-placed judicial source’ (always thus described when anonymous) told Journal de Dimanche there were still several FakeJobGate investigations to be run and no timescale for it all could be given. How long will Républicain MPs (with their own jobs necessarily affected by Fillon’s success, or otherwise) hang on? The Alistair Campbell 11 day news cycle rule may apply soon. If the story gets new legs Fillon’s toast. But is the story fading away (like Fillon’s poll numbers) with no new scandal? Could he survive? Can Fillon tough it out? 20(ish) MPs calling for change (any change) is not enough. Après-Fillon there is every chance of le déluge and no rules of any kind at all are in place to be applied.
Centrist Bayrou (he could still foolishly throw his hat in, fondly recalling his Third Man’s 18.6% in the 2007 first round) today called on Fillon to withdraw his candidature. Is anyone listening? If listening, will anyone heed his advice? Answer: NO.
Charming Marion (see above) has been leading Operation Seduction trawling for disappointed Fillon supporters. For 2 days she has been saying to anyone who will listen that there was no Plan B to replace Fillon, but a Plan M, ie Marine Le Pen. Witty huh?
Extreme-Right Outsider Le Pen
Le Pen’s meeting is live on Le Figaro too. I watch them so you don’t have to.
She is reading her prepared text from the podium; Melenchon is hologrammatically in 2 places at once and wanders about the stage delivering his neo-revolutionary message without notes. Le Pen says: ‘France is facing two deadly dangers: islamic fundamentalism and economic globalisation.’ (Remind you of anyone?)
Marion (see above), asked today about a Trump-style Muslim ban in France, charmingly replied using the Phrase of the Day ‘Why not?’