Day 86 – As I was saying before I …

Plus ça change …

Has anything changed? A Harris poll found 81% of the French greatly or fairly interested by this election – up substantially since 2 months ago before the Socialist primary. That’s about the only thing actually to have changed.

Closing Time Approaching for M. Fillon?

After dismissing the ‘Plan B’ attempt to dump him as B for Bérézina, Fillon moved up the alphabet to suggest there was now only a Plan A for ‘Attack’. Hmmm. He’s decided to take 3 days to go campaigning some 9,000km away in France’s La Réunion (ave. temp. 25°C). Maybe it won’t just be the weather which will cool a bit when he returns.

Fillon’s continuing attacks on the press – saying they were trying to ‘lynch’ him or to ‘assassinate [him] politically’ – are being seen as part of a populist fightback. Historian, Christian Delporte describes these tactics as those of a Sarkozy or the Front National.

Fillon’s defence seems to be getting little traction amongst the voters. An Odoxa poll for France Info taken 4 days post-press conference found 79% of the French (i) ‘unconvinced’ by Fillon at his press conference (up from 65% just the day after) (ii) 74% having a ‘bad opinion’ of Fillon and (iii) 70% wanting Fillon replaced by someone else (preferably Juppé).

An exclusive from Journal de Dimanche (in French – out Sunday 12th) says that charges against both M. et Mme Fillon are imminent and may be brought this week. Thank you and Good Night?

Macron again – ‘not looking to be a Christlike preacher‘ 

The link has a pic worth several hundred words.

We know virtually no more about Macron’s programme (‘Lack of preparation or strategy?’ asks public radio news station France Info (in French). But En Marche (not Macron’s ‘party’ it is emphasised, but a ‘movement’) has started to talk about their candidates for the subsequent legislative elections: half of them will have never before stood as MPs.

Yet the continuing absence of Macron’s political programme is (say several newspaper commentators ever more loudly) causing question marks everywhere, and is now a new theme of the Election. (Not much else to be discerned by way of themes.) Once the programme is revealed will Macron continue to be able to draw votes from left and right quite so easily? Remember it’s his support that’s seen as being perhaps the least lacking in solidity and intent, come what may, to vote for their candidate.

Macron now spends much of his time attacking Le Pen (and vice versa). It’s in each of their interests to try to avoid a traditional left-right clash. Hence Macron calls on the ‘progressives’ to fight the ‘conservatives’; while Le Pen contrasts those who are in favour of ‘globalisation’ with the ‘patriots’.

If Macron is still walking on water, by contrast …

Hamon is treading water 

… building a campaign team, finding a trendy Paris HQ (with posters of Obama and Muhamad Ali on the walls) and taking into his political employ uber-trendy (ie few have read his uber-weighty book) economist, Piketty, The-Man-Who-Wasn’t-Allowed-To-Do-Much-Work-For-Corbyn.

Out on the streets 

This is a read from The Guardian that’s strongly recommended for an understanding of the state of the streets of the northern Paris suburbs. Below is a fine example of the ratcheting up of tension in our quiet western Paris town, as with 9 other local towns where 35,000 copies of this glossy rag are distributed monthly. 

The choice headlines above allow you to understand the editorial line: Flare-up of violence (pl) in St Germain; police station attacked by 11 hooded thugs; vigorous arrest…; police officer hit …; threats with a knife.

Polls update

There have been 6 polls since Fillon’s Press Conf (3 started polling that very day). Le Pen at 25.5%, Macron 21% (with one high outlier), Fillon 18% and Hamon 15.5%. Macron (by a far larger margin) or Fillon would both beat Le Pen in Round 2.

BUT one poll has Fillon ‘only’ beating Le Pen by 56% – 44%. [See p. 24 of the details of the poll, where only the youngest (18-24) and over 65s would favour Fillon over Le Pen. All other age groups are Le Penists. Most men support Le Pen] I keep repeating it: Fillon in the run-off could very well result in a President Le Pen.

Le Pen, incidentally, is already providing plenty of material for Le Monde’s factcheckers to get their teeth into. On France 2 TV channel she articulated a number of exaggerations/lies/false rumours about immigrants, including repeating Kelly Anne Conway’s lie about Obama having had a ban on Iraqi immigrants.

She is following ever more closely in Trump’s footsteps.

Yet, finally, in the light of possible charges against Fillon, we will perhaps (afore long) have to re-examine what we know of That Nice Old Alain Juppé (and others too I’m afraid).

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