Day 80 – Attacks to right of them, Attacks to left of them

Macron 

Interviewed by a private Algerian TV station (while there this week), Macron attacked (in French) the past: ‘Colonisation is part of French history. It’s a crime, it’s a crime against humanity’ [thus ‘qualifying’ what he’d said in October about Algerian colonisation’s ‘positive’ aspects]. Fillon instantly counter-attacked: ‘This detestation of our history, this permanent repentance is unworthy of a Presidential Candidate’.

The FN were still more apoplectic. Marion Le Pen (The Niece) tweeted ‘Macron, candidate of élites, banks, media … and repentance.’

Macron is today under major attack by the LGBT community following an extraordinary interview with centre-left weekly l’Obs. He described the ‘humiliation’ of the opponents of gay marriage as a ‘fundamental error’ of Hollande’s term of office. Last night he qualified his remarks, saying he supported gay marriage, but it was the means of the law’s introduction to which he had objected.

As l’Obs comments, Macron has this week uniquely succeeded in being attacked by the Right, the Extreme Right and the LGBT community.

And in another possible U(ish)-turn, Macron may be about to qualify his previous cannabis ‘de-criminalisation for small amounts’ proposal.

Le Pen

She (and her FN chums) are under potential attack by the French financial authorities. They’ve been studying (for 2 years) possibly illegal employment of 20 Euro-Parliament-assistants. But (reports weekly magazine Marianne (in French)) the police have now been looking for 2 months at papers passed over by Europe’s Fraud Office dealing with allegedly illegal employment from 2010-2014 involving c. €1,000,000. Le Pen sent Marianne an SMS warning them ‘to be very careful with this kind of defamatory assertion’.

Le Pen may also be having difficulties in finding the 500 signatories for her nomination papers (reports Le Monde). The problem may be caused by Shy (?) Signatories, under new rules, having to send their nomination direct to the Constitutional Council.

Socialist Hamon/Hard Left Melenchon 

Speaking to 2,500 in Strasbourg, Melenchon offered to meet Hamon and the Green candidate at the end of next week cos he’s busy till then. He said there should be a single common Left candidate. Who? Why, himself Melenchon, of course.

Suddenly, a petition from 3 Communist MPs (+ Assorted Apparatchiks) calls for a United Left Candidate. Could Melenchon be facing serious attack? The CP might step back from supporting Melenchon but he’ll hang in there. Like Gorgeous George Galloway he’s a rousing speaker, obsessively self-centred, and above all attacks everything to do with his former Socialist Party, arch-betrayers of working people. ‘No Surrender’ is the Melenchon Mantra: he talks of the impossibility of governing by mixing together ‘people who want to turn the page’ [ie Melenchon] ‘with those who are responsible for what’s on the page’.

89% of Green ‘voters’ emailed their support for a Hamon-Green rapprochement. So the Green candidate (as previously forecast) will almost certainly withdraw, so taking Hamon’s support a bit closer to Fillon’s.

Today’s Odoxa poll (in French) says 60% of left voters want a single Left candidate, with 44% of them wanting Melenchon to withdraw (not sure he’s a France Info listener).

What’s Hamon doing other than talking to fellow politicians? He’s been meeting voters in their workplaces, especially in parts of the country where people see themselves as forgotten by Paris. He has only one major rally planned for the whole campaign. His Primary Election slogan ‘Make France’s heart beat’ will soon be put aside for a new theme.

Fillon

Still under attack from some Républicain MPs, Fillon soldiers on regardless. He says: ‘If there’d been a serious Plan B I would not have stayed. I would have seen it as my duty to allow another with more chance than me to win the Presidential Election… But there is no Plan B.’ [To make his day complete, Fillon’s press spokesman is (says Canard Enchainé) now under investigation for tax fraud.]

Fillon was a supplicant for lunch with Sarkozy. Fillon desperately needs to shore up right- wing voters, wavering between him and Le Pen. So (writes Goar in Le Monde) Fillon’s campaign is more ‘Sarkozyised’. Fressoz (also Le Monde) wrote of Don Sarkozy, the man in the shadows bringing unity to the troubled family of the Right.

Instantly, Law ‘n Order became the subject. Fillon announced a new policy (previously Sarkozy’s) calling for minors to be tried as adults  ‘to remedy the system’s clemency’. But Le Monde‘s fact-checkers say Fillon’s proposal (if under-18s become subject to adult law) seems contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Perhaps it’s no more than dog-whistle political grandstanding (Paris suburbs continuing troubles? Sarkozy’s advice?) since, today, children aged 13 can be sent to prison in France.

Fillon is still ‘bogged down’ (englué is the word in every newspaper) by his ‘judicial problems’.The investigative financial authorities stated publicly on 16 Feb. they were not dropping the investigation because what’s been gathered ‘does not allow us today to envisage shelving the procedure’.

Now the investigators can either charge Fillon, going direct to trial, or pass the matter to an investigating judge. What if there’s no decision before Fillon becomes President? Well, the matter is suspended until Fillon stops being President, when it re-commences. Good enough for Chirac and Sarkozy, so why not Fillon too?  Even if charged, Fillon seems to have decided ‘What the hell’. He told Le Figaro yesterday that he placed himself in the hands of the ‘sole judgement of universal suffrage’.

Watch out for more, much more, Fillonisms on Law ‘n Order, Immigration, Culture ‘n Identity.

Opinion Polls

OpinionWay and Ifop-Fiducial produce daily polls. Le Pen is firm at 26%; Macron’s polling a point ahead of Fillon (so making the run-off). But to the question ‘Who will win the 2nd round?’ the Don’t Knows are now neck and neck with Macron. Is that good for Le Pen?

Those 2 polls are done with the usual ‘sample’ of c. 1500 voters, adding a new 500 voters each day. Ipsos-Sopra has been following nearly 16,000 people for 11 months. They also show Le Pen firm at 26% but with Macron at 23% and Fillon at 18.5%. Macron’s support is seen (there as everywhere) as being flaky. He’s the ‘definite choice’ of only a third of his voters; Le Pen’s voters are 74% certain to vote for her.

The analysis of Fillon’s vote by Ipsos is that Fillon’s fall is largely due to a voters’ decision to stay at home, from which Macron has benefited – ‘but the match is far from over’.

Ipsos also points out that Le Pen is the candidate that ‘worries’ people the most, with Fillon not far behind. If people are looking for a ‘change’ candidate, Le Pen is ahead of the others, with Fillon seen as least likely to provide ‘change’. Fillon is, by far, the least ‘honest’ and least likely to ‘understand the problems of people like us’.

Fillon’s 1st round elimination, as the Right’s candidate, would be a first under the 5th Republic. Since 1965, the Right has been in every 2nd round run-off, with ‘neo-Gaullist’ candidates 7 times out of 9.

The French love Our Royals

Something to brighten the heart in these dark days … and even I was a bit surprised (though clearly I shouldn’t be) to read some Trump Royal Tweets.

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