Day 57 – Six weeks to Round One … still disappointingly vacuous

Such ‘charming’ people running Fillon’s campaign 

Fillon’s team tweeted Friday midday: ‘The truth about Macron’s galaxy [of supporters]’.

The cartoon they’d used had all the delicate stench of Thirties anti-semitic propaganda. Macron wearing a 19th century banker’s top hat, holding a Red sickle (geddit? he’s a commie fellow-traveller) to be used as his rich man’s cigar-cutter and with an extraordinarily strangely bulboid nose … a mix of Pinocchio and Boz’s Fagin. Yes really.

Was this actually a helpful PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING TO BANKERS: To those thinking of transferring Pariswards from Canary Wharf?  Was this a shout-out that if you worked for a bank called ‘Rothschild’ there could be damaging long-term physiognomic effects?

As for Macron’s ‘galaxy’ of supporters? I have previously posted about how some of this campaign has been Back to the Future-ish. Yet surely trying to give life to the tired old slogan Rouges (plus Socialistes et Hollandistes) Sous Les Lits is definitely Lost in Translation.

Macron’s team tweeted a vigorous rebuttal. By tea-time the original tweet had vanished. Deleted. Without comment – blandly saying it was to ‘avoid all unnecessary argument’. The gutter Macron cartoon was replaced by Macron’s fizzog. PLEASE look at the pix, tho’ it’s in French, in L’Obs. It stinks something awful. The shape of vile bile to come?

Finally, Friday night, the Républicains’ Secretary-General presented his ‘apologies’ for the Macron caricature, which ‘could have been misconstrued’ (sic). He went on to remind us of the ‘total commitment of [their] movement to defend the values of the Republic’ (without comment).

D. Bowie and F. Fillon

Not such an unlikely pairing: following Fillon’s closing statement (Thursday in Besançon) that ‘During the [Right’s] Primary Election I was the candidate for national recovery. I am still that, but I have become the rebel that the system will not stop’. At which point #RebelleComme Fillon sprang to life. Because there’s this and there’s also this.

‘Mr  Fillon’s troubles have turned an election that was difficult for the centre-right to lose into one that will be difficult to win … hopes of defeating Ms Le Pen are increasingly turning instead to a young centrist … Macron. And he, against all the unwritten rules of French politics, has never run for election to any office before” (ran The Economist‘s 10th March stunningly incisive analysis. Where do they get it from? Brilliantly incisive.).

Opinion polls (plus some real stuff)

  • Macron and Le Pen arepolling almost level at 26% for the 1st round – with Le Pen’s voters still far more certain to vote for her (80%) than Macron’s to vote for him (50%)
  • Fillon 20%ish … back from the dead. But he was 30% last November post-Primary
  • Hamon 14% / Melenchon 11% – still virtually no attention paid to either campaign. Le Monde led with: ‘Hamon’s project to relaunch Europe’: a democratic Assembly for the Eurozone, including budget-determining rights and a minimum tax rate for companies so ‘more Europe not less’. He had a 2 page interview inside: but … phew. ‘Twas uninspiringly heavy stuff. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • Macron polled to defeat Le Pen decisively in Round 2 getting over 60%.

OpinionWay poll shows employment, social protection (health/pensions) and purchasing power (in that order) continue as the main concerns of half those polled; while a third see the struggle against terrorism/law ‘n order/immigration as the issues that most count with them for the 1st round. Fingers crossed for continuing peace and quiet. Answering the question ‘Who’s done best over the last 7 days?’ 46% said Macron. 19% said Le Pen and 8% said Fillon (lower even than Hamon’s 10%).

The Cevipof poll forecasts (despite 80% ‘interest’ level) a dramatically high potential abstention level: an unheard-of-for-Presidential-Elections 32% say they will not vote. Since 1974 it’s always been c. 20%. The main reason? ‘No candidate seems convincing’.

The incessant drumbeat of only one vacant place in Round 2 (Le Pen a knock-down cert) means that Hamon/Melenchon are both killed by the vote utile principle. You cannot risk your 2nd least-worst candidate failing to get to Round 2, so you have one choice. Vote utile. Vote Macron in Round 1 … and the Left (says Le Monde) is relegated to Division 2.

To make things worse for Hamon, his painfully slow attempts to rally the whole Socialist Party to support him will only have contributed to the Socialists (just as with the Right) fissuring to the point of implosion. Not sure the pieces can, or should, ever be put back together again. But since Macron’s made it clear he doesn’t want a giant influx of Escaping Socialists in En Marche [he said he would only accept popular Socialist Defence Minister Le Drian (a seriously important man in Brittany] others will have to suck it up.

And then there were SEVEN

Le Pen has her 500 ‘signatures’ to allow her to stand as Presidential candidate. And so has a VERY strange souverainiste Europhobe ultra-rightist called Asselineau (for those with time here’s Wikipedia in English or a longer one in French. And, if you’ve even more time, do correct the anglophone one which incorrectly states there’s no French one).

Nominations-wise, out ahead by a street is Fillon with 2,111. But to show that after all there’s some real justice in the world (showing these signature nominations are hard-won, not dished out willy-nilly) Sarko’s seriously hard-right speechwriter/adviser for 5 years, M. Guaino (currently an MP) has a grand total of 12 (yes TWELVE) signatures.

The New Anticapitalist Party (ex-Revolutionary Communist League – LCR) still hope their man Poutou will be able to get his 500 … but he’s not even half way there. At the 2007 Presidential Election an intelligent, witty, youthful LCR postman, Besancenot, got 1.5 million votes in the 1st round. Yes, for a Trot. For those with an enormous amount of time here’s a Trot Tract (the deathless prose of which cannot have been enjoyed for decades) explaining all. Those learning French may (?) enjoy broadening their vocabulary.

Today, Melenchon said he’d got his 500 signatures. And so there were EIGHT.

Macron (or maybe Le Pen?)

Being elected President is necessary, but a long way from being sufficient. Now is the time (Presidential Decision Day 8 weeks tomorrow) for those with serious ambitions to consider the Parliamentary Elections of 11 and 18 June.[In the coming days I will try to add some possibly helpful information on the respective roles/powers of President/Parliament.]

En Marche starts with no money and no MPs. There may be quite a lot of members of that Movement/Party but no way of verifying any facts. Last September, 80K members were claimed, growing to 88K in October (both per Wikipedia); while Thursday’s Le Monde wrote that 214K was the current En Marche membership figure.

Macron says his objective is an absolute majority in Parliament. As part of this effort, he has established his ‘Contract with the Nation’. He said that in order to ‘Revive the spirit of French conquest [have I mistranslated Pour renouer avec l’esprit de conquête français?] I want to enter into a contract with the Nation, a contract of rights, duties and responsibilities.’

The rules for selecting En Marche candidates are that:

  • 50%+ of the candidates must never have stood for Parliament before (mostly to be from ‘civil society’) and women are to be given an equal chance in ‘favourable constituencies’- altogether, thus far, 13K candidatures have been received
  • each candidate (from across the political spectrum) will have to sign a ‘moral contract’ to support 6 flaccid principles [the previous ‘sign on the line’ undertaking by every En Marche candidate for MP  that they formally agree to vote for 12 reforms has been dropped – it’s unconstitutional]: these are in the ‘Contract’; those principles include ‘modernising our economy’, ‘reinforcing the nation’s security’, bringing about ‘democratic renewal’ and ‘defending the interests of France internationally’. Difficult stuff huh? Also required: a clean police record. Anyone pondering throwing their hat in the large ring and helping M. Macron get his majority Should Apply Here
  • it appears that, because of lack of money, En Marche does not envisage paying for what Le Monde describes as the campaigns of its candidates; no idea what that means – candidates will have to fund their own campaigns? Loadsa money back if you get 5% of the vote: a breeze.

The endlessly continuing non-debate about the Real Presidential Issues seems to continue to protect Macron from any detailed scrutiny. Just as Hamon /Melenchon can legitimately complain about their inability to get their issues discussed, so Macron must be delighted that he continues serenely to be able to avoid the least analysis of his programme.

But Hamon’s TV remark (Thursday) that Macron would deliver ‘an ungovernable France’, with support ranging from ex-Communist Hué to right-wing laissez-faireist Madelin,  … which would be a ‘stepping-stone for the Front National’ was utterly crass and helped the downward spiral of bile.

Out on the Streets

That excitement is for the morrow.

3 thoughts on “Day 57 – Six weeks to Round One … still disappointingly vacuous

  1. An excellent ‘read it out loud’ for our journey back from the fairytale white slopes and dreams of youthful sporting prowess on two planks of not-wood-these-days. It has helped our reinsertion into serious daily existence. Thanks for the wit and loads of enlightening information. X Lindsay

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Richard for bringing humour to an utterly depressing “state of the nation” … what is the word… debate..? To merit the description of debate there needs to be substance… shum mishtake, Ed..?
    Keep that pen pluming… we love it outre manche


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