Day 51 – Miscellany, hotchpotch, ragbag

Maitres Poursuivre en Justice, Le Saisir et Courir …

… have sprung into action:

  • lawyers warned that any suggestion that Macron, when Minister, was involved in the decision about a 2016 Las Vegas French HiTech jolly (currently investigated by the French financial authorities for favouritism) would result in ‘m Learned Friend …
  • Fillon had asked for his Day Before The Judges to be advanced 24 hours, so his hearing could happen without a media scrum, with his lawyer commenting [not just hot air] that ‘Despite the strong winds blowing in [Fillon’s] face, he remains upright in the tempest.’ He has now been ‘charged’ (mise en examen) with a host of financial offences, and so (for the first time) has formal access under the French legal system to the statements by 3rd parties setting out what he is alleged to have done. (Mme Fillon has her Day in the Judges’ Room on 28 March.) This will be the 1st time in France’s Fifth Republic a major Presidential candidate will put themselves forward while charged. Innocent until proved guilty – and he still insists he will ultimately be found innocent of all charges.

A Tale of Two Editorials

  • Editorial 1: ‘The Trap’ in conservative Le Figaro (the day before Fillon was charged). ‘The closer we are to the first round, the more suspect becomes Macron’s approach. Here is a man who owes his career and his renown to Hollande and who curiously promises us a change of approach if elected … but to do what? … The closer we are to the first round, the more Le Pen’s plans become disquieting … and [if she carries out her plans] France will be led inevitably into the second division. The closer we are to the first round, the more it appears that Fillon’s programme is the only one with which to avoid this relegation. He wants to do what the English (sic), Germans, Canadians and all those who have refused to allow their country to be simply a frightened spectator of globalisation have done … With Macron and Le Pen, the Socialist Party and the FN have just been given a makeover. No-one is obliged to fall into the trap.’
  • Editorial 2. ‘Fillon-Le Pen:same contempt for the law’ in centre-left Le Monde the day after Fillon was charged. ‘When you have made cynicism your standard behaviour, it’s important to keep doing it steadily. Fillon demonstrates that day after day. Asked … about his luxury suits bought for him by an obliging friend, he replied ‘So what?’ Charged yesterday [with multiple financial trangressions] his campaign team hammered home one message only: it’s a ‘non-event’ … In terms of hypocrisy [Fillon] is seriously challenged by [Le Pen] who can’t make enough sonorous remarks criticising the ‘system’, denouncing the ‘elites’ who laugh at the people, and chanting the same old Poujadiste tune ‘They’re all rotten’. … Here then are two of the main candidates for the Presidential Election under serious suspicion: one of personal enrichment, the other of multiple transgressions of the law. … Two possible Presidents … who shamelessly call upon the verdict of the electors so as more easily to push aside the judgement of the magistrates. Here we have a campaign poisoned definitively and the Presidential debate killed by the scandals.’

Opinion polls 

  • Le Pen (26%) just ahead of Macron (25%+), with Macron’s voters marginally more certain of voting for him than before – but still only around 50% … Macron may gain some credibility from being received by Merkel in Germany yesterday (2 months after Fillon was there) – some German commentators (deeply worried by the rise of Le Pen) evidently see him as the ideal Goldilocksian candidate: not too Socialist, not too liberal, just an ideal European
  • Fillon  never less than 6 points behind Macron (c 19%) – his supporters hope the 20 March TV debate may resurrect him (sic) … but that may be balanced by yesterday’s news that ClothesGate has been added to the lengthening list of issues now officially being investigated by the financial police
  • Hamon (13%+) ahead of Melenchon (11%) – will Valls refusal to endorse Hamon, condemning his desire to ‘corbyniser’ the Socialists, harm him? Not sure it will have any effect. Will Melenchon’s ‘March for the 6th Republic’ from Bastille to République tomorrow help him? Sure it won’t have any effect.
  • Tomorrow morning the Conseil constitutionel will publish the official validated list of Presidential candidates
  • Macron beats Le Pen in Round 2 by polling over 60%
  • Is it inevitable that with no serious campaign there’s stasis in the polling? Does this absence of campaign mean that opinion poll numbers are still less reliable than usual? Will the TV debates indeed weigh more heavily than usual in determining the outcome of the 1st round? It was TV that affected the outcome of the Right’s Primary, and that resulted in a major boost in Hamon’s ratings (ok – it only boosted him from 5th to 4th). But there certainly will be some people who ‘perform’ well on show. Including, I have no hesitation in saying, Le Pen … [she still has her clowns behind her who show the FN in its true light] [in French but you will understand the film of the FN Vice-President telling France 2 journalists to ‘Fuck off’ inside the European Parliament while being protected by his security detail.]

An(other) Apology

Attentive readers could have remarked (Yes. Once again.) that while Your Humble Scribe, on occasions, happens upon a not-entirely-infelicitous turn of phrase, there is a continuing difficulty in his being able to count downwards in threes from a modest double-digit number. The most recent error [the consequence of an initial idea of scribbling some instant thoughts on Street Action but then feeling that ClothesPurchasingGate deserved more attention] has been duly corrected.

Next scribblings

Because of the possible importance of Monday night’s TV debate (NB only the leading 5 candidates will take part, much to the anger of the ‘also rans’) I will delay The Next Post until 21st March (probably Day 47?) … to which day Dear Reader you will have to contain your ‘satiable curtiosity’ and your ‘ever so many questions’.

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