Out on the Streets
Our normally tranquil little town has seen an outbreak of militant flyering on the municipal noticeboard designed for so-called ‘political expression’.
‘In the Name of the People’ Le Pen will ‘Sort Out France’.
In Paris, ersatz FN-Lite is just as opposed to Macron as is The Real FN
Elsewhere in Paris there’s a different form of ‘political expression’.
It’s literally Out On The Streets … stamped ON quite a lot of pavements.
#Macrongate: a hashtag of choice for rage-venters of all political parties (and none). Blogger’s Health Warning: Going there can seriously damage your mental equilibrium.
‘Wake-up’ bellows Le Figaro
And taking account of the average age of their readers they may need a very loud shout.
Panic in the air. Conservative Le Figaro has awakened from its slumber with a start: lèse-(nearly)-majesté is in the air. Their man, a former Prime Minister, The Nearly President, is now scrapping for 3rd place against someone way more frightening than Macron.
Hence the perhaps somewhat overkill Project Fear of today’s ‘broadsheet’. Front page lead: ‘Mélenchon – The crazy project of the French Chavez’. Further headlines inside are: ‘A devastating project for France’ plus ‘Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s unprecedented crippling fiscal sledgehammer’ plus ‘Mélenchon’s programme – a social big bang from another era’ plus ‘Mélenchon wants to smash ‘liberal’ Europe to pieces’ plus ‘Mélenchon, a €270 billion project’ plus ‘Castro, Chavez … Mélenchon, the apostle of revolutionary dictators’.
AND, to round it all off, a Figaro editorial entitled ‘Maximilien Ilitch Mélenchon’ starting: ‘In Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s personal Panthéon [the resting place of most of The Great of France] some unattractive individuals have pride of place, going from Maximilien Robespierre to Hugo Chavez, including of course Vladimir Ilyitch Ulianov, known as Lenin, and Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, known as Trotsky. Never forget, of course, Fidel Castro … [Mélenchon] is certainly eloquent and talented, but it’s rather dismaying to find a man with such a crassly demagogic programme etc etc …’
Le Figaro, in common with the rest of the press, is so worried they’ve publicised an interview President Hollande has given to Le Point magazine. ‘This campaign smells bad’ Hollande is quoted as saying in private, fearing a Mélenchon-Le Pen run off, although ‘trusting the intelligence of the French’. He goes on ‘There is a danger, when faced with simplifications and falsifications, that one looks at the theatre of the oratory rather than the content of what’s being said.’
The President still avoids expressing any personal preference (discernible sighs of relief from the Macron camp). The only hint given is a negative one, saying he hopes to have ‘un successeur‘ and not ‘une successeur‘ … and then says he doesn’t want to be unpleasant towards Mme Arthaud. An ex cathedra Presidential pronouncement is promised after Round 1.
The Left and the Hard Left
Mélenchon and Hamon initially agreed a ‘mutual non-aggression pact’. Poor naive Hamon, he stuck scrupulously to the rules. For most of February Hamon polled 15%+ (at least 5 points ahead of Mélenchon). In all that time he never put Mélenchon under pressure painting him as the man who would ensure the Left’s non-representation in the 2nd Round. Hamon kept endlessly negotiating the Green withdrawal and then charmingly inviting Mélenchon to reflect.
Now it’s Mélenchon’s spokesperson who says: ‘If [Hamon’s] maintaining his candidacy prevents Jean-Luc Mélenchon getting through to the 2nd Round, I think Benoît will find that difficult to live with … I say to him ‘Benoît, don’t be an obstacle to the popular will which is rising up.”
Some vigorous All Against Mélenchon quotes in centre-left l’Obs magazine (in French) and here (also in l’Obs in French) are a couple of serious (Macron-supporting) economists describing Mélenchon’s first 100 days.
And The Response. FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED Mélenchonian words in his blog ‘Fury is back‘. He tries to persuade the reader that his victory does not necessarily mean ‘the arrival of a nuclear winter, plagues of frogs, Red Army tanks and the disembarkation of Venezuelans’. He also introduces you to Fiskal Kombat, the video game where you try to collect €279 billion (Mélenchon’s budget) by catching and shaking down the likes of Lagarde (IMF), Sarkozy, Macron and Fillon.
Can it be too late for an April Fool?
Le Canard Enchainé says Mr Fillon has got himself involved in yet another slight oversight. It claims that a certain François Fillon has been still registered as living at Hôtel Matignon, 57 rue de Varenne, Paris – aka the official residence of the Prime Minister of France. Yet, according to most public records, it would appear that – when no longer Prime Minister following President Sarkozy’s defeat in 2012 – said M. Fillon would surely have changed residence and should thereafter have re-registered at his new address. Might he be disqualified from standing as Presidential candidate since he could (should?) be struck off the Electoral Register? Unlikely … but another fun episode in the apparently endless series ‘Believing Mr Fillon’.
The Hard Right’s as hard as ever
Another broken promise. I swore you’d never more hear again of the ‘estimable’ Mr Guaino: erstwhile wannabe President, Sarkozy Hard-Right-Speechwriter and still a local MP. He distinguished himself by garnering for himself the supporting signatures of no less than 33 people (ie 467 short of requirements) who were willing to be seen to have publicly supported the idea of him becoming a Presidential Candidate … a Candidate whom more than 99% of the voters would then not have supported.
I failed to notice, though, that one of those 33 was none other than Mme Le Pen herself. Guaino had been clearly much touched by this act of civic responsibility. In thanking Le Pen for her parrainage, he went on ‘It’s no insult to be described as a patriot by her’.
And now he’s been able to repay the compliment. Following Le Pen’s bit of weekend Responsibility-Denial (regarding France’s role in rounding up and deporting French Jews to Auschwitz) in trundled Guaino. ‘Her position’s the same as mine, which is the same as [de Gaulle, Mitterand] and the French Republic up until Jacques Chirac’s speech … I maintain what I’ve said in the past … I deny France’s responsibility in this matter.’
Gérard Courtois (my favourite editorialist)
‘Place your bets, everything’s possible.’
Opinion Polls (April 12 – but two-thirds of both polls were polled pre-weekend)
OpinionWay daily tracker: Le Pen 24% (N/C), Macron 23% (N/C), Fillon 20% (+1), Mélenchon (18% (N/C), Hamon 8% (-1 … if he fails to get 5% the Socialist Party gets no election expenses reimbursed).
Ifop-Fiducial daily tracker: Le Pen 23.5% (-0.5%), Macron 22.5% (-0.5%), Fillon 19% (N/C), Mélenchon 18.5% (N/C), Hamon 8.5% (N/C)
M. Jean-Luc Mélenchon: An Apology
It’s all very well me complaining about aged readers who might need a loud shout. But it’s only today that I realise I have not accorded M. Mélenchon his accented first ‘é ‘. My apologies to him. For past posts he will remain unaccented. Will try harder.
Posts, Timing of
Henceforward they’ll arrive as and when.