Day 23 – Perm any 2 from 4? Still looks like Macron v Le Pen.

Out on the Streets

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What, will the line stretch out to th’ crack of doom? Countdown to a nightmare. ‘Apologies’ to M. Asselineau for thinking more about getting a better shot of Fillon graffiti [un vol not une volonté] than A’s mug. Paris has their municipal noticeboards well and truly filled; in our ville paisible … still nothing to look at.
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For the voter who likes something to get their eyes and teeth into. Guaranteed: no snappy slogans.
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Is this a rueful ‘If only’ expression I see before me? It’s sad when you’re so far down that people can’t even be bothered defacing your poster
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Fillonistes have been hard at work: Macron in the foreground, Hollande at the back. The slogan: 5 more years?

This is what globalisation’s all about

Christian Democrat, Arch-Austerity-Advocate, German Finance Minister, Schauble, told Der Spiegel (11 April) that, if French, he ‘would probably vote Macron’.

‘Molière clause’ (nothing to do with the ‘sanity clause‘)

Yes it’s for real. First the town of Angoulême adopted it, then the Auvergnes-Rhône-Alpes Region adopted it.

‘It’ is La clause de la langue française. To wit, a clause inserted in public works contracts requiring the use of the French language on building sites; however, if any employee doesn’t speak French, then the employer must employ an ‘approved’ translator on site. Intended to reduce the number of ‘seconded EU workers’, it is opposed by both the Communist CGT trade union and the employers’ federation (MEDEF) as discriminatory.

While Fillon currently refuses to comment on his wife’s employment arrangements, he’s very happy to announce he ‘supports the Molière clause as a means of sending a strong message to the European Union … about social dumping’.

‘If Bob Marley were alive he might have supported François Fillon’ 

Wait till the ad disappears, and then watch 79 seconds of bad joke.

Want to get seriously depressed?

Take a look at this Long Read (FT – possibly behind paywall – sorry) by Anne-Sylvaine Chassany: ‘The French town that shows how Marine Le Pen could win’.

It’s all about Béziers, between Montpellier and Toulouse, a town of 75,000 – formerly vibrant economically – until the end of its wine industry in the 1970’s. Current adult unemployment 20%, with some of France’s widest income inequalities. Chassany writes: ‘Béziers is a symbol of “peripheral France”, a term coined by French geographer Christophe Guilluy to describe struggling industrial bastions, suburbs and rural areas that feel abandoned by the central government and Paris establishment. In these disillusioned territories, a right-wing counter-revolution is under way, rooted in angst over French identity.’

Béziers is now presided over by hard-right, far right Mayor, Robert Ménard (journalist, founder of Reporters sans Frontières, ex-Trot). It was taken, in 2014, from the Républicains who’d been in power there for 19 years. Fighting as an independent, but with Front National members on his list of candidates, Ménard became Mayor. He now ‘wants the FN to use Béziers as its template for presidential success’.

Jérôme Jaffré (professor at Sciences Po Cevipof): ‘If [Le Pen] qualifies for the presidential runoff … she will signal she want to work with the [Républicains] … The question of whether or not to unite the French right is no longer a theoretical one for the Front National’. Chassany continues: ‘As in Béziers … such a scenario could split the Republicans between senior figures still viewing the FN as toxic and others eager to govern.’

Another item I hope you can access is a film made by Chassany for the FT (‘The town that turned to Le Pen‘) about how working-class Henin-Beaumont in north-east France (Socialist for 70 years) became an FN redoubt in 2014.

Matters Judicial

French police have asked the European Parliament to lift Le Pen’s immunity so she can be questioned about FakeJobsGate. She called that ‘normal … classic procedure’.

Opinion polls (Elabe/Harris totally new; Ifop/OpinionWay 2/3 new)

Elabe (11/12 April) Round 1 poll:

  • Macron (23.5%), Le Pen (22.5%), Fillon (20%), Mélenchon (18.5%)
  • 89% of Le Pen voters are sure they will vote for her in Round 1
  • c. 70% of Macron/Fillon voters and c. 60% of Mélenchon voters are sure of their respective choices

Elabe‘s Round 2 poll:

  • the level of people refusing to say how they will vote in Round 2 is ‘very high’ in all 6 configurations, anywhere between 19% – 35% depending on those involved – which makes all these Round 2 predictions deeply uncertain
  • Macron beats each of Le Pen (35%), Fillon (35%) and Mélenchon (46%)
  • Le Pen loses to each of Macron, Fillon and Mélenchon
  • Mélenchon beats Le Pen (37%) and Fillon (41%), but not Macron
  • Fillon beats Le Pen (42%), but not Macron or Mélenchon

BEWARE DIFFERENTIAL ABSTENTION ! (see Day 35).

  • Polled on a Fillon-Le Pen run-off 35% (!!!) refused to say how they would vote.
  • Polled on a Macron-Mélenchon run-off 26% (!) refused to say how they would vote.

Harris Interactive Indeed (11-13 April) Round 1 poll:

  • Macron (24%), Le Pen (22%), Fillon (20%), Mélenchon (19%)

Harris Interactive Indeed Round 2 poll:

  • Macron beats each of Le Pen (33%), Fillon (30%) and Mélenchon (42%)
  • Le Pen loses to each of Macron, Fillon and Mélenchon
  • Mélenchon beats Le Pen (36%), but not Macron
  • Fillon beats Le Pen (42%), but not Macron
  • Bit of an odd business: Harris didn’t poll a hypothetical Mélenchon v Fillon 2nd round; plus no statement about levels of non-answer

Ifop-Fiducial: Le Pen (23.5%), Macron (22.5%), Fillon (19%), Mélenchon (19%)

OpinionWay: Le Pen (24%), Macron (23%), Fillon (20%), Mélenchon (17%)

Yer pays yer money ‘n yer takes yer choice.

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