Day 10 – Blue is the colour of my …

… candidates’ posters

Le Figaro has produced an enjoyable analysis of the Round 2 posters (non-francophones will enjoy the pictures … be patient to get past some annoying ads). They will soon adorn the final two municipal notice boards; the other 9 have been consigned to back rooms, awaiting the nomination of candidates for June’s Parliamentary Elections. Here are the final two – how did they decide who was to be N° 2 and who N° 3? Former Round 1 posters (both, like so many of us, having seen better days – it’s been a tough few weeks) are still on display at our local Municipal Notice Board Display.

20170426_205308

Nothing on this issue of ‘Who’s on the Left?’ from the Conseil constitutionnel – they drew lots for the Round 1 Order of Candidates. The Conseil has actually been calculating the Definitive Final Votes of all candidates in Round 1. In the end, some ‘irregularities’ in certain polling stations were identified. This has, therefore, resulted in them annulling 4,691 votes (as compared to 2012 when 2,541 votes were finally deemed unacceptable).

Back to Poster Exegesis. Lots of blue all over the Round 2 posters indicates security and calm. Macron (blue suit, blue shirt, blue tie, blue background) is on his own this time, not in a crowd, making him more statesmanlike. His slogan Ensemble, la France! would seem to be ideal for voters from the Right: Chirac chose La France ensemble (1988) and La France en grand, la France ensemble (2002), and Sarkozy went for Ensemble, tout devient possible (2007).

Le Pen (blue-suited) is in front of bookshelves, reminding Le Figaro of official photos of Mitterand and Sarkozy at the Elysée. As with Round 1, nothing as unpleasant as her poisonous name is allowed to sully the elegant image. Hands with interlaced fingers are strongly emphasised in the pic: she apparently thereby favours neither right nor left [really?]. Slogan Choisir la France reminds us of her ‘national preference’ programme.

The Great Speaker stays stum

Mélenchon continues to hide his voting intentions: those of us waiting for guidance wait in vain. There will be no ex cathedra pronouncement: his vote is, and remains, a private matter. Once his Party has collated the votes of their members then there will be a formal position of the Insoumises (perhaps tomorrow) … but, it appears, M.Mélenchon does not much appreciate the fact that the French people have told yet another Party leader to dégage, get outa town.

Yes he’s right of course, in a sense: these days there is no need for those on high to tell those below how to vote once their favourite has left the race. But he was perfectly happy to tell everyone to vote for Chirac against Le Pen in 2002. Today is somehow different. Philipot (Le Pen’s guru) – congratulating Mélenchon on his principled silence -said he was ‘more courageous than Fillon’.

Perhaps, as Philipot said, it’s all down to this: ‘Do you think they [Mélenchon voters] want a total deregulation of the economy? Do you think they want to go any further in this banking and financial European Union?’

Mélenchon, at heart, is as power-hungry as the rest. The man of principle has the same foibles as the rest. He is thinking of the morrow and won’t do anything which might associate himself in any way with someone some of his supporters can’t abide.

Another politician who really ought to know better is Martine Aubry (Socialist Mayor of Lille – and big supporter of Hamon): she’s another who cannot bring herself to say ‘Vote Macron’ and blathers on about keeping Le Pen out of power. Fortunately, not all Socialist Mayors have been similarly affected: Hidalgo (Socialist Mayor of Paris and big supporter of Hamon) clearly says out loud ‘Vote Macron’.

Sarkozy Speaks

Sarkozy confirmed that he has, and remains, withdrawn from active politics. He described the qualification of Le Pen and the defeat of the Républicain candidate as a ‘political earthquake’. He said ‘In my view Marine Le Pen’s election, and the launch of her project, would have very serious consequences for our country and for the French’ so he would vote Macron without in any way supporting his programme.
Macron’s Whirlpool snafu (which matches his underwhelming Round 2 campaign)
A quick summary.
  • American multinational Whirlpool announces (January) closure of a plant
  • 300 jobs lost at the plant, plus another 300 jobs will go elsewhere
  • The work will be transferred to Whirlpool’s Polish operation
  • The factory’s in Amiens, Macron’s birthplace
  • A strike has been underway since the announcement
  • Macron announces he will visit the trade unions (not the strikers?)
  • Le Pen arrives out of the blue, gets lots of selfies in 10 minutes
  • Macron comes to Meet The Strikers … greeted with hostility and shouts of ‘Marine for President’

Ideal Le Pen material: globalisation; American mega-corporation; exporting jobs. Le Pen said: ‘Everyone knows which side Macron’s on. He’s on the side of the corporations. I’m on the workers’ side, here in the car park, not in restaurants in Amiens [Macron was then lunching with the union bosses – a possibly inept follow-up to his Sunday night meal with his mates post-result.]

For those wanting more background, this is a good BBC summary of the day.

Le Pen’s smart lunch-time publicity stunt got huge media coverage, although Macron had an apparently constructive final 40 minute discussion off-camera with the strikers.

Some questions:

  • who thought Macron should jump in to a major long-standing industrial dispute after three long days when his campaign had seemed becalmed and Le Pen’s alive?
  • why arrange to visit the unions but not plan to see striking workers too?
  • what sort of idiot is super-genius economist Attali (part of Macron’s central campaign team) who described the Whirlpool dispute on TV as an ‘anecdote’ (allegedly not (sic) intended to be pejorative)

Mélénchon’s right-hand man (Bompard) called this period between Rounds 1 and 2 ‘the world championship of indecency’ and the sequence where the 2 candidates visited the Whirlpool factory yesterday as ‘revolting’. describing Macron’s proposals as being ‘against the workers’ interests’

Macron continued his attacks against Le Pen: ‘Mme Le Pen’s project is … that of dividing France and that is a betrayal of France. France is neither the hatred of the other nor the rejection of the other. I will not permit the Front National to be made commonplace: it is a xenophobic Party.’

Le Pen looking strong

‘I want a calm, tranquil France which proudly affirms its political, constitutional, territorial heritage, built on a thousand years of wisdom, and I won’t hear of a young trader coming in and sweeping it all away … I want to bring together all patriots of the right and the left. Those who believe we must, at all costs, keep the French nation in all its individuality, its culture, its identity, its organisation.’

‘It is not impossible for Marine Le Pen to win but something radical would need to happen … She would need to change her policy about leaving the euro . . . or Macron would have to make some big mistakes … Huge complacency by the electorate could also do it.'(Reynié, political science professor, Sciences Po, Paris)

Le Pen’s campaign has been clever this week at reaping Mélenchon voters. She even addressed them directly on TV during a major interview and asked them whether they would vote for a man, Macron , who has said that ‘he intends to wage a social war’ and (as pointed out by Le Monde) she swapped her usual word for the enemy (‘system’) with one of Mélenchon’s favourite words ‘oligarchy’.

On social media there have been lots of clever communication dirty tricks appearing to highlight the similarities between the programmes of Le Pen and Mélenchon. Under the headline L’Avenir en commun (The common future – Mélenchon’s phrase) we now see C’est aussi avec Marine and a long list of alleged programme similarities. The FN says it’s nowt to do with them.

Surely this had to be fake news?

Today’s Marianne says that Laurence Parisot [boss of Ifop pollsters (I liked their polls so much I bought the company) – and former boss for 8 years of MEDEF, France’s employer’s organisation, UK’s CBI equivalent] is on the shortlist to be Macron’s PM. She’s fulfils both said-to-be-important criteria: female/not a politico. And is ‘available’

No sooner published than the Sécretaire-Général of En Marche, the truly boring MP and non-public-speaker, Ferrand, categorised the story as ‘unseemly and vain … We’re campaigning to serve France, others are thinking abut their careers’.

Parisot then denied the allegations. But too late. By then it was out … and running fast.

Parliamentary Elections

They will be held over 2 rounds on 11 and 18 June: they proceed in a special way in the 577 constituencies.

If anyone gets 50% of the votes cast in the 1st round, they are immediately elected provided they also polled 25%+ of the total electors on the Electoral Register.

Otherwise, the top 2 candidates from Round 1 automatically go through to the 2nd Round, as does anyone else who polled at least 12.5% of the total number of people on the Electoral Register. If 3 candidates go through, such 2nd round Election is a triangulaire; while 4 is a quadrangulaire. The number of triangulaires/quadrangulaires is partly determined by the number of political parties of similar mind who make political pacts before Round 1 in order to help each other get through Round 1.

Opinion polls

  • 61% – 39% (Harris Interactive)
  • 61.5% – 39.5% (Ifop)
  • 59% – 41% (OpinionWay) – Macron down 2 points in 2 days. 11 days to go!
  • c. 40% of Mélenchon and 30% of Fillon voters will abstain; c. 15% of Mélenchon and 26% of Fillon voters will vote Le Pen (Harris/Ifop)
  • 24% want neither Macron nor Le Pen to win (Ifop) – how does one deal with that?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s