Out on the streets, it’s pretty balloon time …
… for the last time. Got to get rid of all those balloons and leaflets by midnight, when a calm, reflective mood will then settle over the country. But, for now, it’s giveaway ‘goodies’ galore.
In the marketplace, all is being readied for Euro-Day, with national flags being flown aloft. Will Blighty turn up and put its wares on sale? Or, like its Incredibly Disappearing Language (D. Tusk), will Sa Gracieuse Majesté‘s representatives just StayAway? Will they consider it more appropriate to buy goods from other’s national stalls, rather than attempt to sell them anything?
Last minute gloom-sayer
The Economist editorial thunders ‘Don’t discount Marine Le Pen’.
‘Pundits’, they warn, ‘are already looking beyond the French Presidential run-off [that’s me] … En Marche will probably not win a majority in the legislature. How, they ask, will [Macron] handle the delicate task of coalition-building … Steady on. Mr Macron has not won yet. And if voters take it for granted that he will, he might not. Betting on politics is banned in France, but foreign bookmakers give … [Le Pen] a one-in-six chance of victory – the same odds as Russian roulette. The reason is that Ms Le Pen’s supporters will all turn out in force, so if the other side is apathetic and abstains in large numbers, she could win. [Yes, yes. Do get on with it. I’ve done several pieces on the consequences of differential abstention] … Ms Le Pen will be back in 2022.’ [Not so sure about that. Not at all. As ever, The Economist‘s editorials are written by highly opinionated chaps (almost inevitably chaps) in Head Office who know everything and thus, evidently, find it less than necessary to consult colleagues in territory, who may know what they’re talking about – see below] ‘French voters’ concludes The Economist ‘should give Mr Macron a thumping majority, and a mandate to address the malaise that makes his opponent’s demagoguery so popular.’
The Economist also reports on the final week of the campaign. Unfortunately for them, they went to press before Wednesday’s TV debate. Their piece – a good analysis of Le Pen’s appeal – is headed ‘The rage against Macron’ and emphasises that ‘Even if Marine Le Pen is defeated, she will have left a deep mark on French politics’.
Their article concludes ‘It would take a historic upset for her to keep Mr Macron from the presidency. A loss for Ms Le Pen would be a symbolic defeat of the forces of nationalism and populism that have gained ground in parts of Europe. It could also put internal pressure on her leadership. “If she gets much less than 40% the party will consider it a disappointment” says Cas Mudde, a scholar of extremism.’
Indeed. I agree there’s every chance of a serious episode of internecine bloodletting should Le Pen end up below 40%. It may have happened anyway. But there appears to be serious incomprehension, even discontent, in Front National ranks at Le Pen’s non-stop, crazily aggressive TV Debate performance which resulted in what Le Figaro called ‘a shipwreck’ [similar to a car crash interview’?].
It could well be that having the totemic 40%+ snatched away at the last minute will be seen as an opportunity for those on the socially/economically conservative side of the Front National, such as Marion Maréchal Le Pen (The Evil Niece: a Jean-Marie Le Pen lookalike), finally to settle scores with the national socialist side of the Front National.
Nobody loves Fillon …. or the Republican Party
Interviewed in Corriere della Sera (in Italian) Le Pen said, with a glass of champagne in hand: ‘Am I David against Goliath Macron? Arrogant and obscure’ [Don’t get that last bit – not enough Italian I regret].
A problem arose when Le Pen was asked about the words ‘violence’ and ‘intolerance’ which Fillon had used to describe her. She is quoted in the interview as having replied ‘It’s because they’re merdes: excuse me, but no other expression comes to me’
To make things more complicated, the conversation was in French. The FN is hotly denying that Le Pen said that Fillon, or his people, are ‘shit(s)’ and are threatening legal action. One of Le Pen’s mates, who claims to have been present during the interview, insisted that Le Pen said ‘Fillon called on people to vote Macron because he is in the shit’.
The Italian journalist for his part reiterates: ‘It was merdes in the plural but she was certainly thinking of François Fillon, not his team, not his Party, not his electors’.
But it’s not only Le Pen. Even Macron has got up Republican Party noses. He gave an interview to today’s Le Parisien. Macron said ‘I’m convinced the Republican Party will split apart’. The Republican Party’s General Sec. called this statement ‘which wants the leading Party in France to disappear … arrogant, lying and irresponsible’.
In case of victory they’ll be dancing the night away
Macronistas will celebrate at the pyramid/esplanade of The Louvre. Very Goldilocksian.
Parliamentary Elections: Now the Greens fail to agree with Mr Mélenchon
After the Communists, it’s the turn of the Greens to find that a proposed deal with Mélenchon’s Party about who’ll stand in which seats is impossible to put in place. The Greens National Secretary said La France Insoumise wanted ‘subservience’.
President Hollande goes nuclear
‘We have nuclear weapons … Can they be put in anyone’s hands? Non.‘
CGT goes nuclear
General Sec Martinez (CGT – Communist trade union) went further than before: ‘I hope Marine Le Pen has the lowest possible vote and Macron has the highest possible vote’.
- Ipsos Sopra Steria (5300 people 5/5)
- Ifop-Fiducial (1500 people – 2/5-5/5)
- Odoxa (1000 people), Ipsos Sopra Steria (2600), Elabe (1000) all polled on 4 May
- Harris Interactive polled 5000 (2-5 May), but half were polled pre-TV Debate
- OpinionWay‘s rolling poll of 1500 was done 3-5 May (ie 500 pre-TV debate)
The first 2 polls above give Macron 63%. 3 of the next 4 polls give Macron 62% , with the 2nd Ipsos poll 61.5%.
The more recent polls certainly seem to show the Debate Effect ever more fully.
Odoxa: ‘Without being Pyrrhic, [Macron’s] victory will be a trompe l’oeil triumph which will heavily impact his honeymoon period and will not allow him any faux pas from the day of his arrival in the Elyséé … Many electors want nothing to do with this election … nearly a third of workers, the low-paid and the young will not vote … or they’ll only vote reluctantly, while of those who will vote Macron a crushing majority will not have positively chosen to do so, … This [vote] will be the 2nd highest rate of abstention under the 5th Republic [Odoxa think 25% will abstain] … Never in the 5th Republic will so many have voted against someone rather than because they support a candidate … 57% of Macron voters are not voting for him but voting against Le Pen … 2 days before the vote 21% are still hesitating between voting for one candidate or spoiling their ballot’.
Ipsos Sopra Steria: Voters were asked about the TV Debate, and whether the ‘attitude’ of Macron/Le Pen reassured them, worried them, or neither.
- 31% were reassured by Macron, 33% worried and 36% neither
- 15% were reassured by Le Pen, 54% worried and 31% neither
- [people are evidently seriously worrying]
- 19% of those who say they are certain/almost certain to vote will not say who they will vote for and could spoil their ballot or abstain – this includes a third of Mélenchon voters and a quarter of Fillon voters
- 53% of Macron voters are only voting for him because they are against Le Pen
- 67% of Le Pen voters are voting for her because they support her/her programme – [what are the remaining extraordinary 33% doing???]
- Elabe have found 68% absolutely certain to vote and 12% almost certain to vote
Perhaps appropriately, the market place is being prepared for next week’s Euro-Day’s Euro-Fest, with Member States’ emblems aloft. Will Blighty turn up? Or, like it’s Incredibly Disappearing Language (Mr D Tusk) will the (Dis)United Kingdom stayaway?
. Will Blighty turn up? Or, like its apparently Incredibly Disappearing Language, will the United Kingdom absent itself from these Euro