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So, the first round of the French Presidential election is over and the results have come as no surprise to anyone, save the general media.  Both the main parties, left and right, have been given the bums rush.  For the first time in fifty eight years since the founding of the Fifth Republic the French go into the second leg of their Presidential election with no major party represented.  It is clear that the public have just had enough of the same old same old.

The people are unhappy, and they have lost patience with the ancien regime.  They see themselves threatened with economic stagnation.  There is no work for their children.  Jobs, factories whole ways of life are being destroyed by rampant globalisation.  Sound familiar?  They see, (rightly or wrongly) large numbers of outsiders being given special treatment and not adapting to French culture and values.  They are suffering from continued attacks by extremists on their way of life.

So, what does it mean for America?

France has been America’s oldest ally right back to the days of the Revolutionary Wars. A nuclear power she is a big player internationally, with a seat on the Security Council France has been one of the central figures in the European project which has offered stability and prosperity (at least in the past) and should she bail then the whole project would unravel.  The economic and political ramifications would indeed wash up on Donald’s desk.

The left wing have been decimated, the centre hollowed out.  The country has lurched right.  Now rather than the two established parties, Gaulist and Socialist, facing off as they have done for generations we have something new.  And the French are enjoying this (even if they can describe it as a choice between typhus and cholera).

So, what do we have?

Instead of a well organised party of the centre left, the French are presented with Emmanuel Macron who has no party at all, and not much policy.  He is young and has appeared all of a sudden, his background having been a Jesuitically educated civil servant and ex-socialist who became the Minister of Economy and Finance in the cabinet of the utterly useless Francois Hollande, before he flounced out to go for a frolic of his own.  He is a Bankers man through and through given his stint at Rothchilds, a staunch Europhile, and by nature a slightly right wing liberal centrist.  Macron would a solid partner of America’s business community and their interests.  Macron would be a force for continuity, limited reform and more bumbling along in the same old manner.  Macron equals business as usual.

Were Macron to lose to Le Pen then we should expect a sharp drop in the Euro which would lead to a strengthening Dollar, which in turn would hit US trade balance and jobs.

So, Macron represents the candidate of the Global Elite?

The problem for America and the Status Quo enthusiasts is that Macron is a hollow man – a policy light, slippery, dark horse of a snake-oil-salesman with a winning smile and nice suits – who will do absolutely nothing to seriously address France’s massive social and economic problems is a help to his backers, not a hindrance.  With Macron France would be saddled with “continuation Hollande” albeit with a nicer smile.  The people of France will continue to have a sclerotic economy, no jobs in the rural heartland and continued terrorism from fascist Islam, but America, the French political and administrative elite, and their markets would be spared any dislocation.

If anyone was to be America’s placeman in this election, their Manchurian candidate, it was always going to be Macron.

Facing him the wily, redoubtable and legendry Marine Le Pen from the Far Right, who would be a strong ally of Putin right in the heart of Europe.  Her administration would be knife pointed at Brussels.  Her avowed intention is to get France out of the Euro, give the people a referendum on staying in the EU, and restore the Franc.  She is a good old fashioned tax and spend sort of girl.   Le Pen would allow a controlled devaluation to make French goods more competitive and restore jobs and economic security.  Should she win Le Pen could start a gradual shift in Europe away from American influence and more towards Putin’s Russia.

Both Le Pen and Macron have public security at the heart of their manifestos, but each would approach the problem in very different ways.  Macron is certainly against terrorism (but then isn’t everyone?) however he favours a softly-softly approach.  This means that to be honest he doesn’t have a defined policy and does not know what he should do.  He has no answers to this problem.  He will not restrict immigration preferring instead an open door policy similar to Merkel, and has a naïve belief that Islam does not come with problems and that France can absorb any number of immigrants.  All of which would leave terrorist attacks as an ongoing fact of French life for years to come.  If he has an achilles heel this is it.

Le Pen is a blunter woman, very much of the “Close-the-borders-and-throw-them-all-out school”.

In the next ten days, we should expect both to wrap themselves up in the Tricolour and parade their patriotism.

A couple of questions present themselves.  First how far Le Pen will drag Macron to the right to enable him to maintain his lead?  And second which party is the weaker in this final run out?

Most importantly Macron has no power to help anyone.  He has no political machine to drive forward his policies.  En Marche his political party is more a university club, a ginger group, a comfortable gentile Liberal echo chamber than a forceful political entity.  Macron cannot show how he will get the backing he needs to implement anything.  The French system means a President needs the backing of Parliament.  Those elections are in June (yep more elections).  The runes point to the political environment moving right rather than left.

The failed candidates, of course, have mandated their followers to support Macron.  But as said supporters did not turn out for them first time there can be no guarantees they will listen to the likes of Francois Hollande.  The far left who hate the status quo may well lend their votes not to Macron but to Le Pen, just to shake things up.

Macron’s “non-traditional sexual orientation” as it is being so delicately described also gives mild concern.  This may be added to the declaration that Assange has “some interesting information which he will be releasing shortly” and may divert his attention from more important matters.  Not that any of this is really new, Sarkozy said that people were drawn to him because “he was neither man nor woman” He has even been publicly linked with the President of France Radio, Mathieu Gallet.  Gay rumours or not, the very fact that he married, at the age of 18, his teacher who was then aged 40, and has no biological family only encourages raised eyebrows and speculation.  At best they are an unnecessary distraction.

If he is Gay, or Bi-Sexual that would probably not matter a damn in grubby old Britain.  It certainly doesn’t to me, but who knows in France.  Suffice it to say the sheer fact that these stories are still doing the rounds shows that this next fortnight is going to be a really grubby, down and dirty bout of good old fashioned gutter politics.

Slightly more importantly we might more usefully ask who he is, and where he has come from?  Who are his backers?  Who are the shadowy group known as ‘les Gracques’ — this very discreet centre-left pressure group loosely staffed by influential chief executives and civil service mandarins.  They number pro-market socialists who long ago gave up on the Socialist party, as well as globalists and bankers such as Rothchild’s who gave Macron his position.  Very much the elite business class of French society.  Many are fellow ‘énarques’ (graduates of ENA) and every step of Macron’s career could have been directed by them.

Now, do you also wonder where les Gracques gets its funding from?  Seriously wonder where that all comes from.  And where does En Marche get its money from?  A year old and funding a run at the Presidency?

Marine Le Pen has her own demons to deal with, not least her father who can be relied on for an inappropriate comment at awkward moments.  Certainly, Marine as we now think of her, is distancing herself from some of the more salacious opinions of Front National.

There has always been the stench of Anti-Semitism with FN, and they clearly dislike the ethnicity of the migrants from Africa, and the Middle East every bit as much as they hate the fascist form of Islam practised by some of them.  Actually, they aren’t that keen on foreigners per se.

However, she has a huge well prepared and funded Electoral Machine at her back as well as over twenty years of hard fought front line political experience.  Marine has managed single handedly to de-toxify the Front National to the point where it is acceptable.  Whether you like her or not she is a formidable candidate, and even if she “only” raises more votes and loses, she is almost certain to gain a swath of extra seats in that Parliamentary election in June.  For Le Pen this can only be a win-win run off election.

We can expect ten days of Disinformation, Fake News, Cyber attacks on party web sites, and Rubbish Twitter feeds, all of which we must now consider “the usual” backdrop to any elections.

So maybe the best advice for the French should be this.  Vote as though your life depended on it, because it might very well.

Copyright David Macadam 2017