A fairly typical British media take on the election from the Rochdale Herald.
Phew! That was close we all dodged the bullet, but hey we are safe! Groupthink has triumphed over the people. The Nazi beast has been destroyed and all is well with the world. Wall Street and Brussels can both relax and settle back to business as usual.
No. Not in the least. Nowhere near, and here is why the game has absolutely not come to a conclusion.
This morning French Bank shares were down, and the Euro far from rallying was a bit wobbly. Perhaps it was profit taking on factors already taken into consideration, or maybe economists are looking at the broad picture of a continued rise in what they call “popularism” as opposed to “democratic concerns about my job and pension”. That a fervently right wing party can gain 30+% of the vote and now appear as a mainstream party in a liberal, developed, world leading country is little short of astonishing.
The game has merely been postponed to June, and then if Macron has not been seen to shape up we may prepare for the deluge. If Macron gets this wrong there will be chaos. Because we can be certain that Front National is not going away.
Macron maybe the President, but without support from the Parliament he will go nowhere. Who here remembers Valery Giscard d’Estaing from the 1970’s? Macron needs assembly members to push through his policies, and Macron’s problem is that he has no party to speak of. Nothing. He has never held any elected position. He does not have representatives, or even potential candidates, (he seems to think that they will be citizen-activists, or disgruntled Councillors, Mayors etc from left and right who will somehow just walk in off the street)! All 577 of them. Aye right.
Both the Fillon right, and the left will be looking to crush Macron not to work with him in some sort of coalition.
Macron has no election structure of agents, polling staff or volunteers to hand out the leaflets and posters that he has yet to print. He has no shops or premises for them to operate out of. He has not booked the bill boards for his posters, (though one suspects his ol’ mucker Hollande will help out). Macron is an empty suit, a strange golem creation of Hollande’s and the desperation of the financial establishment. Macron had no real vision, nor policies beyond a vague sense of motherhood and apple pie. Macron desperately needs a manifesto.
Worryingly, Macron shows signs of being untrained as a politician, of having a tin ear. Now I do not imagine any of the other candidates left or right would have dreamt of taking to the victory stage to strains of the German EU national anthem “Ode to Joy”, rather than “The Marseillaise”. Eyebrows raised at the very least.
Picking a fight with Poland over migrants even before being elected will not help either.
He has a desperate need for experienced members. So, it’s a bit of a bugger that Corinne Ehrel, who had been an MP for the Socialist Party since 2007 before joining Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! and who could have advised him through these early days, fell down dead the day before yesterday.
This is no party in the meaningful sense of the word.
What we do know of his policies is he would attempt is enforce austerity in a country which has 5-10% of its working age adults unemployed. Almost one in four young adults are unemployed, and it was the young who voted in droves for Le Pen. He will attempt to loosen the regulations on employment in France, which is a nice way of stating he intends to increase the length of the working week, and allow employers greater powers to fire staff. Don’t expect any pay raises any time soon. He also fully supports the open-up-the-borders-and-any-immigration-going-is-fine-by-me policy of Merkel. Well, given the French temperament I’d say, “Good Luck with that one”.
Indeed, he envisages 60 Billion Euro in cuts to State spending (but is yet to indicate where the axe will fall), and 50,000 jobs going in the private sector. The public sector is to be slashed and 120,000 jobs will go. It is a receipt for riots in the streets.
Macron faces a new challenge too. Having defeated Marine Le Pen he may hope she is now a busted flush and will simply retire. Which she might. But if she does it only opens the door to her niece Marion Le Pen to inherit the mantle of leadership in good time for the next elections in 2022. Marion has some distinct advantages over Marine.
Marion is young and good-looking, and already an Assembly member. Unlike aunty she is more in the mould of the Catholic-Right than Marine. Less strident, very articulate strong willed and highly intelligent she may prove more acceptable, and far more difficult to beat.
And finally, just to add to the pile of woes mounting up on the President-elect’s desk, is the unknown effects of the media leak of all those emails we heard about on Friday. Now that the press and interested parties can get hold of them and discuss their findings in public who knows what damage these might yet cost him. Just imagine what would happen if he has established a company in a tax haven like oh…say St Kitts and Nevis?
Don’t get too comfortable. This is yet to come up to boiling.
Copyright David Macadam 2017