Sunday, 7 May 2017

The future of France is Lebanese

So it's President Macron - 65%-35%. Marine Le Pen, of course, was never going to win.

There was a very high turnout in the end, 75%, but nevertheless many thought: a plague on both your houses. 12% of the ballots cast were spoiled. This is a level never reached before in the history of the Republic.

Madame Le Pen in the French presidential debate probably got into the dictionary of quotations when she said, "France will be led by a woman. It will be either me or Mrs. Merkel." It will be Mrs. Merkel, of course, as everyone always knew.
That old reactionary Joseph de Maistre’s one famous aphorism comes to mind. Every country has the government it deserves. He’d have voted Le Pen, be sure. 
Most French electors, I am sure, do not care for Marine Le Pen and certainly don't like her pretty awful father, but she is the grenade that they found to hand, as President Trump was the grenade American voters found. One third of the French voters picked up the grenade, took out the pin and hurled it.

In very many ways Marine Le Pen is very worrying, brought up in a grisly, far-right family and ambiance. Her father sued when accused of murder and torture during the Algerian war and lost his case after some very persuasive evidence was presented in court against him. A close family friend and political associate of Marine’s is on record as admiring Hitler.

All that relates to wars that ended over half a century ago. Also strongly against her is the fact that has no experience that fits her for the presidency. And she is a protectionist and likely to cause the EU to break up in a chaotic way instead of an orderly way.

All that is on one side of the question and on the other? On the other is a recovery of national sovereignty but, most of all, the current rapid demographic transformation of France.

Because the government does not publish statistics about race or religion how far this transformation has gone is unclear, but 25% of French schoolchildren in a poll last year identified themselves as Muslim.

In France newborn babies are screened for risk of developing sickle-cell anemia, but bablies are  only at risk if both parents are of African, Arab or Caribbean origin or in some cases are from Corsica or Sicily. The number of babies tested has risen from 25% in 2005 to 39% in 2015. In the Greater Paris region it is 73%.
Please think about that.
“There is no such thing as French culture” said Emmanuel Macron campaigning in Lyons in February and he seemed happy about that. Others are not.
As Elisabeth Levy, the French Jewish feminist put it, “It is not that France has become Le Penist, reality has become Le Penist”.

I am sure Marine Le Pen did not expect or hope to win this time. Her eyes are on winning in five years' time. Her disappointment, I imagine, was not that she lost in the second round but that she unexpectedly failed to win in the first round.

She did, however, double the percentage of the vote her father obtained fifteen years ago and win a bigger share of the vote than Labour conceivably will in the coming British general election. 

Let's see if the FN can win a third of the seats in Parliament next month. But they won't because of the electoral system.

It is very sad that France does not have someone Charles de Gaulle to lead them now. Failing him a French Nigel Farage would do. Francois Fillon might have done some good but he was destroyed in an elaborate set up by president Hollande, who also created the supposedly independent anti establishment Macron. The plot succeeded.

Marine Le Pen made a big mistake arguing for leaving the euro. That means a 25% drop in the value of everyone’s savings.

And I doubt the French will want to leave the EU. Just as Germany sees Europe as an answer to the German Question (how to avoid dominating Europe, even though they do), so France sees it as an answer to the French question (how to appear to dominate Europe even though they don't).
Marine Le Pen does not win votes because of her views on the euro or the EU but immigration. She promised to reduce immigration to 10,000 a year, something immigrants might have welcomed. Instead the French voted for five more years of lax immigration controls.

A Lebanese future awaits France even if, as seems to me likely, Marine Le Pen becomes president in five years' time.

England is luckier, thanks to Brexit. We might even be Singapore. But probably we'll be the Middle East too.


  1. In a way I'm glad. The French began the process of unraveling European civilisation back in 1789 and French history since then has been a matter of digging the hole ever deeper.

    I, for one, welcome France's new Islamic overlords. I'm especially looking forward to the Islamification of French academia. I hope it begins with the gender studies departments. French academics will learn that postmoderism doesn't mean quite what they thought it was going to mean.

    I will need to buy lots of popcorn though.

  2. Good appraisal, without the partisan hysteria from so many English language commentators.

  3. 'There was a very high turnout in the end, 75%, but nevertheless many thought: a plague on both your houses. 12% of the ballots cast were spoiled. This is a level never reached before in the history of the Republic.'

    Your side lost. Get used to it.

    And no, England is not safer. You will no longer get EU immigrants but you will keep getting ones from other parts of the world.

  4. I suspect that many of these issues will come to a head long before President Macron completes his term of office. Considering the level of social upheaval France is now experiencing, I doubt very much if a third of the populous will be able to sit back and wait for six years to pass before expressing their views in a national executive election. Many countries, including my own, have experienced radical change through the efforts of smaller percentages of their population.

  5. The really interesting question is how much of the result was due to the Trump Factor? I suspect he cost Le Pen an enormous number of votes. Trump really energises the latent anti-Americanism of Europeans, their smug belief in their superiority to the barbaric and crass Americans.

    Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to be even more of a thing in Europe than in the US. The election offered the opportunity to show that Europeans would never vote for an evil fascist like Trump. Nothing makes Europeans happier than preening themselves on their anti-fascist credentials.

    The problem for Le Pen was not so much that she was seen as being Literally Hitler but that she was seen as being Literally Trump.

  6. A very good article.