Le Pen, Macron and the French Presidency

If you’re like me you’re pretty ignorant about French politics, but you’ll know one name for sure: Marine Le Pen, the hard-right candidate in the French presidential election. But since Monday of this week, you’ve probably made note of another French politician – Emmanuel Macron. Both Le Pen and Macron have succeeded in fighting their way to the final round of presidential voting in a fortnight’s time, with Macron looking the more likely winner.

That said, nobody in Europe is cracking open the champagne just yet. Things have a habit of coming in threes -– the Holy Trinity, the Three Musketeers, the three Stooges. Inside the last twelve months, we’ve had two big gunks. Most of us went to bed last June confident that the UK would vote to stay in Europe – they voted to leave. Practically all of us went to bed last November with the assurances of all the pundits and pollsters: Hillary was a shoo-in. We woke to find our biggest nightmare had come true and the King of Trash was on his way to the White House. That’s two down. Who’s to say we won’t go to bed in a fortnight’s time, happy that Emmanuel Macron will become French President, only to wake and find that the anti-euro, anti-EU, anti-immigrant bigot Marine Le Pen   has pulled it off?

And if Le Pen wins on Sunday 22 May, we’re all in trouble.

Even saying the words feels spooky. Because if she comes through as the winner,  the European Union won’t just face a crisis, as it did when Britain announced it was quitting. It’ll face destruction.

At the heart of the EU is France and Germany. Both countries were central to the conflicts of World Wars One and Two, and it was in large part to ensure that such conflict would never happen again that the EEC was originally set up in 1957. Besides making European war a lot less likely, the EEC made economic sense. If you can find a coherent way to work with your next-door neighbour, the chances are it’ll benefit you both.

On the same day in 1973, the UK and the south of Ireland joined the EEC – which told you something about the south’s lap-dog relationship with its next-door neighbour. But the EEC flourished and became the EU, and countries were lining up to join and enjoy all the benefits membership could bring.

Now over forty years later the UK, or more specifically England, is determined to leave the EU. The south of Ireland is equally determined to stay in the EU.

That’s because Ireland knows the huge benefits the EU has brought in agriculture, the environment, in infrastructure. Of course the EU needs reform: the bail-out which the south received from the EU was dictated in a take-it-or-leave-it way. The south was on its financial knees and paid off debts, including those it wasn’t responsible for.

Besides being excessively controlled by Germany, the EU decision-making process is too distant from its citizens and appears to be moving towards a super-state. It’s a far-from-perfect institution, the EU, but its benefits still outweigh its drawbacks by a long way.

But if Marine Le Pen is elected French president, all that will be over. Le Pen will remove France from the euro, remove France from the EU, and the entire European project will descend into a confusion of states with different interests, each gouging and kicking for itself. Ireland will be driven back to its position as Britain’s economic lapdog. The nightmare of war in Europe will again become a possibility.

Things have a nasty habit of coming in threes. On the other hand, Macron’s Christian name means “God is with us”. Let’s pray He is.

9 Responses to Le Pen, Macron and the French Presidency

  1. Mark April 29, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    Jude, I have been somewhat concerned at the persistent media portrayal of Marine LePen as ‘far right’.
    Certainly her Father was, and is, his daughter however has a somewhat different approach to French politics. Marine LePen has the same approach to the EU that any democrat and republican should have. The EU though, creating up to 80% of the laws you, I and everyone else must obey, several of which have substantial disbenefit to us, are devised, and enforced with absolutely no democratic input from those who pay for it all.
    This is not democracy and, absence of democracy is ‘far right’, the EU are presently threatening social media regarding the posting of opinion they disagree with, the last lot to undertake something like this were, ironically, the german’s with National Socialism, again, no democracy but, if, please God elected, Marine LePen will attempt to renegotiate Rome, Nice and Lisbon in favour of those in France.
    How any republican,especially the Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil parties, can object to election of an anti-federalist party in another country, which election may benefit democracy, is wholly beyond me.
    The benefits of EEC/EC/EU membership to Ireland is overstated, compared to the bullying approach of these same dictators in Brussels, threatening us to vote their way vis Nice and Lisbon 2’s, while now threatening our corporate tax rate, which, in light of the actions of the democratically elected President of the United States re: reduction to 15% corporation tax there, may not be much use soon anyway but, at least gives the Saor Stat some room for FDI which europe does not have.
    The brit’s, soon, will have the ability to reduce their CT rate (frankly since they’re not treated equally since June 24th last they should simply tell the Nazis to take off anyhow) but, Osbornes first pronouncement following Brexit was, we’re reducing corporation tax, this will banjax the Saor Stat, with the threat that to pay for Brexit shortfall, and possible Frexit too, they shall have to pay a lot more to maintain the Brussels buracracy (bear in mind these Nazi fuckers pay 16% income tax and all living costs are further susidised by you and I).
    Macron will, for the cheese eating surrender monkey’s, maintain their central role within the fourth reich, his opponent, as above, will first seek renegoiation of Treaties, when this fails, will put withdrawal to the electorate.
    If they vote Laisser, there is hope for them and the possibility we could come out too.
    The Republic proclaimed in 1916, and previously in 1798, did not provide for control of our country nor nation to be exercised by other than Irish people, the persistent sycophanticism of our civil servants and elected representatives, especially supposedly anti-euro federalist Sinn Féin, towards the euro elite, really does not reflect what our people have died for.
    If only we had a political party which would stand up for the Irish Republic (pending), I would vote for them, the present shower, I shall, Sinn Féin like, abstain, Vive Le Pen

    • billy April 29, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

      nail on the head..lets hope she wins.

      • Mark April 29, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

        Good God Billy, good to see you’re a Republican also!

        • billy April 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

          like hens teeth round these parts.

          • Mark April 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

            Lent is over Billy. I can wind up and curse again.

  2. Wolfe tone April 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    Jaysus Jude I have no interest in le Pen but you have not been paying attention if you think Macron is some sort of good guy. He’s dodgy as xxxx. Btw what’s he doing marrying his mum?

  3. Jud April 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    “But the EEC flourished and became the EU…”
    No. Conflating the two is just wrong, and very costly.

    The EEC was formed in 1957 and later became the EEA. Both are trade organisations.
    I am a fan of both projects as they have done a lot of people across Europe a lot of good. Free trade has benefited rich and poor alike.

    The EU, on the other hand, came into existence (n 1993) to move the political power gradually away from the nation states and into the hand of the 28 member (and un-elected and thoroughly un-democratic) European Commission. It is a political body and is distinct from the EEC/EEA.

    It is alarming that you do not understand these basic facts, but it does perhaps explain why you cannot see how much of your destiny now lies at the whim of these 28 unelected eurocrats.

    I can see now that the EEC was always just the first step on the road to moving power from national parliaments to Brussels.
    Our elites are fundamentally democratic and don’t trust the mob to vote properly, so they have been slowly taking the ability to make the important decisions away from them.

    The Brits were right to get out of the EU – even if the way they are doing it looks like it could do them a lot of needless harm.

    As a lifelong Irish republican I cannot understand how others of the same mind can support the EU and EC, although a widespread fundamental lack of knowledge about how it is all set up could explain much of it.

  4. Mark April 29, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

    Jud is quite correct, one point I forgot to mention, vis the ‘benefit’ Ireland has obtained from EEC/EC/EU membership is, for every pingin the fourth reich provided, we had to match, from our own funds, since the early 00’s we have been net contributors and, in spite of the EU’s role, through enforced deregulation of financial services, we, the people, ended up being forced to pay the EU debts.
    Irish Father’s committed suicide rather than face the homelessness facing their families, what was left of workers in the Saor Stat paid huge sums in Universal Social Charge, introduced due to the bully boy approach of the same fourth reich (this is not speculation, I was a good friend of Brian óg Lenihan) the only way to be Republican is to be free, support freedom to choose for your people and refocus democracy in the hands of the same.

  5. PaulG May 2, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    If Marine Le Pen wins, she will first challenge the Eurocrats to reform. Unlike with the English, they know they cannot keep the rotten ship afloat without France and will have no choice but to comply.
    That would have been enough to swing Brexit the other way, and could well be sufficient justification for the Brits to have another Referendum, which would greatly relieve the Republic.
    Front Nationale could well save the EU and European Democracy. If the shadowy, string pullers in Strasburg refuse, then why would anyone who had even a single democratic bone in their body, want to be a member of such an Organisation. Marine would then Frexit, removing the French Fig Leaf, currently struggling to cover German expansionism :-0