The Greens have come to power in Germany, and accepted a European ruling that gas and nuclear are “green energies.”
Not that I give a flying frack what Brussels calls things. The European Union is doomed. It conducts its business in the only language common to bureaucrats the world over – English – a language currently spoken by about 2% of its population (in Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) and is therefore about as relevant to its population as a bunch of scribes churning out edicts in Latin for the Holy Roman Emir (nice Freudian slip of the keyboard that – I think I’ll leave it in) to the average European peasant circa 1500. (Incidentally, I just happened on a map of Europe in 1500. Guess what was the biggest country in Europe back then? That’s right. Lithuania.)
Where was I?
I clicked on the last link at Richard’s recent article and came to another of Richard’s from last August:
which pleads for the right to go off topic in a good cause, so here goes:
French President Emmanuel Macron, facing re-election in April, in a long interview with “le Parisien” paper, has just said of the non-vaccinated:
“..les non-vaccinés, j’ai très envie de les emmerder. Et donc on va le faire jusqu’au bout.”
Which translates as “the non vaccinated, I really want to piss them off, so we’ll keep on doing so to the end.”
Except that the literal sense of “emmerder” is “cover them with shit.”
Now, for a “President of all the French,” who yesterday looked like a walk-in for the April election, to boast about the fact that the vaccine passport law he’s currently trying to get through parliament is all about pissing off a part of the electorate, is some kind of a first in democratic politics. Imagine if Trump or Viktor Orban had said such a thing.
I caught a bit of immediate reaction on the talk shows. An MP from Macron’s party, who is also a medical doctor, defended the President’s statement, saying: “Les non-vaccinés me font chier.” Literally: “the non-vaccinated make me shit.” Then a philosopher (no telly debate in France is complete without a philosopher) praised Macron for his honesty in admitting that his policy was all about “shitting on” people, and not about tackling a medical emergency.
You could say we’ve hit rock bottom in the level of political debate. Or you could say that the French, as always, are leading the way in revealing the reality of politics, as they did three years ago in the “Yellow Jacket” revolt – the first sign of the Populist pushback against higher energy prices.
Much as I admire Andrew Montford and Paul Homewood, It wasn’t their efforts that brought the problem of the price of energy to the fore internationally, but a thousand anonymous French workers occupying roundabouts, and attempting to invade the Elysée Palace, demonstrating the true popular sentiment, just as the pro-democracy demonstrators did when they invaded the legislature in
Washington Hong Kong. (Whoops.)
I’m writing this an hour or so after the news broke, so I’ve no way of knowing the significance of this little joust in the ongoing presidential election campaign, but my feeling is that Macron has lost it.
At 25% in the polls, he is far ahead of his rivals, and therefore practically sure to make it to the second round run-off. Behind him are three far right candidates on 13-16%. But will this situation, apparently stable for months, continue?
Of Macron’s nearest rivals:
Marine le Pen of the Rassemblement National (ex National Front) is handicapped by her association with her frankly anti-semitic father, and her poor performance in debate with Macron in the last election. She has been challenged on the right by the weird, pro-Vichy and overtly racist journalist/intellectual Eric Zemmour. The “normal” right in the form of the Republican party has finally got its act together and chosen Valerie Pecresse as a candidate. She comes over as a rather less sympathique version of Madame Thatcher, forty years too late and without the petrol money to carry out a radical programme of bribing the poor. She will NOT sell off council houses, privatise the country’s infrastructure, or sell off mutual aid organisations for profit, like Madame Thatcher, because if she did she’d end up with her head on a pike. France is a very conservative country in some ways.
Pecresse is currently the most likely candidate to make it into the run off against Macron, and the only one who stands a reasonable chance of beating him in the second round. But if Zemmour drops out, his support will likely go to le Pen, who’ll then be the likely overall winner of the first round, (with 29% against Macron’s 25%) and with an outside chance of beating Macron in the second round.
The left is almost entirely absent from the current political debate – in the country that invented the terms of “left” and “right.” The “far left” candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, on 8-13%, might just by some miracle edge his three right wing rivals out of their current position of favourites for the second position if voters desert the other left wing candidates, which is not impossible, given that the socialist, the dissident socialist, the communist, and the two trotskyist candidates are all on <1%-3% according to the polls. Only the Green candidate, on 7%, stands in his way.
Melenchon is the kind of leader we socialists dream of. A brilliant orator, honest, persuasive, incorruptible.. He swears by the science..
.. and he thinks we’re all going to die because climate.
And he’s all the more convincing because the official Green candidate Yannick Jadot is thick as mince. I watched his two hour pre-presidential address right through. The word “climate” was pronounced twice; he knows nothing and cares less about climate change. The climate story doesn’t work in France for the same reason it doesn’t work in the USA.
People tend to move south (to the Mediterranean or to Florida) because it’s nicer where it’s warm.
But polls show that people fear global warming because science.
It’s fucking chilly here in the south of France at the moment. The wind’s blowing off the snow-covered peaks of the Pyrenees, which you don’t get in balmy England; OK, it only lasts a few months, and in 6 months time we’ll have the air conditioning on. So far, no-one in the media has dared to comment on the fact that French people tend to prefer warm to cold. This may change. In France, as in Britain or the USA, what counts as politics is a matter of fashion, and fashions change in unpredictable ways.
Macron’s other thing going for him is that for the next six months he will head the European Council of Ministers (which is a big deal – like being Lord Lieutenant of a county of 300 million people – for six months.) With 27 members of the EU, this honour falls on France once every 14 years, and Macron has celebrated the fact by flying the European Union Jack – under the Arc de Triomphe. The nation entire rose in protest at the idea of the European flag flying without the French Tricolor. No-one was so impolite as to point out the the Arc de Triomphe is precisely a military monument commemorating the triumph of France over the rest of Europe, (with two million dead, but that was two centuries ago) but the idea of a European flag flapping about without the bleu-blanc-rouge upset a lot of people.
Will Macron’s frank expression of his desire to shit on a part of the population that dares doubt his omniscience have an effect on the coming election? Who knows? No-one. Certainly not us sceptics; but the honesty of our opponents gives us hope. They hate us. Fine. Revolutions benefit from clarity.