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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Political Credibility

M Macron is due to win today's election to the French National Assembly by a landslide. A party that did not exist - was not even publicly predicted - two years ago is expected to win a massive majority in the legislature. Its leaders then propose to go head-to-head with the trade unions in order to 'modernise' [i.e. Thatcherise] the economy. Their plan is to make hiring and firing of employees easier, to challenge the shortness of the standard working week; and generally to break the power of the unions over strategic decision-making by French firms.

M Macron is presented as having virtually 'appeared from nowhere' to create his 'France on the March' movement which would take the presidency and capture the Assembly; but in fact he is the epitome of the French establishment. Napoleon developed the old monarchy's technique of finding people of modest origins and developing them for high public office - by way of selective higher education, where appropriate - and then rewarding them with lands and titles if they succeeded. Macron stands firmly in that tradition. The child of teachers in a solid provincial middle class, white town he was selected for the highest level of 'administrative' education. Then he served in a series of government posts before moving smoothly into banking where he perfected his English while gaining an insider's knowledge of the 'Anglo-Saxon' dominated transatlantic banking system.

Then he was considered ready to be given middle-ranking ministerial office in the floundering Socialist government, from which he moved smoothly to the destiny of revamping the failing party system and achieving a populist following. Although the older-established parties ran candidates and campaigns against him, the field was effectively surrendered to him in circumstances where the rest of the established political class was becoming genuinely afraid that the National Front might otherwise win power.

Even his highly unusual matrimonial arrangements marked him out as special and memorable, without being open to censure.

The whole plan has worked all-too-smoothly to this point. Now the President can dust off his outdated Econocratic textbooks and set about trying to implement his mission. I am not a betting man, but if the bookies were to offer odds I may well be tempted to punt a few pounds against him.

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