The French election

We all mourn the death of a policeman in Paris. I send my condolences to his family.

The untimely death shortened the political campaigning, but could not derail the election.

Last  week-end French electors faced plenty of choice. The opinion polls held close to election day correctly predicted  that voting intentions were  very split, and many were still undecided. One of the most fascinating features of the polls was the collapse of support for the socialist party, the Labour party equivalent, and the difficulty for the Republican candidate, the Conservative equivalent, to catch up three others.

Whoever becomes President of France will not belong to either of the two traditional main parties. He or she did  not  gain more than one quarter of the votes on the first ballot. This means that the uncertainties created by such a wide open election will continue after we know who the President is. The Presidential election will  be followed by an election to the Parliament. If the Parliament votes are more strongly for the more traditional parties the new President will have limited powers and have to get on with a Prime Minister who does not agree on some big matters.

Mr Macron is the front runner to win in round two. A former socialist party Minister, he is now a reborn self styled centrist with a movement, not a political party. He might face a Parliament to his right. There could be clashes on economic reform and security. Were Mrs Le Pen to prove the pollsters wrong and emerge as the overall winner, she would probably face a Parliament to her left, with an inbuilt majority to keep France in the Euro and the EU when she wishes to leave.

It is a fascinating commentary on modern France that two of the top four candidates were outsiders, and one was an insider dressed up as an outsider. The only pure political establishment candidate was  damaged by his past use of public money to run his office. It implies that many French voters are unhappy with the terrorist attacks, the high unemployment, the lack of growth in living standards and the lack of control over their borders. Some  voted for a more left wing alternative who wants to take back control and go for more socialism in one country. Some  voted for the National front to leave the Euro and assert national borders. Some  voted for the independent who promises to do politics differently without being too precise how.

If the French people fail to give a decisive mandate to a new President, and then fail to give their President a decent level of support in Parliament, the anger and anguish will continue.

 

 

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66 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    I presume you refer to Mr. Macron as the ‘insider dressed up as the outsider’? He is clearly the ‘ringer’ placed in the contest by the governing elite to hedge there bet on the too familiar old guard.

  2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    This second round provides a referendum on Europe, for or against EU and Euro, which will easily be won. Sorry guys and bye again.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      The second round Peter is designed to ensure that the establishment always wins.
      Macron is Hollandes placeman and destined to fail.
      He will get nothing changed and the economic weakness of France will ensure that there is no more financial integration.
      The people of France will soon realise they have been duped and more riots will be the order of the dynamic.
      This is the last chance saloon for the 5th Republic and I reckon we are rapidly heading for the 6th.
      Marie Antonette all over again.

      • rose
        Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Peter, who arranged for M Fillon to be stiched up? He was the serious candidate, the one who knew how things worked, the one who had thought about how to tackle the chief threat, to the extent of having written a book on it, the one who would have been able to govern with support in the Assembly, the one who had been properly in government before… He was stitched up the day after he was selected as the candidate for the Republicans. And curiously no-one seems to be asking how M Macron made his money or who is backing his “movement”. Will these questions now be suppressed all over again? Probably.

      • Chris S
        Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Like everything else related to the EU and the Euro, the longer the suits do nothing to sort out the endemic problems and democratic deficit, the worse the situation will be when the whole house of cards collapses.

        A seasoned politician like Sarkozy could not reform the French economy so a novice like Macon has no chance. t won’t be long before the cobble stones start flying. There would have been even worse trouble and strife under “Thatcherite” Fillon.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Peter vL

      But you dont like referenda and you dont abide by their results. So boasting of winning a made up one is somewhat hypocritical

      The EU needs to take a long hard look, based on UK, Dutch and French recent political activity roughly half of people of Europe doesn’t like the EU/Euro/Federalism

      No matter which way individual votes go, this should be sending a major signal to Junker and his failed crew of has beens. They either reform themselves or they are doomed

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Yet more referenda in Europe on the EU. Obviously people are unhappy with. Holland has a much worse right-wing extremism problem than Britain. No way would a Gert Wilders have won seats, let alone so many.

      To exult in a ‘win’ is rather missing the point here. France has many people who are angry with the EU.

      • rose
        Posted April 26, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        More than half if you add in the Fillon supporters who are anti EU.

  3. Mark B
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Whilst in the Euro when it comes to economic matters, as we have seen in Geece and elsewhere, it does not matter who is in charge, if you are not incontrol of your own currency, then you are not in control of the economy and the country. That was why it was, as is, so important to stay out of the Euro and eventually, the EU.

    Whatever happens and whoever wins because of the aforementioned much worse is to follow. Le Pen has probably most of the answers but is damaged goods. Macron is a Globalist shil who like Hollande will disapoint. And the poor French will be no closer to resolving their problems.

    • Dunedin
      Posted April 27, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      @Mark B “it does not matter who is in charge, if you are not in control of your own currency, then you are not in control of the economy and the country.”

      Indeed – try telling this to SNP supporters though – they don’t believe it, or don’t want to hear it. They have been led to believe that using the pound in a currency union with RUK, or even “sterlingization” outwith a formal currency union, would be no different to using the pound as we do now.

  4. Duncan
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    It is very noticeable that while in France a party exists and thrives which is classed as ‘far right’ while in the UK we have no such party.

    I would argue that the French fervently believe in open debate and fully accept that all views must be heard and represented. While in the UK we see a culture that has been deliberately ‘constructed’ (both through legislation and the politics of identity) and designed to destroy free-speech and prevent open debate on all issues irrespective of race and gender

    It would be fair to say that the liberal left (with silent complicity from the right and the Conservatives, to their eternal shame) have worked hard to weaken our freedoms in many areas. Open debate that embraces all issues has been almost extinguished. The UK has become almost ashamed of free-speech while the media attacks those who dare to express ‘unfashionable’ views.

    We have become an empty shell of a nation, all surface, no substance and we will live to regret it

    • rose
      Posted April 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      I fear the French suffer from the same PC censorship that we do. Mme Le Pen was kept off the air for most of the time before the election. If it weren’t for the internet she would be nowhere. Now the powers that be on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to get that censored too.

  5. Mick
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/24/labour-plan-frustrate-brexit-scrapping-great-repeal-bill-raises/
    This is the reason why along with the lib dums/ snp/ greens/ labour should not be anywhere near power for a very long time, do labour really take the public for idiots if we stay in the single market we have to except free movement, muppets,

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    All is all rather a dire choice they had sensible policies offered by Fiffon. But it is not rather amazing that nearly 20% of the French electorate are so used to corruption that they were prepared to vote for a man who (as you rather politely put is) has questions to answer about “his past use of public money”.

    Why is Marine described as “extreme right” her main policies are well to the left. What a poor choice they have now more bonkers socialism from Macron or Marine. Pro or Anti the EU is the main choice they have.

    Meanwhile we have two daft socialist here May (with tax increasing side kick Hammond) now with energy price controls, central wage controls, proposals for even higher taxes and other lefty lunacies.

    Which back bencher is going to ask her:

    “Does my right hon. Friend not know that it is fatal for any Government or party or person to seek to govern in direct opposition to the principles on which they were entrusted with the right to govern? In introducing a compulsory control of wages and prices, in contravention of the deepest commitments of this party, has my right hon. Friend taken leave of his senses?”

    The Conservative Party is a party of low taxation or it is nothing.

    The alternative of more Bank Holidays, more strikes, more taxes, nationalisation and more big government (all un-costed needless to day) from Corbyn. He even wants to render our nuclear deterrent totally worthless!

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    May is a little older than myself, so why on earth has she learned nothing from the disaster that was Ted Heath?

  8. alan jutson
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Seems like many so called democratic Countries are having a purge of the traditional Party politicians, who have for decades promised much, but delivered little other than tax increases and increased immigration.

    The Conservatives should be very thankful that they have Mr Corbyn as the main opposition, and that Mr Farage has retired, otherwise they would have perhaps also been in some trouble.

    Never in my lifetime have politicians in general been held in such low esteem.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      alan judson

      You are right about the publics view of main stream politicians. Its not just low esteem, they’ve been rumbled , we now have access to the data, they’ve been coning us all along. Taking our money, wasting most of it and delivering vastly overpriced under performing services in return

      Someone did an analysis of the return of an ordinary worker paying in to the state pension and found that if the same amount had been put into a private pension the returns would be 4 times more than the state pension.

      The Conservatives are only where they are right now because we want Brexit delivered and they are the only ones who say they will ( forget Farage and UKIP their dead in the water)

  9. Richard1
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    It’s not a good result. Macron is continuity social democracy. Fillon was by far the better canadidate and had the best ideas.

    Meanwhile there has been an extraordinary outburst from Guy Verholstadt who has reportedly said the EUs relations with the U.K. Are now worse than those with any other country in the region except Russia and Belarus. He predicts the imposition of tariffs and travel restrictions etc. Labours Keir Starmer has agreed with Verholfstadt. This should be worth making something of – it should be worth a few dozen seats to the Conservatives. With EU functionaries in this bullying, threatening mood, even if they represent no one but themselves, the Country will surely see that it is inconceivable to send the likes of Corbyn and Starmer in to negotiate with them.

  10. MickN
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Do you not think that with one candidate who wants in and one that wants out of the EU that the run off will be more a less a referendum on Frexit?

  11. NB
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Yet another terrorist event on the eve of a historic vote that will effect the voting outcome. People will start seeing get a pattern soon.
    Mr Macron threatened us over Calais on the run up to the Referendum aso I recall? But Le Pen would be terrible for France yet the powers that be seem to have decided this is the future. If not this time then next time around.

  12. formula57
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Some would see Le Pen as an insider too on the grounds the FN has been around for a long time. At least there would be some difficulty in viewing it as an insurgency.

    It is said in France that the world over politicians lie to the people but in France it is the people who lie to the politicians. Accordingly, whilst they vote for reformers come the time reform is actually about to be implemented, they reject it furiously. The next president is likely to be a victim of that phenomenon, especially whilst lacking parliamentary support.

  13. Prigger
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Only Marine Le Pen can unite France into two distinct united camps. The others? What are their policies? Who knows? Not even the French voter. They either vote FOR Le Pen or AGAINST Le Pen

  14. Establishment
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Macron will probably win . The French economy will decline further rudderless. We should expect turmoil over the Channel. The people of Kent are in for traffic delays with backed up trucks stranded as dispute over dispute escalates in France.
    Our media has paid little attention to the riots in Paris throughout these last few months. The causes remain and will promote more civil unrest.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    How dare people call the British racists. The French and Dutch vote in large numbers for seriously right wing politicians !

    All we want here is a return to traditional Conservatism. The British equivalent of Continental nationalis parties (the BNP not Dad’s Army UKIP) did not even get off the ground.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      President Macron would be making a mistake if he went Brit/Brexit bashing with such a divided country and many of his countrymen angry with immigration and supportive of Brexit.

  16. hefner
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Don’t you think a similar picture would apply if the UK system would allow for more than two(ish) parties with a more proportional (not FPTP) election system? The differences within the Labour Party do not look to me some much better/worse than those between the “trends” represented by Macron, Hamon and Melenchon. Similarly within the Conservatives/UKIP, the differences look as bad as between the various factions between Juppe, Sarkozy, Fillon. And it might good for some to look at themselves in the mirror and see a figure very much like the Front National.
    I am not so sure the Mother of Parliament has so many lessons to teach the others, simply because the antiquated voting system does not allow proper differences in political outlook to properly appear. A lot of the British parliamentary “success” (with three-line whip, the ridiculous PMQ) is nothing like “democracy”, proof being Theresa May calling for “unity”. instead of proper debate.

    • sm
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      I suggest that our ‘antiquated voting system’ has demonstrably led to the UK having far more stable government than many European nations.

      • hefner
        Posted April 26, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Fair enough: more stable, but is it more democratic?
        Look at the fractions of electors from different parties and how they are represented in Parliament.

  17. Establishment
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Marine Le Pen at six sharp this morning was on the stump at Rungis meat, fruit and vegetable market talking to traders. Very keen, she is.
    Twitter:
    Marine Le Pen‏Verified account @MLP_officiel 54 minutes ago
    More
    J’ai poursuivi ce matin ma visite du marché de #Rungis, avec le secteur des produits laitiers puis des fruits et légumes ! ???
    I continued this morning my visit of the #Rungis market, with the sector of dairy products and fruits and vegetables! ???

    • hefner
      Posted April 26, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      (Not having heard his alarm-clock ?) Macron had gone and visited the very same market in Rungis on 18 April, but only at 6:15! Consequently, Establishment, do I have to conclude that he had missed this set-piece?

      Or is it that most politicians will anyway play for the gallery and that a lot of “electors” will swallow these theatrical gesticulations as proof of anything like “defense of the working people”?
      Please comment in less than ten lines, applying if necessary to the UK situation.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        hefner

        Indeed and Macron was booed by the workers apparently

  18. Bert Young
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    There could be a serious knock-on effect to us if Macron succeeds ; he has promised to make ” It difficult” for Brexit . On the other hand LePen will offer a Frexit – and this could be good news for us . I know who I would vote for !.

    Macron’s background – that includes a stint with a respected Merchant Bank , ought to have aligned him more to the right , however , his appointment to the economic role he had by Hollande , says it all . He is an opportunist with scant regard for a proper balanced approach .

    Le Pen has always presented a sovereign France attitude and has never believed in the wisdom and practicality of a European Union . She represents something more similar to my own philosophy . It’s a bit of a nail biter .

  19. Julien Tabulazero
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    As you know, Mr Macron is staunchly europhile and has promised to drive as hard a bargain as possible on Brexit. He also enjoys the backing of Angela Merkel.

    Finally and probably quite close to the heart of the readers of your blog, he has promised as part of his campaign to move back the Calais jungle from Calais to Dover to the relief of the inhabitants of Calais.

    Now, one should not forget that politicians of all nationalities tend to make many wild promises when it comes to wining elections (or a referendum for instance) and it remains to be seen what he will eventually achieve but he is unlikely to be an easy customer and his approach to Brexit is unlikely to be solely about economics. Immigration & the refugee crisis are likely to be involved.

    Polls put him winning 60%/40% against Le Pen and the polls did get the first round right.

    Best regards

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      How prey is he going to move the jungle to Dover. As now any illegal trying to get off the ferry will be promptly returned. If the ferry companies are fined £10,000 for each transgression they will soon up their security.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Because you think ferries is the only way for illegal immigrants to get intro the UK ? How do the drugs you can find in the UK streets arrive in the country ?

        And its beyond the point: it’s about internal French politics. You can bet shifting the problem to the other side of the Chanel wizld be warmly welcomed around Calais.

        French politicians are no different from British ones. They also have voters to pléiade.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 26, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          Tabulazero

          Er YOU never mentioned illegal immigrants YOU said the French were going to move the “jungle camp” to Dover. Therefore you are wrong and changing the goalposts just shows you up for being wrong.

          You dont seem to understand the rules either. Having control of our borders means we are perfectly entitled under international law to tell the French that as these people arrived in THEIR country first its THEIR responsibility to take them . Anyway if they have already arrived in Dover why would they stay in a camp there? The whole point is that even destitute refugees dont want to live in France if they can live in the UK and once here they have no need to live in Dover. Do keep up, you are totally clueless

          • Tabulazero
            Posted April 26, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            What are the odds that the French government decides to politely ignore your opinion ?

            Don’t get me wrong but you do not get to vote in the next elections but the people of Calais will. It’s not the same.

          • hefner
            Posted April 27, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            I don’t who the most clueless is.
            Very few “migrants” actually arrive directly in France. They usually come via Italy or Spain.
            So no need to be so aggressive with people who do not agree with you at 100%, particularly when you appear to be rather un- or mis-informed.

          • libertarian
            Posted April 27, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            Dear Tabulazero & hefner

            I’m not being “aggressive ” I’m pointing out your inability to follow your own arguments.

            Indeed refugees and immigrants arrive in lots of different places in Europe and then travel through open borders. You will find the rule still stands. That they should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive at.

            The French government can ignore who they like, it makes not a jot of difference to the fact that you are totally wrong about the Calais jungle moving to Dover. If you can’t follow some very obvious facts then I suggest you give up debating, because as I already pointed out there would be absolutely no point to having a jungle camp in Dover even if it could be “moved there” because the aim of the refugees in Calais is to get to the UK , so I think you’ll find that Dover is in the UK and once there they will disperse around the country.

            So to answer your question hefner It seems its you thats the most clueless….. who knew

      • rose
        Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        And anyway, when they do get through, they don’t camp in Kent: they make straight for the English cities.

        • Original Richard
          Posted April 26, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          And Mr. Macron well understands that if he allows large numbers of illegal migrants to make it to the UK, northern France will have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of such migrants roaming northern France instead of tens of thousands.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Half of Macron’s populace are angry with the EU, incensed over immigration and respectful of the British and Brexit. They will not be satisfied with Brit bashing.

      In effect yet another referendum on the EU such are the levels of satisfaction with it.

      • hefner
        Posted April 26, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Are you so sure of that? Have you got any proof or reference?
        My experience (in a tiny part of France I know) is that British people are very welcome. But these British people tend to be full of curiosity, not a characteristics I would immediately associate with some of the French (or for that matter other continental) bashing often appearing on this blog.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          hefner

          In your haste to be patronising I think you need to re read what anon posted. It reads to me that he is saying that the French are NOT happy about certain EU politicos bashing Brits.

          • hefner
            Posted April 27, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

            Indeed, you’re a right. Apologies.

  20. jack snell
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Yes- but isn’t it exciting to see so much change with promise of better things to come and not alone for France but for neighbouring countries as well. As another commentator put it French politics has turned away from left/right to a new type of global liberal vs nationalist protectionist… out with the old in with the new…wish we could have some of the same!

  21. ChrisS
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I know I’ve suggested this before but could you not run an ongoing Brexit discussion thread, at least throughout the election campaign ?

    On this morning’s Today Programme we have Labour’s take on Brexit from arch-Remainer Starmer. This would be a game-changer if they had the slightest hope of winning.

    Starmer is clearly skewing Labour’s strategy towards remaining in the EU although I’m not sure that Corbyn or Labour’s voters in the North are going to be too pleased about it.

    He seems to be saying that if we get a rotten deal – almost guaranteed given the very poor quality of the occupants of Labour’s front bench – the Commons could vote the deal down and under Labour, rather than leave without a deal, that would automatically send the government back to the negotiating table.

    That would enable the Remainers to conspire with the 27 to extend the talks indefinitely with continuing payments of £10bn pa and FOM. Meanwhile the ECJ would still remain supreme.

    He’s even covered off the uncertainty over residency rights, at least for the 3m living here, by saying that Labour would grant them full rights from the 8th June. Not sure where that leaves our citizens living in Europe.

    I suppose Starmer’s idea would be that we would stay in this limbo state until our voters get fed up with the process and give up on the idea of Brexit.

    Naturally the 27 would jump at this opportunity as they keep on getting our money and it would save them the trouble of trying to persuade the UK to hold a second referendum to try and change the result.

  22. hefner
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Macron, a former socialist party minister. Yes, but it seems never a socialist party member, called to the government to introduce a number of very liberal (for France) economic reforms by Hollande and Valls. Moreover a former Rothschild banker, I would think hardly a leftist (or is JR a leftist?)
    See Macron’s profile in the Telegraph’s website.

    It will be very interesting to see, if Macron becomes President, what type of support he will be able to get following the French legislative elections in June, and if his government goes on with the Le Touquet agreement on UK-France transfer-border agreement.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      hefner

      Once again you show your flawed understanding. Most investment banks support leftist parties. Goldman Sachs has always been a massive supporter of both Democrats in US and Labour here. Theres a simple reason. Leftism is about central control and the removal of self reliance and freedom of the people and Investment banks love being in control and driving the people where they want them

      • hefner
        Posted April 26, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        I am afraid you are a bit mixed-up. Most investment banks want to make money from whatever country with whatever government. Try to think about the investments over the last forty-fifty years in countries like Chile, Indonesia, other Asian countries … and how and when money was moved around following changes in government.

        The trend in “economic thinking framework” now seems to move from left wing vs. right wing to open vs. close societies.
        You seem to be stuck in a time-warp. My “understanding” might only be “flawed” given your rather rigid and certainly dated way of thinking.
        With this in mind, the choice between Macron/Le Pen projects rather nicely into this open/close debate.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          hefner

          I can assure you from very personal experience you are talking cobblers.

          The investment banks have as i said demonstrably 1) Financially and politically been supporting left wing parties

          I didn’t mention them making money ( of course they will schmooze whoever it takes) I refuted your incorrect statement that Investment banks aren’t left wing supporters…you are wrong.

          As to your patronising bilge about “economic thinking frameworks” or academic cliched tosh as its normally known. You have no idea of what my thinking is. Yeh I’m so stuck in a timewarp that I’ve pioneered two breakthru tech companies… Come back when you’ve actually done something in the real world

          The choice between Macron/L Pen isn’t a choice of much at all both being left wingers, admittedly Le Pen being more left than Macron but that wasn’t what you tried to argue. You tried to argue that as a former Investment Banker he couldn’t be left wing, a more striking example of blinkered, timewarp stereotyping would be hard to find

      • hefner
        Posted April 26, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Along the same “open/close” lines, I am very curious to see how the UK election campaign is going to pan out. To me, Brexit contains the idea of opening out to the world, to trade deals with as many countries out of the EU as possible, all that with a good fraction of the British people who voted for Brexit to “close” themselves from outside influence, for retiring to Good Old England. And this with Trump who does not seem too keen on such an opening.

        Whether Conservative, Labour or UKIP, I am looking forward to seeing how the party strategists will try to square the circle.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          hefner

          I know very very few Brexiters that want to close themselves off from the outside world. Do you have any hard evidence for this? The UKIP wing and a few others are anti immigration, but most of us aren’t anti immigration we just want it managed better and to take account of the economic and lifestyle impacts on the country. I’ve not ever heard a single Brexiteer say they want no trade deals with other countries. It was Labour and the pro EU Gordon Brown that wanted laughably British jobs for British people. So what is this “outside influence” that you claim a majority dont want?

          • hefner
            Posted April 27, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

            I do not doubt that among entrepreneurs (whatever the size of their company) a number of Brexiters are open to the world. Now are you sure that all employees in these companies think the same? I would guess they essentially want some job security and steady and potentially growing salaries.
            I expect the PM will make such promises, specially because she will not be the one to deal with the nitty-gritty details.
            We just have to hope that all the (implicit) promises made during the referendum campaign, and the new ones of this campaign will be fulfilled.

          • libertarian
            Posted April 27, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            hefner

            I agree that workers want stability and hopefully an income that keeps ahead of inflation.

            The reality is that we already have a massive shortage of skills and workers. Unemployment at 4.5% and falling and 767,000 unfilled job openings.

            As far as workers are concerned, as far as I can see no trade union has come out saying that we should be isolationist , although the government has imposed an employer tax on tier 2 workers of £1000 per year per worker.

            It appears to me that your argument is really about immigration and the fact that people moan about it and thats what you see as closing us off.

            I agree that if we did do that ( close down overseas workers) we would have massive problems in terms of getting work done. Thats why the govt will scrap their immigration targets and talk more about managed immigration.

            If they play this right they can highlight that people will only be able to come in future and stay for as long as they have a job and therefore will not be a drain on the welfare system.

  23. rose
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    As in the Dutch election, the established Socialist Party collapsed, though socialists turned out to vote.

  24. Antisthenes
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    It is certain Macron will be the next president of France. I understand him to be economically right wing and socially left. The former he has no chance of achieving the French will never allow it as they are not supporters of Anglo zone free market capitalism and competition. So much of French production is in the hands of the state that 55% of the working population work for the government either as civil servants or are in the public sector. It works for them after a fashion because they are ardent protectionists and the rest of us let them get away with it.

    He will of course be an improvement on Hollande who so ably demonstrated the fallacies of socialist policies. A lesson as usual lost on the lefties of other nations. Like Sarkozy before him he will be able to implement a few employment and other economic reforms and the economy will pick up but only back to the normal slow growth rates. Le Pen if elected would have been economically a disaster for France but happily would have curtail the ambitions of the EU. She would have been an asset for us Brexiteers. Macron unfortunately for us is very much the opposite.

    • getahead
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Macron will do as the elites tell him.

  25. forthurst
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Interestingly, le Pen’s rallies are packed with enthusiastic supporters, Macron’s not so, so where exactly is Macron’s ‘movement’? Is it anything more than an ‘establishment’ confection to replace the damaged left and right? The regions of France which support Macron would appear to those least clued up and more likely to believe what they are told about a ‘centrist’ who just happens to have worked for banksters, belonged to Hollande’s government and married a woman old enough to be his mother. After a pair of unFrench, vertically challenged Presidents, can France afford to elect Macron without coming apart at the seams?

    • hefner
      Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      forthurst, interesting question about Macron. A spokesperson for him was claiming this Thursday morning 200,000 paying supporters! What seems to be verified is that 14,000 people have put themselves forward to possibly become a En Marche official MP candidate. There is a selection panel who is claimed to have already selected 470. such candidates.
      As for Le Pen it is now recognised that she is openly helped/supported/advised by a small dozen of past and more recent ENA graduates (Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the very top school for civil service, which has provided all governments of the V-th Republique with ministers, Chiefs of cabinet, ambassadors …). Macron is an alumnus, but before him, Giscardd’Estaing, Chirac, Hollande, …

      Pundits now announce that the Front National could get between 50-80 MPs following the elections in June for next Parliament so practically not enough if it is President Le Pen trying to apply her programme, and a pain in the neck if President Macron tries to apply his.

      Interesting times. Certainly more fun to watch than the coming UK elections.

  26. henfer
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    On this 25 April, maybe a thought for the tens of thousands of dead soldiers from the British Empire, particularly those from the Australian & New Zealander Army Corps first in Gallipoli, then on the Somme. And an additional but maybe more critical thought for the Lord of the Admiralty who sent a large number of these men to what was their death, all from the comfort of his office in London.

  27. Jason wells
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    As a spectacle i never thought french politics could be so interesting and with the run-off to the second round in two weeks time the antics in the intervening time should act as a well timed diversion to our own election antics/yawn on 8th june with its now too predictable outcome. With Labour going into meltdown under Corbyn and no hope for any other party i fear we are heading into a one man rule and probably for the next twenty years. So congrats to the french..at least they have real choice over there.

  28. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Morning Mr Redwood

    I assume by the length of time moderation has taken over the last couple of days added to Labour’s hijacking of the initiative that compiling an agreeable manifesto is a bit of a challenge for your party.
    etc

    Reply Not so, but I do have a lot to do given the surprise of an early election

  29. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    It would appear the political system is a lot more responsive and democratic in France than here. Here the Tories and Labour seem to have a stranglehold on power. Quite why has always baffled me. Especially now with the internet about to provide mass communication very cheaply.

  30. a-tracy
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Macron wrote the Macron Law didn’t he, so much for free market EU wannabe, he wants protectionism for France with goods moving through needing French documentation and workers paid at least the French minimum wage. He is France’s Blair and that choice got us in this mess in the first place.

  31. Gary C
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    The French will vote for more of the same this time.

    My crystal ball show’s Macron the Euro Puppet will take the second round then after a short honeymoon the electorate will begin to realise their mistake, unemployment will rise, anger and unrest will follow along with the fear that enforced mass immigration will bring, fast forward to the next elections when . . . . . . . . Marine Le Pen will get in.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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