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Ensemble with President Macron?

By Denis Bright

In the initial phase of this Sunday’s second round vote in the French presidential election, the charismatic Emmanuel Macron seemed destined for the Elysee Palace.

Then came the rival but opportunistic visits by both Emmanuel Macron and Marina Le Pen to the Whirlpool factory at Amiens in one of France’s northern industrial district.

Here the articulate Macron planned to chat with business and union representatives at the Chamber of Commerce to consider alternative futures for the workers from the white-goods factory. Ahead was a staged rally with adoring supporters in nearby Arras.

Concerned about Marina Le Pen’s support at the picket-line, Macron decided to front up to the picket line at the factory in Montieres, an industrial district in Amiens. Mrs. Le Pen’s visit was triumphant. Macron’s ended in unpleasant exchanges.

The potential damage to his second round campaign was evident as the evening news headlines went out across France. Predicting the outcomes of such incidents is a hazardous task.

The latest BVA Poll added to the complexity by predicting a 5 per cent increase in participation in the second round to 78 per cent.

After a late start from Emmanuel Macron both presidential candidates are now in populist mode.

Analysis of the first round election results shows the need for radical policy change in France so that the gains from a hesitant rate of economic growth can be shared more fairly.

Like most economies outside China, France has been through the whirlpool since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

This latest data for real GDP growth from the OECD shows that both France and even the US are struggling to maintain sufficient GDP growth to keep the lid on unemployment.

 

Volatility in Real GDP Growth (%)

 

 

National electorates are being swept by populist outrage as hesitant GDP growth is being unevenly shared as in the 1920s and The Belle Époque in France before 1914.

Interactive graphics of the first round of the presidential elections are available at national, regional, departmental and local levels across France (French Department of the Interior and also French Senate Online).

 

 

It is an easy task to zoom in on the voting patterns from the first round in the Amiens Commune and the wider Somme Region.

The economy of Amiens has become quite diversified since its industrial heyday.

In offering the prospect of extending the life of the Whirlpool factory in Amiens, Mrs. Pen is targeting voters in the hundreds of local communities across France which have been afflicted by similar structural changes.

Mrs. Le Pen’s first round vote in Central Amiens was indeed significantly below her national average of 21.30 per cent. In the more working class district of Longueau, the Left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon topped the poll (30.42 per cent) and Marine Le Pen came in second with 24.95 per cent.

If Mrs. Le Pen is to gain ground on 7 May, she must pick up more outraged voters by boosting the participation rate for voting with support from her flamboyant style of campaigning.

This involves mobilizing constituents who chose not to vote on 23 April because they were disillusioned with the policy options available from the field of eleven presidential candidates.

The abstention rate in Central Amiens on 23 April 2017 was 25.19 per cent and 17.52 per cent in Longueau.

Across France, the absentee rate was 22.23 per cent which is greater than Mrs. Le Pen’s vote of 21.30 per cent.

The electoral whirlpool for France extends well beyond the shadows of the factory in Montieres and forces Macron to reply in kind to avoid defeat on 7 May.

Emmanuel Macron has made successful campaign visits to meet disadvantaged youth in the northern suburb of Sarcelles in Paris, to the site of wartime massacre at Oradour-sur-Glance in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region and more recently to the Holocaust Museum in Paris.

Macron’s career background in public finance and investment banking can assist in transforming the French financial sector which is so distrusted on both sides of the political divide.

This financial sector about which Mrs. Le Pen has little understanding is the weak spot in France’s economic recovery.

In the OECD data available for the entire period from 2012-15, France displays negative capital flows to the global economy in billions of U.S. dollars.

 

The capital flight is not evident in some other European economies such as Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden with their strong internationalized private financial sectors.

The Hollande Government definitely expanded the role of the Caisse des Depots (CDC) to assist in financing public investment. CDC International Capital was founded as recently as 2014 to attract long-term foreign capital for essential scientific research, community development and infrastructure projects.

Such solutions do not feature in Mrs. Le Pen’s nostalgia for the Old France.

Moderate Expansion of the Caisse des Depots (billions of euros)

Another unknown is the likely voting patterns for the two rounds of elections for the Chamber of Deputies in June. The next half-Senate election will not be until September 2017 with the following round in 2020. Since 2014, the Socialist government has had to work with a hostile senate.

Both Australia and France are middle-sized economies which are struggling in their different ways from common problems of too much faith in the market model of economics and over-commitment to the U.S. foreign policy.

The incident at the Whirlpool factory has strengthened Macron’s commitment to his own second round slogan. Ensemble or working together is exactly what France needs. Let’s find out after this weekend’s second round if the wider electorate has been convinced by the changes in Emmanuel Macron’s campaign strategies.

Denis Bright is a registered teacher and a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis has recent postgraduate qualifications in journalism, public policy and international relations. He is interested in promoting discussion to evaluate pragmatic public policies that are compatible with contemporary globalization.

 

 

32 comments

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  1. michael lacey

    Le Pen has campaigned on a strategy that France is no longer a nation of left verses right and the first round certainly suggested as such. We now have the elitists who support a major project and people who are being left behind and ignored. Macron is an establishment man clearly picked out to follow the tried and tested route in mirror of Tony Blair . You choose a good looking reasonably intelligent man ; they put the same guy in Italy who has just been voted out recently ; they put the same guy in charge of the radicals in Greece so that he can carry on that project, Macron is of that ilk. No one has exactly shown where his money is coming from but however he is involved in banking! He fits perfectly into Le Pen’s narrative of this divide in Europe!

  2. Freethinker

    michael lacey description of Macron in some ways reminds me Turnbull and why people voted for him.
    I have the feeling that France will go trough to a big gap between classes if this man is in power.
    Having said that I do not like to see Le Pen win.

  3. helvityni

    Trump wants to build walls to keep America for white Christians, here we spend plenty to ‘protect’ our borders from certain races and religions…
    No more xenophobic racist leaders needed, so it’s a firm NO from me when it comes to Marina Le Pen, and YES to the centrist Macron.

  4. Michael Taylor

    There is more interest in this election outside of France than any other French election I can recall.

  5. astridnova

    There is a bit more to it since Nicolas Dupont-Aignan threw himself behind Le Pen. Here is my take on it in “Plausibles and implausibles in the French Presidential elections 2017” at https://candobetter.net/node/5197. I also don’t agree that Le Pen knows nothing about economics; it is more that she does not believe in the EU/US-NATO/Macron brand of economics. I’ve never seen her bested in a debate on the subject. Also you have not mentioned how the candidates pan out vis a vis war on Syria. This is a big issue in France, which isn’t viewing the US interference from an academic distance and it was a question posed to every candidate in the second presidential debate. I cover those views in my article. And, no, I am not advertising candobetter.net. I put these articles out in order to have discussion and debate. Thanks for yours.

  6. Sean Stinson

    A “Micron” –is an abbreviated term for “micrometer”, or a millionth of a meter (1/1,000,000 meters). This is about .00004 inches. For Size comparison, a human red blood cell is about 5 microns across. A human hair is about 75 microns across (depending on the person).
    A “Macron” — a similar infinitesimal measure of anything “left,” “progressive,” and “fair” in political life. This measure can also apply to the IQ of the French voters who think Macron has anything progressive to offer. – via Vladimir Goldstein

  7. A New France

    Globalization provides great opportunities for New Left policies. I think France has an independent future with Macron. The alternative is appalling.

  8. astridnova

    How can a future with Macron be ‘independent’? It would be dependent on the EU and continued globalisation and loss of national identity due to lack of effective borders.

  9. Sean Stinson

    Another “fake choice”. In fact, the same fake choice we are given with every election. The devil or the deep blue sea.

  10. Millie

    Macron is the only sane option for France now . Malacron did not make it into the second round .

  11. Leila Smith

    Great article, very comprehensive, it will be interesting to see the outcome and hopefully Macron will be the eventual winner

  12. Maria

    I think Macron will have the better outcome for the French population. Thanks for your insightful coverage of the french election Denis.

  13. Pat

    The future of France as an independent middle ranking country is so important as a model for Australia to follow.

    Macron offers the perspective of some progressive changes and he understands the mechanics of globalisation in international finance.

  14. burniebobthe_b_

    Summed up nicely on another site

    France’s fate is sealed.
    Macron (Austerity) is War.
    Le Pen(Austerity) is War.

  15. burniebobthe_b_

    Vox reports –
    “Emmanuel Macron is just 39, has never been elected, and represents the global elite.
    “Macron is a very fragile candidate. He’s young. He has absolutely no experience,” a senior French official told me, speaking on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the government. “Frankly, he’s making blunder after blunder after blunder.”
    Macron is a member of the French elite
    Macron is what the French call an énarque — that is, he studied at the École Nationale D’Administration, considered an elite feeder school for those who eventually go on to run the country. To go there is a calculated choice, a step on the path to public office.
    He questioned the sanctity of France’s 35-hour workweek (he’d be open to a longer one), the rigidity of the retirement age, and France’s notoriously inflexible laws of hiring and firing, which he saw as contributing to the stagnant economy.
    He embraces the European Union with both arms, wants policy that is predominantley EU policy against what some see as the interests of France and his Party En Marche is believed to have been largely funded by the EU and rumoured that his policies are being formulated by the EU.
    His opposition to Brexit keeps him endeared to the establishment EU powerbrokers.
    Indeed, given Le Pen’s campaign promises to pull France out of the EU and the common currency (or at the very least try), it isn’t an exaggeration to say that it’s more than France’s future that is riding on the fate of Emmanuel Macron. The future of the EU itself is as well.
    Is Macron running to maintain the EU and the EU agenda or for the governing of France

    No wonder so many have considered abstaining

  16. Paul

    Great article! The world is certainly watching this election with great interest!

    It’s really another test case for its neighbours!

    Not sure which way it will go.

  17. Sheila Newman

    The US Deep State is funding Macron.

    Quick Rundown
    -National Endowment for Democracy (NED) established to intervene in foreign politics in 1983.
    -It is officially a non-governmental organization.
    -It receives $50 million annually from the US government.
    -Proceeds to intervene in foreign politics.
    -1985 gets caught intervening in France against Mitterand.
    -Helped depose Pinochet
    -Finances candidates surreptitiously.
    -Sets up “think tanks” to launder the money.
    -Has shells for right, left, labor, and management.
    -Macron is a fluent English speaker and ex-Rothschild & Co banker.
    -Macron linked up with the NED in 2006.
    -Joined Fondation Jean Jaurès, a French NED puppet in 2006.
    -Spoke at Fondation Robert Schuman, another French NED puppet, events.
    -François Hollande utilizes the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI another NED puppet) for the 2012 Socialist Party primaries.
    -Tom McMahon, a DNC operative, helped the NDI organize the Socialist primaries in 2012.
    -President Hollande appoints Macron as the Minister of Economy and Finance.
    -Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notices him in 2012 in private correspondence.
    -Tomicah Tillemann, her advisor, coordinated NED efforts though the State Department.
    -Wikileaks confirmed the CIA interfered in the 2012 election.
    -Tom McMahon returned to France again in 2016.
    -Macron emerges as a well-funded dark horse candidate.
    -Moves to the second round of the elections against Marine Le Pen.
    -Macron endorsed by NED puppets Fillon, Sarkozy, Hollande, and Hamon.
    Coincidence detected.
    No-one else could beat Le Pen and neither could Macron without the deep state behind him. He is a hollow man.

  18. Matters Not

    Gee that’s great research Sheila Newman! All your own work?

    Or do you have the odd link or two? Would like to check out where they are coming from. So many puppets.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Sorry, Sheila, but that’s a bit of a stretch.

  20. Sheila Newman

    Sorry if it seemed like plagiarisation, but this has been published all over the place as “Anon” and others. The links are obvious because Macron’s backers are so obvious and the outcomes they and he seek are so obvious. And worth discussing. Here is but one link. https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/69ircy/4chan_links_macron_to_us_deep_state_funds_please/ You could also find it on pastebin.com – but cannot find it now.
    With regard to my own work regarding the elections and influences, some recent examples:
    https://candobetter.net/node/5200
    https://candobetter.net/node/5197
    https://candobetter.net/taxonomy/term/8220

    I wrote my research thesis 2002 on the different political systems in Australia and France, so have been following what is happening there since about 1998.

  21. Michael Taylor

    We really have had an influx of conspiracy theorists lately. Loony.

  22. Michael Taylor

    Sheila, you must have missed Media Watch last week. Lots of fake news being sourced from Reddit.

  23. Sheila Newman

    So, you think that calling people conspiracy theorists without any discussion helps your own argument or benefits this site? It is always interesting to see how people on this site behave. There are some real alternative journalists, then there are the ones who repeat the mainstream stuff and pretend that they are alternative.

  24. Matters Not

    And I see the ‘deep State’ has leaked all Macron’s Emails just to complicate matters and perhaps cover their tracks.

    But that couldn’t be true. There must be an alternative explanation.

  25. Sheila Newman

    I don’t think it was the ‘deep state’ that leaked his emails, of course. I think it was someone who doesn’t like the deep state. I don’t think it was Putin either. Macron has cooperated since 2006 with the Fondation Jean Jaures which is deeply entwined with the US deep state actors and which apes their usual propaganda as does Macron. (Macron has ‘cooperated with’ the Fondation Jean Jaurès since 2006.) The Center for American Progress is listed as one of the Fondation Jean Jaurès’s ‘Political partners’. The Board of Directors of the Center for American Progress is studded with pre-Trump administration and the Clinton/Soros aligned pro-EU and NATO warmongers. “CAP receives money from multibillionaire hedge fund manager George Soros through two of his nonprofit groups, the Foundation to Support Open Society and the Open Society Institute. From 2005 through 2010, the two organizations gave CAP over $5.4 million. CAP receives money from other liberal-leaning foundations, including the Tides Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the foundation of Progressive Insurance chairman Peter B. Lewis.” (https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/528-center-for-american-progress/). Macron is backing the European Union which is really aligned with the United States and Macron has stated that he approves of Trump’s recent foreign policy flip on the Middle East and North Korea (illegal actions). Macron has uncritically repeated the US CIA line of Putin being a dictator and a hacker. Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron are part of an increasingly Americanised France and western Europe. This is particularly sad because France used to be a reliable counterweight in the Middle East to Britain and the United States. If Europe and France do not regain independence our chances of WW3 increase. Marine Le Pen was likely to be more independent.

    Board of Directors of the Center for American Progress

    Sen. Tom Daschle, Chair
    Neera Tanden, President
    Secretary Madeleine Albright
    Carol Browner
    Glenn Hutchins
    Jonathan Lavine
    John Podesta
    Susan Sandler
    Tom Steyer
    Donald Sussman
    Jose Villarreal
    Hansjörg Wyss

  26. Michael Taylor

    No, Sheila, I don’t think that having crazy conspiracy theorists here would help this site.

  27. Sheila Newman

    So, being abusive to other commenters helps the site, Michael? You think trolling is okay? It is clear that you are unable to argue your points, if you have any.

  28. Michael Taylor

    I would hardly say that was abuse.

  29. Sheila Newman

    It was abusive because devoid of argument or merit and gratuitously unpleasant.

  30. Michael Taylor

    I seem to have the attitude that I can say what I like.

  31. Kaye Lee

    “there are the ones who repeat the mainstream stuff and pretend that they are alternative.”

    and then there are the ones that devote whole sites to every batshit crazy notion going around. From memory, one of Sheila’s favourites is that Port Arthur was a deep state conspiracy carried out by Israeli agents specifically to lead to the disarmament of the Australian people thus making them vulnerable to…..something?

    My question is the motivation of such people. Is it just click bait for the advertising revenue? Is it titillation? Is it deliberate subversion? Or are they just deluded?

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