Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!

The strangest element of the current Presidential campaign in France is not the elevated support for the National Front’s Marine Le Pen but the candidacy of Emmanuel Macron.

Macron, aged 39, has never been elected as a political figure and has never faced accountability to an electorate. Diana Johnstone, at CounterPunch, has summarized his career trajectory as powered by patronage.

Macron has been a driving force behind the neo-liberal agenda of the Hollande Presidency – in Hollande’s team during his candidacy (while employed at Rothschild et cie), then as deputy secretary-general of the Elysée responsible for economic policy (2012-14), and then as Economy Minister (August 2014 – August 2016). Hollande’s Presidency has now been discredited, with no small thanks to Macron.

Yet here is Macron claiming to be the only man to cut through the political fog and lead France out of its economic doldrums. He has contributed mightily to emasculating the Parti Socialiste yet is offering himself as the man to fill the vacuum. Macron will deliver an undiluted version of what made Hollande unelectable for a second term.

Macron was running for the Presidency while still functioning as the Economy Minister, creating his movement En Marche in early April 2016. On 14 April, in London with a delegation to offer support for the British government in opposing a pro-Brexit vote, Macron slipped away to drum up backers and finance for his nascent Presidential ambitions. Prime Minister Manuel Valls was not amused.

Chauncey Gardiner for President

In Macron there is a touch of Chauncey Gardiner, Jerzy Kosinki’s ‘hero’ in Being There. Albeit with a twist. Chance, the mindless illiterate gardener, has nothing inside. Yet he is fabricated as a visionary by patronage and the media. Said Chance, to growing acclaim:

“In a garden, growth has its season. There are spring and summer, but there are also fall and winter. And then spring and summer again. As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all will be well.”

Macron’s vacuity is on the outside. Here’s Macron, drumming up support on the warrior maiden Jeanne d’Arc’s hallowed territory of Orléans in May 2016. How does one fashion the charisma essential for political success:

“Politics is mystical. … It’s a mixture of intuition and intelligence. I have always taken into account the vertical, transcendental dimension, but at the same time it must be anchored in complete immanence, in materiality. I don’t believe in spiritual transcendence.”

Here’s Macron at a meeting of potential supporters, 11 July 2016:

“This movement, nothing is able to stop it. This movement, because it is the movement of hope, will carry us to 2017 and to victory. In this battle, we will take risks. And I will take them with you.”

Here’s Macron’s early April plea to French expatriates, seeking their vote:

“Today I want to present my program: progressive, European, transcending the old cleavages and sterile oppositions. A program which liberates work and innovation, all in protecting individuals. A program of hope, yet exacting and responsible.”

What? Macron achieved a large following almost overnight, without a program until February 2017. As sociologists François Denord and Paul Lagneau-Ymonet note in the March 2017 issue of Le Monde Diplomatique (in English):

“… [he is] a man who stands above political parties, combining good intentions, technical expertise and the latest methods for governing the country. If you have such a man, you don’t need a programme.”

Macron claims to be ‘neither left nor right’. He early cultivated the far-right figure Philippe de Villiers (a Jeanne d’Arc zealot), at the time noting ‘Honesty requires me to tell you that I am not a Socialist’. Macron has simultaneously called French colonialism ‘a crime against humanity’, praised the European Parliament’s passage of the destructive EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement (CETA), emphasized the centrality of France as a multicultural society, opined that the West should go in hard against the Syrian regime, and claimed that Hollande’s passage of ‘marriage for all’ legislation was a humiliation for a good many French people.

Macron is playing catch-all (attrape-tout), garnering the votes from across the spectrum. Mr Clean, Mr Sheen. The legal affairs diarist Régis de Castelnau appropriately labels him a televangelist.

Like Kosinki’s character, Macron is almost wholly a creature of patronage and of the media.

Here’s Denord and Lagneau-Ymonet on the patronage:

“Macron’s style was to secure a position in a powerful institution with the help of an influential mentor, stay there as long as it took to build connections, then move on to a more prestigious post. He spent less than three years each at the finance inspectorate, Rothschild and the Elysée secretariat. When launching his En Marche! (Forward!) movement in April 2016 at the age of 39, he mobilised contacts he had made at each stage.”

And a representative vignette on the role of patrons of the media. In October 2016, Claude Perdriel, proprietor of the weekly business magazine Challenges, enthused: “I find in him something of [Pierre] Mendès France”. Claims Perdriel, Macron is a cultivated man. ”He knows all the philosophers, from the Greeks to our days … That provides a good foundation for doing what is necessary [in politics].”

All aboard the Macron express

The bulk of the French mainstream media has jumped on board, including public media. It finds no fault in Macron, yet finds nothing but faults in Macron’s opponents (Jean-Luc Mélenchon) or merely ignores their existence (François Asselineau). The major flagships of the private media are now owned by very wealthy men, men of business. Cui bono? Throw in some of the provincial media as well. The magazines have Macron as a man of fine features and with his wife a couple of glamour. After the deeply flawed Nicolas Sarkozy and the sub-normal François Hollande, here’s the man to ‘Make France Great Again’.

De Castelnau notes that it is curious that the media and the Parquet national financier (the judicial body concerned with public financial fraud) are selective in their pursuits. François Fillon, the ‘centre-right’ Les Républicains candidate, is being hounded for his generosity with public funds to family members. Ditto Marine Le Pen for understating her wealth, with half her National Front colleagues being indicted for ripping off the public purse.

The opacity of Macron’s personal patrimony and of his campaign’s financial backing has not received comparable attention. A diligent blogger, Olivier Berruyer (trained as an actuary!), has doggedly interrogated the almost hard-up figures that Macron has submitted to the electoral authority. Where are the millions, mostly earned when employed at Rothschild? Lacking any real estate holdings (in his wife’s name), Macron comes in 10th of the eleven Presidential candidates in declared wealth, beating only the down-at-heel Philippe Poutou, the perennial worker candidate from the radical party NPA.

The matter of Macron’s liability for the impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF, solidarity tax on wealth) is representative. Macron made no declaration when launching his candidacy (modesty of the family real estate), denying liability, but the fisc belatedly decided that he was. Yet in April 2016, in the insurance industry’s publication Risques, he expressed opposition to the ISF in principle. He noted, “If one has a preference for risk over unearned income, as in my case, one should prefer a tax on inheritance to taxes like the ISF”. Yet again, Macron as government Minister was repudiating government policy off the cuff.

The French establishment self-consciously acknowledges two candidates – François Fillon and Emmanuel Macron. There are business elites and luminaries in both camps. In Fillon’s camp is the highly influential Henri de Castries, ex-CEO of AXA. Behind Macron are some weighty players like the billionaires Bernard Arnault and Yannick Bolloré, as well as the man with all the connections Alain Minc. Denord and Lagneau-Ymonet join the dots for the Fillon supporters in the February issue of Le Monde Diplomatique and for the Macron supporters in LMD’s March issue.

Seminal is both formal and unofficial support for Macron of a swag of Parti Socialiste deputies and heavies, to the detriment of their own Party candidate Benoît Hamon. Foremost is Richard Ferrand, Secretary General of En Marche!, who is nevertheless a PS Deputy. Ferrand is an endorsed PS candidate for the legislative elections in June.

Pundits have speculated that the PS right is taking the opportunity to refashion its organization, conveniently jettisoning the PS leftwing in the old hulk that the right has scuttled, and jumping ship to Macron. The so-called centre-right has rebranded itself as Les Républicains. The PS right-wing deserters could readily refashion themselves as Au Marché! With Macron at the Elysée the ex-pseudo-socialists will be right at home under the banner En Marche au Marché!

Fillon’s independent line on Europe and foreign policy makes him suspect to Atlanticists. But Fillon’s and Macron’s domestic programme are in essence indistinguishable – slash and burn, albeit Macron is the more purist of the two. What the PS and Macron have achieved, replicating the capitulation of Labor and Social Democrat parties everywhere, is to make it near impossible via the ballot box to resist the reactionary agenda of Capital. The right of the PS had their man in 2012 in Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but he became otherwise engaged. Macron is the DSK hand-me-down.

In March, the Belgian paper Le Soir labelled Macron as ‘the last bulwark against the shipwreck’. The title captured the attitude across political party heavies that one should vote for Macron, even if opportunistically, to avoid handing the Presidency to ‘populists and extremists’.

However, one blogger on Mediapart has reasonably surmised that if Macron is elected in May, rather than vanquishing lepenism (as in 2002 when everybody ganged up to vote in the shop-worn Chirac against Jean-Marie Le Pen), Macron’s hardline program will enhance the prospects of a Marine Le Pen victory in 2022.

Others have opined that, rather than claiming to save democracy by supporting the first spiv that comes along, it would be far more sensible to struggle against the system that has made the National Front so popular. Ah, but the elites don’t want to change the system, and they can’t afford to acknowledge the causal chain by which Marine Le Pan has capitalized on their neglect and their bastardry.

The mob fiercely pro-Macron are the ‘Europeanists’. Macron’s beef with the European Union is that it’s not Europeanized enough. He wants a centralized fiscal apparatus to complement centralized monetary policy.

He has gone to Berlin to kowtow, confessing that France is a backslider, promising to discipline France into the necessary ‘structural reforms’. The German Social Democrats love him for this. As in 1914 when they voted war credits, the Social Democrats care more about the German Imperium than about social democracy.

Thus Macron has been given the blessing of Angela Merkel, the European monarch, to subject France further to the hegemony of Brussels and Berlin. France will be placed under guardianship – a kind of grander version of the pathetic state of Greece. Charming.

The interior Macron

Interiorly, there is nothing inside Chauncey Gardiner. By contrast, everyone knows what the interior Emmanuel Macron stands for. Except that only the dissident media join the dots.

Macron appears to be simply a functionary for business and its representatives, big business in particular.

In January 2012, when Hollande, on the campaign trail, claimed that his ‘adversary is the world of finance’, Macron went to London to reassure the financial community that it would be business as usual.

In early March 2017, Macron gave a speech claiming that prudential rules governing the finance sector were too constraining. The rules are restricting delivery of credit to the real economy, he says. The rules (globally determined, mind you) need to be taken out of the hands of the regulators and given to the European finance ministers at Ecofin to determine at their discretion. This over-the-top opinion, straight from the finance lobby creed, was bizarrely delivered to a small business peak body group. Mediapart’s Martine Orange highlights that French businesses are not facing a credit dearth but a paucity of demand in a stagnant European economy.

The would-be President for structural reform

Macron has no time for the public sector, even though it has been the springboard for his career.

In October 2014, only two months into his role as Economy Minister, Macron proposed that the state assertively move to privatize the energy and transport networks, to help repair the budget deficit, to open the networks to competition as a matter of principle and to free up capital for its most productive use. The audience comprised a bevy of infrastructure investors.

This at a time when the Cour des comptes (the French equivalent of the GAO) and the competition authority have been highlighting the disaster produced from the privatization of the autoroutes (starting under the right in 2006). The developer Vinci gained €2.6 billion in profits in 2016 from its autoroute leases, over 60% of its global profits. Three-quarters of developer Eiffage’s 2016 profits of €1.58 billion were from autoroute leases. Monopoly networks are a license to print money, and the consumer pays for the privatized monopoly profits necessarily extracted in higher charges.

Macron himself oversaw further concessions to the autoroute companies in April 2015. When an ecologist protestor attempted to obtain relevant document via administrative appeal, Macron refused to produce the documents in claiming they were commercial-in-confidence. In July 2016, just before he left office, legislation modifying public procurement procedures (supposedly to support small business) apparently found Macron inserting clauses that favored the already engorged developer giants of the BTP (bâtiments et travaux publics) sector.

In December 2014, Macron half-privatized the Toulouse-Blagnac airport, sold to a Chinese consortium located in a tax haven. Macron claimed that the various state authorities had retained control, but he had secretly conceded control to the purchasers. It was demanded of the Chinese consortium that the owners implement an ‘industrial logic’ for the airport’s management (Airbus is just down the road). The owners ignored the conditions and have treated the airport as a cash cow, including the distribution of significant reserves as dividends. Regional airports at Nice and Lyon were majority privatized in July 2016.

In September 2015 Macron talked at the club ‘En temps réel’. He found it unacceptable that bureaucrats in his Finance Ministry should enjoy job security. This from a man accepted into the Inspection des finances, to which he could return at any time, that houses the most privileged public servants in the entire bureaucracy.

Macron went straight off to the OECD to add weight to the OECD’s external pressure on France to implement the Loi Macron package.

In early March 2017, Macron belatedly laid out his agenda in some detail. He claimed the necessity to reduce public expenditure by €60 billion over five years. Measures to achieve this draconian excision include the axing of 50,000 civil service posts, a ceiling on health spending (a sector already in crisis) and a reduction in local government spending. Mediapart’s Martine Orange (in English) highlights that Macron’s agenda is a crude and transparent cut and paste from the European Commission’s stability programs of the last several years.

Macron appears to have never seen a regulation of working conditions that he likes. The Loi Travail, dedicated to loosening conditions for employer benefit, had been subject to multiple drafts under multiple authors. It was finally imposed by the government on a dissenting Assembly and Senate over the period March to August 2016, via the draconian section 49.3 of the French Constitution (introduced originally to inhibit governing impasses regularly arising during the Fourth Republic). Macron managed to have included, his reluctant senior Cabinet colleagues conceding, measures to ease employer rights to sackings and to lower sacked employee payouts.

Other European countries have been deregulating working conditions (more accurately, re-regulating in employer interests) for some time. But the top banana has been the German ‘Hartz’ reforms introduced by Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2002. Macron brought Peter Hartz to the aforementioned En temps reel club in January 2014 (while an Elysée staffer) to explain what happened in Germany, with a view to how they could be replicated in France.

In Chance’s vision, autumn and winter are inevitable but they give away again to spring and summer. Macron’s autumn and winter heralds the organic inevitability of ‘structural reforms’, but which leads inexorably to the spring and summer of a re-invigorated French economy.

Guru reports on the French economic malaise

To understand Macron’s mentality, one must resurrect the 2008 Attali Report (Rapport de la Commission pour la libération de la croissance française). It was sponsored by the then young Sarkozy presidency. Macron was brought into the Attali Commission by his patrons, and its brief provided Macron with his first exposure to the broad character of public policy, compared to the narrow perspective of his responsibilities as an inspector of finances.

The report is a dog’s breakfast. There are some useful summary figures on the French economic malaise. Some key sectors are highlighted for their weaknesses – for example, the educational and university systems for inequality of access and gaps in skills produced, the financial sector for the gaps in its funding.

As for recommendations for ‘the liberation of French growth’, it is a joke – a contradictory mishmash. There is a gee-whiz emphasis on a comprehensive implantation of a ‘knowledge economy’ infrastructure for a rapid siliconvalleyization of France, with a hunger for risk that will raise France to where it belongs – amongst the prime movers of a rapidly evolving globalized economy. But the essence of the report is the ‘get the overbearing, old model, French state out of life, and stop molly-coddling businesses’. Competition is seen as the cure-all mantra. Enforce comprehensive flexibility and mobility on the labour force, albeit compensating it for its troubles in time of ‘transition’. The report wants a state apparatus that is visionary and comprehensively interventionist and yet comprehensively dismantling itself at the same time.

There are crocodile tears and genuflexion to the relative sufferings of underprivileged segments and the need to alleviate their problems, all of which will be magically transformed under a newly achievable rapid economic growth and strategic orientation of priorities to those segments.

The report was written in 2007, imagining an endless large-scale global growth trajectory. No cracks in the contemporary edifice were observed. So much for expertise. There are glib takes on purported deregulatory success stories elsewhere, highlighting that the report’s authors have only a fragmentary understanding of what makes national economies viable and sustainable. In particular, they don’t understand the complex underpinnings of Germany (by which France’s failings are perennially compared) as an industrial and economic powerhouse.

There is only passing mention of the unevenness of French management capacity, and its addiction to extravagant dividend distributions and self-remuneration. The treatment of the failures of the dominant French financial institutions to serve the public interest is superficial. There is no mention of the dysfunctionality of the European Union and of the euro, of the inhibitions dictated by Brussels to well-focused industry policies. There is no mention of the widespread tax evasion by corporations and wealthy individuals that robs the French exchequer of considerable resources to finance its social responsibilities.

Fundamentally, the report is naïve on how capitalism itself works and on the venality of elites, French and otherwise. Jacques Attali has been a longtime insider in the French establishment. The Attali Commission itself was stuffed with members of the establishment and their scribes. Auto-critique is missing from the ledger. More, the notion that the multitudes to be strategically cast on the rough seas of total flexibility might be compensated for their pain is laughable. As for the mythical calm shores on the other side …

The executive summary of the report ends with a bizarre ultimatum:

All these decisions [316 of them] form a coherent ensemble and must be implemented speedily. It is not a matter here of recommendations available for consideration, nor of a catalogue which can be selectively appropriated for electoral purposes. To take effect as soon as possible, all these decisions must be approved and prepared in detail from January to April 2008. They must subsequently be implemented between April 2008 and June 2009.

The authors demand that implementation should proceed quick smart (tambour battant), whoever is in office. The arrogance and absurdity of it all.

Sarkozy, credited with not being the most intelligent cab off the rank, astutely confronted that this report was from the other side of hell and it was readily crucified on the cross of political expediency. Taxi drivers were an early conduit. Taxi drivers remain a conduit regarding their hostility to Macron’s attachment to Uberization.

Attali is the titular author (amongst other books) of the weighty Karl Marx ou l’esprit du monde, published in 2005. It is a work sympathetic to its subject and well informed on the context in which Marx lived and wrote, and of the evolving economic system. It is difficult to understand how the author of Karl Marx could also be the figurehead of the garbled, essentially neoliberal Attali Report. There must be more than one Jacques Attali.

What did Macron learn from his participation in the Attali Commission? From his initiatives as Economy Minister and his public pronouncements, he has cherry-picked his priorities. The dismantling component is favored to the neglect of the rest. The rest is dispensable padding. Supply-side economics has to be swallowed neat – by others of course.

Thus Macron resurrected the Attali Report from its internment as inspiration for his omnibus Loi Macron and subsequent Loi Travail. As Mediapart’s Laurent Mauduit notes, the Loi Macron – content, language and jumbled formulation – has been cut and pasted from the Attali Report. Macron began work on his Loi Macron soon after he assumed office in August 2014, forcing it into consideration in the Assembly in January 2015.

The draft measures had Gerard Filoche, PS Deputy, PS senior official and former workplace inspector, spitting chips. Filoche noted that legislation in June 2013 had already dramatically liberalized employer retrenchment options. But compensating procedures for employee rights had been put in place and some administrative tribunals were ensuring employers adhered to them. The ambition of relevant sections of the Loi Macron were to obliterate these compensatory mechanisms, giving employers absolute discretion over retrenchments. Hence the subsequent public resistance to the implementation of Macron’s agenda.

The incoming Hollande administration wanted its own report, and it gave the job to Louis Gallois, a man with a stellar career in industrial management. The Gallois Report (Pacte pour la competitivité de l’industrie française) was presented in November 2012. Again a mixed bag, again contradictory. There are numerous recommendations to facilitate industrial restructuring and renaissance. However proposition No.4 recommended ‘a competitiveness shock’, granting businesses a €30 billion concession from social security reductions (2/3 business, 1/3 employee), to be partly offset by a raising of other non-business taxes.

Proposition No.4 was the only one readily taken up by the government. The proposition appears surprisingly out of character given Gallois’ exceptional professional history, a man deeply familiar with the ins and outs of maintaining viable highly technical industrial sectors. It appears that Gallois was partly a figurehead for the input from business interests.

Thus was readily set in place, beginning 2013, the Crédit d’impôt pour la compétitivité et l’emploi (CICE, ‘tax credit for competitiveness and employment’). The rationale was that labor costs in France were too high (especially by comparison with those in Germany), and that this adverse cost differential was responsible for France’s long term decline in export earnings and for its ongoing deindustrialization. These concessions would give businesses the latitude to invest and to innovate – to ‘compete’. The report stipulated that these concessions were not to be utilized to finance dividend payments or salary hikes.

A year later, January 2014, the government announced the Pacte de responsabilité, involving further social security contribution concessions in supplementing those granted under CICE. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault claims that he was kept out of the loop. The policy was devised by Hollande with Macron and some employers. A major party to the initiative was Pierre Gattaz, ravenous President of the key employer organization MEDEF, for whom no concessions have ever been enough. The budgetary cost of CICE/Pacte .has reached €40 billion per year.

Here is Macron again being selective, ignoring the complex industrial restructuring propositions that accompanied the ‘competitiveness shock’ proposition.

Qualifications for the top job?

The representative politician is a flesh-and-blood individual. Emmanuel Macron appears to be of another species – simply a dogma wrapped in an ego.

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a National Front Deputy (and niece of NP Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen) has claimed that: “For Macron, France should be seen like a startup business. For him, our country is not a nation, it’s a space”. MMLP is a hardliner in a Party accused of having only bile where its brains ought to be, but she has a point.

Macron attended Sciences-Po and the École nationale d’administration, up there with the cream, but he does not appear well-educated. There was the gaffe that had him thinking that French Guiana, a hangover colony now in rebellion, is an island. In any case, Latin America is on another planet and geography is not everyone’s strong suit. Sarkozy himself didn’t understand that the Libya that he destroyed was strategically located between France and the rest of Africa.

Macron, like his co-members at the Attali Commission, prefers not to acquire a better understanding of how national economies work (or not), how capitalism itself works. He appears to have digested little history. He shows no understanding that reform of the European Union is of a higher priority than reform of France – but then he has a lot of fellow travelers in this blindness, with detractors labeled as crackpots.

Bizarrely, in May 2016 Attali publicly put down his protégé as a hollow man. There is no honour among thieves. How many Jacques Attalis are there?

Telling of a zealot, Macron has declined to learn from the adverse outcomes of the implementation of his ideological principles to date.

The CICE/Pacte concessions have been going for four years. All reports indicate minor increases in investment and minor gains, at best, in employment attributable to the scheme. The radical journal Fakir, late 2016, highlights how many jobs could have been created directly in deprived sectors like health services with the tens of billions thrown indiscriminately at businesses.

Fakir notes that the hypermarket chains Carrefour, Casino and the family-owned Auchan, major beneficiaries of CICE largesse, have dramatically increased dividends and management/director remunerations and reduced employment – contrary to the principles of the scheme. La Poste, with the state rail network SNCF the greatest CICE beneficiaries, has the pre-eminent reputation of workforce rationalization and brutal treatment of remaining staff, inducing despair and suicides amongst employees on an ongoing basis. Finance sector firms are also CICE recipients, and one finance sector union has pressed for the government to withdraw that sector from concessions due to abuse of the scheme and its ongoing maltreatment of its workforce.

The expensive non-functioning scheme has been retained without amendment. The government was hoping for 500,000 extra employed. MEDEF’s Gattaz claimed that, with sufficient concessions, his mob would deliver one million extra employed. It hasn’t happened. No word has been heard from Macron, in or out of office, regarding this transparent waste of scarce public resources, save to put the blame on Gattaz for letting the team down.

Another instance of cognitive dissonance is the policy out of the Loi Macron that introduced buses on inter-urban routes. Macron has regularly touted his ‘Macron cars’ as a great success. Five million passengers had been conveyed in the eighteen months from its introduction in August 2015. But Macron has declined to look under bonnet.

The project is simply not viable. There are no profits in it and little prospects of that scenario changing. Some firms have gone bust. There are only three companies in the game – Flixbus, a German company generating income from a near monopoly on home turf, and Ouibus (SNCF) and Isilines (Transdev), both state-owned. The employment generated has been trivial, and the working conditions (lacking profit), within a sub-contracting hierarchy, are intolerable. Then there’s the adverse ecological footprint. This is yet another instance of the ‘benefits’ of untrammeled competition, driven in the first instance by madcap ideologues in their Brussels ivory tower.

The inter-urban bus service has undoubtedly facilitated travel by low income people who have at present little alternative. But the rational solution is to consider transport as an integrated whole, and to develop a transport pricing policy (inevitably subsidized at points) that caters to the full spectrum of the population both geographically and across classes.

The transparent anomalies in the Macron apparatus

On his campaign trail, Emmanuel Macron has flagged a new broom – a moralization of public life and its petty and not so petty corruptions, an end to nepotism, etc. Yet his candidacy finances and his patrimony remain opaque. And his career trajectory post-education is the product of nepotism par excellence.

As Denord and Lagneau-Ymonet note:

“Macron presents himself as without a past or attachments, but embodies, personally and through his entourage, the collective heritage of the civil service, consultants and the financial sector — the core of the system sanctioned by his membership of the elite social club Le Siècle.”

How is it that a significant percentage of the French establishment are behind a candidate that is formally promising to drain the French swamp? It doesn’t add up.

Macron comes with the baggage of having his agenda as Economy Minister imposed by section 49.3. Contrary to the idolization of some of his supporters, Macron is not a democrat. Never having been a politician, Macron appears to have no instinct or sympathy for public opinion. The powers of the Presidency under the Vth Republic make Macron a dangerous candidate.

Five years of Macron in the Elysée will see public services demolished and inequalities dramatically enhanced. Nobody on a salary or in receipt of a pension in their right mind could consider voting for this courtier for Power.

Evan Jones is a retired political economist from the University of Sydney. He can be reached