Politics’ elasticity in the western world, as we have known it for the last few decades, has and still is being put to the test like never before.
Nearly a year ago, over 17 million voters in the United Kingdom backed leaving the European Union. Their vote was a cry for help combined with a serious dissatisfaction with the way the UK was governed and a f**k you salute to politicians and their poor performance in general. Months later, Donald Trump became President of the United States, because of the failure and sanctimony of mainstream politicians on the other side of the Atlantic. And France came a not too considerable distance away from the possibility of Marine Le Pen becoming President until today. However this time, a candidate of her kind failed.
I voted to Remain in the EU last year, albeit the referendum was one of the most disgusting experiences in my lifetime. The Remain side lacked patriotism and passion in defending the UK’s membership of the EU whilst the Leave side lacked any credibility in making the case for an independent United Kingdom outside the EU. If I were an American voter, I would have refused to support Mr Trump, but I would have also been very unhappy at the prospect of supporting Hillary Clinton at the same time (I’d have voted for her, but very reluctantly). Both candidates last November were low quality choices of political candidate to become the leader of the free world. However, as far as France is concerned, if I had a say there, I’d have been happier backing the courageous, creative and smart Emmanuel Macron, but with some reservations.
Emmanuel Macron has disappointed me in the last couple of weeks. He has left open goals for Marine Le Pen to score. For example, at a factory in Amiens (Macron’s hometown), he was given a frosty reception by workers who were on strike (link via Bloomberg). She arrived at the same place and had photographs taken with the workers (link via The Guardian). Macron should have summarised a plan for what he wanted to do to help the Whirlpool factory as opposed to wasting time scoring a political point over his opportunistic rival. An adrenaline induced situation would cause for such an occurrence, but he didn’t handle the situation there well.
However, when it came to the televised debate earlier on TF1 this week, he made a better impression of himself whilst his rival lost the plot (link via The Guardian). It would have been a sickening shame if he had undone his extraordinary progress by having a flop of a final two weeks before the second round. But thankfully, he avoided disaster. His rival however, albeit has done better than her father in 2002, still failed abymassbly on this occasion. France has avoided a similar path to the UK and USA.
Emmanuel Macron must not celebrate too hard. Instead, he should get straight to work without delay. Any naïvity on his part must be removed and quickly. France has massive issues and the world as well as his nation depends on him being a truly successful leader. Politicians’ biggest weakness is bathing themselves with too much self-joy upon being victorious and showing too little in the aftermath.
Results matter and he must address the economic issues facing the country including the country’s unemployment rate which stands at 10% (link via OECD). He must also make France more secure and restore French national pride with a view to truly reaching out to all communities. And most importantly, he needs to make sure that France’s membership of the EU really does work for the people of France, as opposed to the other way round. Just because Macron defeated Le Pen by almost two to one in the final vote (link via Sky News), it doesn’t mean that the whole country is enthusiastic about EU membership. He needs to win people over beyond those who voted for him.
If Emmanuel Macron does not achieve positive results for the people of France, then he will have truly failed his country and the world. The globe is watching carefully.
Le président élu Macron, veuillez fournir.