From top: French Presidential hopeful Emmanuelle Macron, with his wife Brigitte; Dan Boyle

Who is Emmanuelle Macron and what does he want?

Dan Boyle writes:

Growing up, the French name Emmanuelle, in its feminine form, was synonymous with what, euphemistically, were described as ‘art house’ movies. Along with enthusiastic co-conspirators, we would seek optimal back row positions at our local cineplex. There were occasional glances at the flickering screen, but most of the time we engaged in whispered, intensive, discussions on all matters French.

These days it is a male Emmanuel who seeking to seduce the French electorate. Most media attention has been directed towards his unusual significant relationship. Given the sad, superficial nature of most global political analysis, these days, this should be the least important thing about him.

It’s as if politics anywhere has ceased to be a battle of ideas, being reduced instead to being a battle of narratives.

Little seems to be known about Monsieur Macron, other than the fact that he isn’t Lucifer herself. If that all that he represents is being the ‘business as usual’ candidate, then the ‘it can’t be any worse’ brigade will further strengthen in France and elsewhere.

And that is to presume he will be elected, which too many of us are presuming. I worry that too many of his opponents have moved immediately to endorse him. As have many EU leaders, including our own Prince of Depth, An Taoiseach.

Regarding this second category, there should be considerable disquiet in France. It represents an intolerable intrusion into a political process, which remains only half complete.

The reluctance of the Left candidate, Melenchon, to join the Macron chorus, could be more beneficial to his eventual election, than any number of premature, and often unwelcome, endorsements. It introduces a note of uncertainty into the second round of voting, that can help maintain turnout.

Given the similarities of their respective platforms, other than on immigration, and their appeal to similar parts of the electorate, it shouldn’t be a surprise if many Melenchon supporters decide to vote for Le Pen in the second round.

The onus is on Macron to define what type of reform he is interested in bringing about. If it is only about a ‘deeper’ Europe, then he need not bother.

If the European Union wants to secure its future, it needs to freeze any thought of deepening the European project, devoting its energies instead towards addressing inequality.

After Brexit and Trump, sanity seems to be making a coming back, with the far right failing to achieve in Austria and The Netherlands. However the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The only way of bringing about change is to do things differently. Such change has to be the right change, for the right reasons. Never change towards and for the far right.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursdyay. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

 Top pic: AP

18 thoughts on “French lessons


    Fantastic analogy Boylzer… I’d say you & the lads didn’t know what to be doing withyerself when copies of the Dailysport landed in your neck during the mid 80’s..

  2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    I don’t understand. Macron is centrist. Why talk about the march to the right then?! It’s a very disjointed piece.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Macron is a neoliberal which means right wing but without picking on gays and foreigns. “Centrist” is just marketing. The other week there was a piece about people using the term ‘cute hooirsm’ when they meant ‘corruption’. Centrist = right wing.

  3. dav

    “After Brexit and Trump, sanity seems to be making a coming back, with the far right failing to achieve in Austria and The Netherlands.”
    Sorry Dan but that seems to be a tad optimistic, for whatever reason the world seems to be in a current period of fear and hatred. It is this that allowed the likes of Drumpf to be elected and allowing the governments of Poland, Turkey, Hungary, Philippines to enact intolerant laws or powers.
    My real fear is that Le Pen will succeed because sane people won’t bother to get out an vote against her.

  4. bisted

    ‘… It represents an intolerable intrusion into a political process’ – Broadsheet…Dan seems to have been hacked…

  5. Spaghetti Hoop

    “unusual significant relationship”…..or you could have just said his ‘personal life’ and distanced yourself properly from Macron’s critics.

    1. Holden MaGroin

      “Given the sad, superficial nature of most global political analysis, these days, this should be the least important thing about him.”

  6. classter

    One might expect any of Melenchon’s supporters with any historical awareness not to support Le Pen

    The Communists were probably the single most significant portion of the French Resistance to the Nazis.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Melenchon didn’t seek, but was given support from the Communists. His support was far more broad than that.

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      Maybe they’ll vote Le Pen because they feel marginalised and disenfranchised by the neoliberal establishment and city orientated popular media and see Macron as someone who’s going to maintain the status quo that they don’t think cares about them.

      1. bisted

        …it seems some Bernie Saunders supporters voted for Trump as a protest against crooked Hillary…can’t see Corbyn supporters voting for Blairites like Hillary Benn…who knows what the French left will do…mind you, Macron will take much comfort from having Dan’s support…

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          It’s pretty crazy to still call her crooked Hillary considering Donald Trump is Donald Trump with his mulitple bankruptcies, unpaid suppliers and $25 million fraud case settlements and now is sitting in the White House. Not that she isn’t crooked but that’s a nickname coined by someone who is a much bigger crook than she is.

          Corby’s supporters are so because he is anti establishment so of course they’d be against backing a Blairite. But. The other choice is, as was the case in America and the UK, emotionally fragile authoritarian kleptocrats who will prey on the vulnerable both directly and indirectly with the emboldening of racists and bigots on the streets.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Hopefully Melenchon’s supporters will decide against enabling a fascist like Le Pen but maybe small towners who never leave their small town mightn’t take the macro view and go for Le Pen as a protest vote.

  7. classter

    ‘It’s as if politics anywhere has ceased to be a battle of ideas’

    Did you not see him at that Whirlpool factory explaining his ideas on industry / free trade etc.?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Did you not see the crowds that booed him there and chanted ‘Marine, presidente’?

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