New, superior eye candy on the Town Hall wall

Posted 23 June 2017

A new face on the town hall wall to whom we must all bow in obeisance! Superior eye candy to his predecessor, M. Hollande, it must be said. Though I’m not sure about M Macron’s icy blue eyes.

Still waters run deep - or in his case, freeze over.

He seems to have gained himself an admiring following in the UK, if social media is to be believed, (and it often isn’t), and not just in France. But before we all get carried away by the legendary charm, it’s worth taking some time to reflect.

A banker who has already made a mint and believes in globalisation (all hail McDonalds and its kin), a secularist in the extreme with little regard for public, let alone private morality, who as a sixth former decided he would marry his drama teacher, old enough to be his mother, her husband and three children. A small, if any, consideration, for a man who knows what he wants and how to get it.

Attention! M Macron is a force. And perhaps, with 10% unemployment (nearly one in four among under-25s), bloated public spending (56% of GDP compared with 44% in Germany and 39% in the UK), and poor economic growth, France needs a bit of that steely determination.

His twin aims are to boost investment and create a new model for growth that is good for social mobility and the environment. But does he know what the French all know - that the presidency is a poisoned chalice, that one happy moment of popularity soon gives way to resentment in the cold reality of reform?!

The people will take to the barricades the moment their thirty five hour week is under threat, mark my words.

As for taking a lead in Europe in ecological matters (and would someone could), he’ll have to first take on his own farmers, who now believe intensive agriculture is the only way to make a living - and that means cows and chickens in vast barns, and a massive deforestation of the countryside to make way for their gigantic machinery. And if they are thwarted, their barricades are lorries slewed across the roads, and manure slung through unsuspecting open car windows in the ensuing queue. Especially if you’re English.

Oh M Macron is in for a merry time. And so is Frau Merkel, who greeted her euro-lover with a warm embrace, but inside must be terrified at his plans to strip Germany of its obvious leadership of the EU, and of its sole ability to make a fortune out of the other 26 EU countries.

What of his government representatives, or “deputés” as they’re called - a raggle taggle band of retirees, students, hairdressers, comedians, and a bullfighter, who have never had any political involvement before.

I’ve actually never worked out what the representatives of the people do, never seen ours!

No visits, no surgeries, no opening of fetes, or even being seen at them. In every local battle it’s the “Prefet”, a civil servant, who holds most of the power. And, as an employee of the system, is never very sympathetic to any approach.

So maybe Macron’s Uncle Tom Cobbley government will be a good thing - a refreshing change from the sort of UK government we’re subjected to, where staying in power seems to be the raison d’être of every policy, and care for the people has long since gone out of the window. Isn’t that why Cameron landed us with a referendum that made little sense to most of us? And why the next two Brexit years may not be as productive as they could be?

Two newly elected members of the government, not of Macron’s party, whose record is not quite squeaky clean, have already resigned, frozen out by his no-nonsense approach.

So it will be interesting to see if M Macron can deliver on what he believes France needs. But prenez garde! This morning, on my daily cycle into the village for baguettes and pains raisins, I noticed that “Say No to Macron” posters had appeared on the wall. The revolution continues. The guillotine will fall.