The first round of voting in the French Presidential Elections is now complete, leaving the two final candidates, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. One is a neoliberal populist, the other represents the friendly face of Vichy-style fascism. For le peuple de France, it’s not a great choice.
Let’s not kid ourselves: Macron will continue in the same vein as Hollande. He’s a former banker that served as Ministère de l’économie et des finances under Hollande and has the support of Manuel Valls, the Blairite former Première Ministre. It was because the Parti Socialiste government moved so far to the right that the party now faces liquidation.
Les Républicains, formerly the UMP, formerly the RPR, which is the Gaullist continuity party, also faces an uncertain future. Their candidate, François Fillon polled a pathetic 19% and was almost level with Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise, who performed well but whose vote was split due to the presence of other Left candidates in the field.
Meanwhile, the British media coos and makes bedroom eyes to Le Pen’s fascists. To call the FN ‘populist’ is to ignore their history and their reactionary politics. A Le Pen presidency would drag France back several decades. People of colour, Muslims, Jews and women would find themselves seriously disadvantaged by her party’s policies, which call for restrictions on immigration, withdrawal from the European Union and possesses a narrow-minded view of culture. The FN’s new look is nothing more than an attractive (for some) shop front. Behind that are shelves stuffed with the old attitudes of disgust for the Other and a deeply reactionary Catholicism. It’s the same old shit in a slightly altered package.
So there it is: a choice between continuity Hollandisme or fash. Whichever way French voters decide to cast their ballots, it’s either business as usual or a new era of isolationism that awaits.