I am excited about the election of Macron. Unlike the UK and the US, France has rejected the nationalist, isolationist Right and elected a centrist by a ratio of 2:1.
The rejection of Le Pen was critical of course. If she had been elected then the prospects for the EU would have been chaotic at best. He does of course face obstacles. His victory was primarily driven by negative cohesion i.e. people voted against Le Pen more than voted in support of his ideas. But that is true of most recent elections and certainly also true of Brexit and Trump. But with Macron –
- After so many successes for the right we see a success for the centre. This is the area of politics that has been wiped out in the UK and US. Can he provide a template for a broader revival of the centre in politics in Europe? He is socially liberal, fiscally conservative, pro-market and pro-EU.
- He has shown that a rejection of the status quo does not have to mean a move to the extremes.
- He is a technocrat. Can a smart technocrat come up with a policy programme to deal with France’s problems such as unemployment?
- He is pro-EU. Varoufakis cites him as one of the few who was sympathetic to negotiation with Greece on debt burden reduction.
- He sees Brexit as an opportunity for France. He will likely do his best to attract financial services to migrate from London to Paris and move the border camps for refugees from Calais to Kent.
A day of French triumph over fascism is one to be celebrated.