Alain Juppé: the cold, septuagenarian Conservative may be the best option For French progressives

Alain Juppé à Québec

This article was published in The Huffington Post

“I was the king in the family,” Alain Juppé claimed about his pampered upbringing. On a school trip to Lisbon, pleased to have escaped the family bubble, he was surprised to discover upon arriving that his overprotective parents had made the journey as well to check he was alright.

Now 71, Juppé is running to be the presidential nominee for the centre-right Republicans; he first became a minister over 30 years ago. He once declared that in French politics “only physical death counts, otherwise there is always the possibility of resurrection” and is the living proof of the statement’s veracity. Continue reading Alain Juppé: the cold, septuagenarian Conservative may be the best option For French progressives

Présidente Marine?

Front National 2010-05-01 n03

This article was published on Left Foot Forward

“Fascism arrives as your friend,” suggested the children’s author Michael Rosen. “It will restore your honour, make you feel proud, protect your house, give you a job, clean up the neighbourhood, remind you of how great you once were, clear out the venal and the corrupt, remove anything you feel is unlike you…”

All this sounds attractive for the French right now, mired in a political and economic crisis. The Front National sits near the top of the polls, and the prospect of an extreme-right president in France is seriously being discussed. A recent edition of L’Express, was titled “President in 2017? Why the worst is possible”, over a picture of a stern Marine Le Pen. The governing Socialist Party is deeply unpopular and the opposition right-wing UMP divided. But the reason for the success of the FN goes deeper than the current mainstream political malaise. Continue reading Présidente Marine?

Sarkozy returns

This article was published on Shifting Grounds

IMG_6159.JPG Seven years after he was elected President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy retains an incredible power to create discussion. On Wednesday night, he attracted almost 4,000 militants to a ‘meeting’ in Toulouse. On a warm evening at the large Salle Jean Mermoz on Île du Grand Ramier in the middle of the Garonne supporters of all ages queued outside, opposite the stadium of Toulouse F.C. and a few Front National protesters. The large hall inside was packed and stuffy.

Continue reading Sarkozy returns

La France en crise

François Hollande (Journées de Nantes 2012)

This article appeared on Left Foot Forward

Alexis de Toqueville wrote of France “Has there ever been any nation on earth which was so full of contrasts, and so extreme in all of its acts, more dominated by emotions, and less by principles; always doing better or worse than we expect, sometimes below the common level of humanity, sometimes much above it”. Continue reading La France en crise

What the French election means for the Left

If, as is expected, François Hollande wins La Présidentielle this weekend, it provides a boost for Ed Miliband and Labour party: a sign that perhaps the Left in Europe is, unlike the economy, on the road to recovery. In the United Kingdom, from the marginal Occupy movement to disgust over bankers’ bonuses, there is emerging subtle dislike of unregulated neoliberalism (even if most people don’t know what the term means). Meanwhile, Miliband leads in the polls, by perhaps 11%,  despite being unpopular personally with voters. However, there is a danger that the correlation between the French election and the state of British politics today is overstated. Continue reading What the French election means for the Left

French election

The Economist and the Times have both recently been critical of French election candidates, essentially because Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy are not saying enough (or perhaps not being realistic) about tackling the deficit. It is argued the French cannot continue to enjoy a high standard of living without austerity measures. Continue reading French election