France's political system is crumbling. What's coming next looks scary

Marine Le Pen has the centre-right in her sights. And Hollande has no clue and little hope

7 June 2014

9:00 AM

7 June 2014

9:00 AM

Last week President François Hollande, following his party’s humiliation in the European parliamentary elections (his Socialists won roughly half as many seats as the National Front), decided to cheer himself up. He left Paris and travelled to Clairefontaine to mingle with France’s World Cup football squad.

‘If you do win the World Cup final on 13 July,’ he told the millionaire players (most of whom avoid Hollande’s taxes by being paid outside France), ‘you will deserve a triumphant welcome. But we will not be able to give you the reception you will deserve, because the Champs-Elysées is already booked for the military parade of 14 July!’

Ed Miliband could hardly have put it more lamely. Having uttered his words of feeble encouragement, the least effective national leader the Fifth Republic has endured bumbled back to the scenes of economic devastation and ministerial panic that mark France’s political landscape today.

If the British recovery from the recession has been slow, in France it is nonexistent. The latest figures show that the Socialist government’s policies — almost exact replicas of the ‘two Eds’ (Miliband and Balls) approach the Labour party wants to implement in Britain — are a complete failure: economic growth in the first two years of Hollande’s administration has been 0.8 per cent, whereas the British economy has grown five times faster in the same period. The latest figures show current growth at zero per cent, and the forecast for the rest of the year is not much better.

France’s employment figures are even worse. When Hollande was elected in May 2012 on an anti-austerity ticket (‘-Another way is possible,’ he promised), he said he’d cut unemployment within 18 months. Instead, it has risen by 15 per cent to a scandalous 3.3 million. He said he’d help mend the finances by slapping a 75 per cent tax on the richest. He got his way, eventually, but figures last week show that French tax receipts are collapsing. Footballers and Gerard Depardieu are not the only ones moving abroad and declaring taxes elsewhere. Hollande is demonstrating anew that high taxes redistribute people, rather than wealth. One might think that this could be the ideal moment for France’s conservative opposition, the UMP, to lay the foundations for a right-wing victory in the presidential elections of 2017. Unfortunately, the UMP is in an even more distressed state than the government. It has no leader, it has no programme and it lacks even an agreed means of selecting its next party president. Mired in scandal and shorn of purpose, the UMP could be on the verge of breaking up.

The implosion of Hollande’s main opposition is worth studying, because it shows how France’s politics is in an even worse shape than its economy. The UMP was founded in 2002 as a means of uniting the ‘republican right’ (that is, the Gaullist RPR and the centre-right UDF) against the growing popularity of the extreme-right Front National, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen. The UMP remained in government for the next ten years until the election of François Hollande. Following that setback, the party held a ballot to elect its president and this election was won by a Sarkozy supporter, Jean-François Copé.

A savage internal battle then broke out between Mr Copé and former prime minister François Fillon, since, according to Mr Fillon, Mr Copé had rigged the ballot that won him the leadership. This struggle only ended last week when Copé, the party president and chief bruiser, was forced to announce his resignation. This had become inevitable since he had been named in a police investigation into illegal overspending during President Sarkozy’s failed re-election campaign of 2012.

Some £9 million of illicit funds had been concealed by the use of forged invoices. Questioned on national television last week, Mr Copé’s right-hand man — who had to sign all the receipts — burst into tears.

Mr Fillon is a very different personality to Mr Copé. His wife is Welsh, his brother is married to his wife’s sister (vive l’entente cordiale) and he displays every mark of the gentleman. Furthermore, despite having spent five years as Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, he is seen to be honest. But sadly this may not be the fastest means of reaching the top in the Fifth Republic. And notwithstanding the fact that he has finally shafted his agile rival, Mr Fillon still faces serious competition for the leadership of the French right.

First there is Alain Juppé, also a former prime minister. Juppé is a veteran Gaullist, one of the long-standing ‘barons’ of French politics. But ten years ago, his political career suffered something of a setback when he received a 14-month suspended prison sentence for misuse of public money. On being convicted, Mr Juppé resigned as mayor of Bordeaux, but his ever-forgiving voters re-elected him two years later. In his defence, it was said at the time that he had simply been carrying the can for Jacques Chirac’s corrupt system of financing his own political career.

The other candidate hoping to save France is of course the former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Despite his constant denials, Mr Sarkozy is still very much a player in the political game. Some might think that with his one-time campaign manager under police investigation for illegal use of electoral funds, Mr Sarkozy, too, might be under a bit of a cloud. But his supporters scoff at the idea. In France, it is the presidential campaign managers who do the dirty work, and whatever it is they do, it should never be traceable to their principals. A recent opinion poll showed that, for two thirds of voters, the 2017 candidature of Nicolas Sarkozy is both ‘undesirable’ and ‘probable’.

Currently, Mr Sarkozy and his close associates are under investigation in no fewer than five other criminal matters, the most serious of which concerns the selling or trafficking of public office, contracts or honours. In this case, it is believed to centre around allegations of either threatening or bribing judges, including members of France’s Supreme Court. As part of their inquiries, the investigating authorities have tapped Mr Sarkozy’s telephones and grilled his senior staff members for weeks on end.

Even that may not be Sarkozy’s biggest problem. In March, he discovered to his horror that one of his closest associates, Patrick Buisson, had been secretly recording their private meetings during his five years in the Elysée. Buisson may have hours of recorded conversations, covering everything from base political manoeuvring to state secrets. Meanwhile, Sarko’s allies are doing everything they can to block the possibility that either Mr Fillon or Mr Juppé could become the UMP’s presidential candidate in 2017.

For French voters looking for signs that a more effective government might be on the horizon, the disintegration of the UMP must be deeply depressing. It leaves Marine Le Pen’s National Front as the only successful political formation currently in good order. Her victory in the European parliamentary elections, when her party quadrupled its score in comparison with the 2009 European elections and topped the poll with 25 per cent of the vote, was very much a personal triumph. Under her leadership, the party has changed tack, downplaying the racism that characterised her father’s era and emphasising policies that are designed to attract traditional left-wing voters.

It is an error to regard Marine Le Pen’s party as being right-wing — and somehow repugnant to left-wing voters. Le Pen rails against globalisation and free trade, against ‘American tax-dodging multinationals’ and the French employers’ association. She wants a high minimum wage, tariff barriers, and a preference in employment, housing and social benefits for French citizens over European or international immigrants. Were such policies ever introduced, France would cut its links with the developed world and drift off into some imaginary national paradise of its own invention.

But that is not how matters are viewed by people trapped in the depths of a recession with no apparent way out. This is why the National Front picked up an astonishing 43 per cent of the working-class vote, against the Socialist government’s figure of 6 per cent. Marine Le Pen has said that she will now make the dissolution of the UMP her top priority, and if she keeps up her momentum she will make it to the final round of the 2017 French presidential election.

All this has implications far beyond the borders of France. The 24 MEPs (one third of the French contingent) that Le Pen is sending to Brussels are mandated to leave both the euro and the European Union. Her triumph would dismantle the Franco–German axis, the historical motor of the EU. The German chancellor has already said that her chief concern for the future of Europe is the state of France. And little wonder: France is at a crossroads. If it cannot emerge from its economic doldrums, France will join the dysfunctional Club Med countries — leaving Germany alone to hold the EU together. This would be a task even beyond Frau Merkel’s abilities.

France is no stranger to such crises. The Fifth Republic was founded in 1958 by Charles de Gaulle when France was threatened with a military coup and was on the verge of civil war over the decolonisation of Algeria. It is a measure of the current desperate state of French politics — a failed government, a corrupt and squabbling opposition and a rampant National Front — that the public debate now includes a growing discussion of a new constitution, the abolition of an executive presidency and the forced revival of parliamentary democracy. The abolition, in other words, of the Fifth Republic itself.

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  • Ted Cunterblast

    Oh hell, let’s skip the Sixth Republic and go straight to the Seventh.

    • Iain Hill

      Or the First here?

      • Alexsau91

        Second, actually. And it would be identical to the kingdom, with a politician in place of the queen. Not something I personally find desirable.

        • Wessex Man

          I’d rather have a constitutional head of State like the Queen that dear old Hollande, or Putin, or Obama. Can you imagine a President Major, Blair, Brown or even worse Cameron!

    • Terry Field

      Presidents run on a political platform – and they are thus, from day one, representative of their voters, and cannot speak for the nation. 83% of White Americans voted Republican; Obama is not a US president – he is a Racial Minority – supported and elected US President.
      Give me our excellent Royal Family any day. They are the State incarnate. All men and women of goodwill can respect that if they choose to do so.

  • alabenn

    If things are really this bad, why is the EU still a priority for governments around Europe.
    Surely even the most fanatical Euro fantasist must see a disaster unfolding before their eyes.
    There is only one outcome if things have failed so badly, civil strife will be the least of it.

    • hacimo

      What is the longest river in Africa?

      • Chris Morriss

        Denial is the longest river in Africa.

        • Nele Schindler

          A river they all swim in!

          • global city

            It’s worse. The EU greatly benefit elites and the parasites who gain careers in their wake.

    • Terry Field

      It is a priority for third rate, ex-communist hell-holes, Big states previously used to autocracy, war and violent collapse, and populations quite desperate to not live as their ancestors lived.
      NONE of that applies to Britain, a country of such exquisite quality and civilised achievement as not to be comparable to the components of the stewpot continent.
      I would remind you that just seventy years ago there were 45,000 centres of killing, which despatched 20,000,000 innocent civilians, in addition the the industrial slaughter of the battlefields.
      The recent collapse in british social cohesion, as a result of government policy, for which, the ministers responsible should be in prison for a very long period indeed, is something that exercises the whole society.
      Solutions are there, but they are for the very brave indeed.
      Catastrophe seems to be rushing towards us.

  • global city

    The fundamental problems of ceding your sovereignty to an unelected High Authority has never been understood by the voices of the MSM.

    Like many others, too many of these ‘voices’ have accepted the basic principle they believe in, so never bothered to check how it actually pans out.

    Supporting the EU is rather like still campaigning for the League of Nations….on the principle of ‘working together is better than ‘isolation’.

    Check the facts MSM…and the consequences. The EU HAS to work from an ideological base, given all of the otherwise conflicting needs and interests of it’s ‘members’, as such it serves nobody well.

  • Pier66

    nice pic really

  • Pier66

    More then half of our amazing country is praying
    to have Juncker president,
    so Cameron can call an early referendum next year…and WILL BE A TORY LANDSLIDE !!!!

  • Iain Hill

    How can the Spectator offer a dispassionate analysis of the crisis in French politics and yet wilfully ignore the even worse state of the decrepit UK? Inertia or worse?

    • Freddie

      whats worse in the UK than in France?

  • CoffeyP

    I remember, back in Thatcher’s Britain, when she tackled the economy and unionism here, France was being warned to take heed …She did not – still has not. Unfortunately, there are those in France that believe in a magic wand, and have steadfastly ignored the ticking clock ringing in their ears.

    • Kaine

      And yet the French economy, sans the spectacular windfall of North Sea petrochemicals, is still the same size as Britain’s. They also live longer. Go figure.

      • UniteAgainstSocialism

        they live longer because they have nice weather. You would think we would be having nice weather here as well because of global warming. Go figure

        • Kaine

          If it’s eh weather, why do the Icelanders live longer than us?

          Yet another ‘truther’ who thinks all the scientists are lying to him I see.

          • UniteAgainstSocialism

            Your selective use of figures explain your belief in the great global warming scam. While men in Iceland live longer than men in the UK, the story is very different for females isnt it?

            my degree is in law not science, therefore i am more qualified than any scientist to assess the evidence. I am bound to follow what a court of law has said regarding how school teachers should educate children about climate change “this is a political matter and there are 2 sides to every argument and children must be taught this”

          • Kaine

            No, the response to climate change is a political matter, the science itself is not.

            But of course, as a lawyer you don’t care about truth, you care about creating enough doubt in the minds of a minority of the jury to ensure nothing is done.

          • Terry Field

            Fish = longer ‘bleeding time’ = better heart and circulation = longer life.
            A long, fishy, odd, life.

      • LucieCabrol

        they pay less in and take out more from the EU pot….every year..that adds up.

      • Wessex Man

        Why don’t you go and live in this paradise then, you could help to replace all the French who have fled to London making it the second city outside of France for the number French speaking people.

        • Kaine

          London has had a huge French speaking population since the Norman Conquest. To say it is the result of a couple of years of Hollander is specious nonsense.

          I love this country, it’s people like you who seem to think it’s going to the dogs who should take your negativity and bile and f@ck off.

          • Wessex Man

            Well thanks for the offer, I’ve no intention of taking you up on it. The thing is I love my country as well and I’ll fight the good fight against commie loving halfwits like you to keep it free.

    • global city

      The French elite have fostered the EU because they assumed that it would be the platform that would enable them to project France and French foreign policy on the world. Funny that…. as isn’t that why the UK foreign office are so intent on having the UK enmeshed in this mess?

      They have both been swallowed by the supranational nature of the project, which is killing both nations (and all the other members) neither have been able to ride this particular tiger and we are all paying the price for their hubris.

      • hatem chatti

        preserve peace and to promote freedom and democracy to european countries willing to join in. Spain has made, thanks to the EU, a magnifiscent growth for years. The cris comes from USA, merci the laxism and ultra liberalism

        • global city

          the infinite capacity of the europhile to delude themselves. The EU removes the democratic process, if you have a sound system in the first place.

          Are you really saying that the Community method is superior to the UK’s old system of parliamentary democracy and Common Law?

          • hatem chatti

            “The EU removes the democratic process” is the europhobes’ new bible. Why are you surprised that democratically elected presidents, chancellors, prime ministers designate commissionners for the EU commission, but comfortable with the fact that these same people (with the help of deputies) promulgate laws?

            Democracy is the execution of decisions emanated from democratically elected peaople.

            I am no expert to make comparison between political systems. I will not hide that I find the UK’s system very honorable (the principles not the Thatcher’s side)

          • global city

            It is the fundamental principle that the law makers are directly linked to the people, who can remove them through elections, has been undermined by the EU system.

            Common Law is based on the principle that ALL are equal before the law and that, unless explicitly barred by a law you are free to do what you want. The Napoleonic system turns this on it’s head.

            The British political system is far from perfect, but it’s basis of law is far superior to the continental models.

          • RichardBaranov

            In the British system all freedoms rest in the people, they are an inalienable right. That is why M.P.s are servants of the people. In the European system you only have those freedoms granted to you by the state. European politicians carry out the will of the state. Two more radically different systems are hard to imagine.
            That you cannot “make comparisons between political systems.” is a matter of disgrace. In your ignorance, you are quite willing to sell the superior system down the river for a voluntary enslavement. If you wish to make pronouncements and act on political matters that not only effect you but the lives of millions of others, then learn. As a citizen of the country that gave the world and exported the most effective political system for the preservation of freedom the world has ever seen, you not only have that obligation, it is your duty.

        • RichardBaranov

          “The first aim of EU is to preserve peace and to promote freedom and democracy to european countries willing to join in.” That is “absolute bullsh*t”. It was and still is NATO that keeps the peace, not the EU. The EUs function is to assuage European guilt for their fascism that took the lives of millions, let’s please remember that it wasn’t just Germany and Italy, Vichy France, Portugal and Spain all had a hand in that behaviour.
          The other purpose of the EU is German/French self aggrandisement, both countries being prone to said condition historically as well as contemporaneously and in the nature of that sort of imperialism their creature the EU has nothing but contempt for democracy. That contempt is written in to the functions of the EU ideologically and on its day to day functioning.

          • Stéphane Bousseau

            I beg your pardon, but if you had heard of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, you would notice that UE first goal was to keep peace within its borders… after centuries of wars in Europe, NATO is not keeping peace in Europe, but the UE is. The other goals are economic ones, and cultural ones.

            I am really sorry for England, so narrow minded. I have been living in France, Italy and Germany. UE made possible an amazing mix of cultures and knowledges. You don’t want to be part of it, fine we don’t want u. We didn’t want u in before, and we want you out. cos all you do is complaining again and again and opposing to reforms. you claim it’s not democratic, but right now UE president was unanimously chosen, just GB didn’t want him and is opposing… how to more undemocratic????

            you are gonna end up alone on your island, cleaning Obama’s boots…

        • Terry Field

          Rubbish. It is based on French hegemony, German guilt, and the Euro is a plan forced on Germany with the extraction of german agreement asa quid pro quo for French agreement to German re-unification. The contents of your blog is politically correct codswallop

  • Augustus

    “The French want to regain control of their own country. They want to determine the course of their own economy and their immigration policies. They want their own laws to take precedence over those of the European Union. The French have understood that the EU does not live up to the utopia they were sold. It has distanced itself significantly from a democratic mode.”
    -Marine Le Pen

    • Mahound

      Marine Le Pen will lead Europe out of its current malaise.

      • Guest

        Marine Le Pen has retired. You are thinking of his daughter, Marie.

    • Guest

      That was actually Marie Le Pen.

  • Peter Stroud

    Perhaps it would not be a bad thing for Eurosceptic Brits, if France does leave the Euro, and possibly the EU. The whole ridiculous European experiment needs an overhaul, and France’s leaving the union might help achieve this.

    • Alexsau91

      What, you mean we’d have to wait until France leaves the EU until something changes? 2017 in other words…. if Le Pen miraculously wins power. If Cameron is still PM in 2017, and nothing in the EU has changed, I can’t see a majority of the British public voting to stay in. I can’t even imagine a majority of the Tory party urging the public to vote to stay in (regardless of what the leadership say).

      • Wessex Man

        We could leave at the same time, this would help the EU as France leaving would mean that the billions we pay out to be a member wouldn’t felt so badly when not there as the billions paid to the French wouldn’t be paid out. Say it quietly though as they wouldn’t leave if they realised.

  • Dutchnick

    There are two sides to the the EU, the commercial and business advantages and they are getting better and the PC twaddle and interference in our domestic politics. Yes we eventually want greater and greater cooperation but not the way it is going.

    • Wessex Man

      How does Europe going from 36% of Global GDP we we joined the EEC in the seventies to 15% now show ‘getting better’?

      • Dutchnick

        Could it be that the prosperity in the rest of the world is growing? It is not the percentage but the gross amount of business, I would hope that the GDP in the rest of the world grows and the EU will be a smaller percentage but a growing sum, non incompatible!

        • mdj

          Against that, is the EU not twice the size it was then? We were told recently that our trade with the EU as a percentage of GDP was almost exactly the same as when we joined the EU, which was before even Spain and Ireland joined.
          That would indicate that membership has diminished our trading opportunities, surely?

          • Wessex Man

            It certainly does, Europe is now the most unprofitable trading area in the world per head of population.

      • Apaliteno

        China will this year have GDP close to $9 trillion-what was it in 1973?

  • mariandavid

    In other words very little has changed. France has always had a more vibrant and usually much more polarized electorate and political party than Britain (can you imagine Britain with Catholic versus Secular ones) and also one that has no hesitation in holding office-holders to account. The LePen “crisis” is nothing more than a long-overdue rise of a new conservative party, one that is much in favour of a ‘strong united Europe’ if identified in its own terms.

    And certainly France is in far, far better shape than Britain – after all it is not in danger of falling apart!

    • Saikourufu

      There are no Catholics in the UK… It’s all Fabian Socialism…

    • Wessex Man

      with the daily riots in Paris, we don’t all watch the BBC news thanks!

  • DaveTheRave

    I admire the French, really I do, even the Left who refuse to speak or sing in English at Eurovision, which is good for them. The French have every right to protect their culture, like any other culture. I also admire their capacity for renewal. Five republics since the Revolution, that’s discounting re-instating the monarchy and the Empire early on. Many of us this side of the English Channel see this as a weakness, a recipe for instability. I’m not so sure.
    Whilst tradition and continuity are good to some degree, sometimes I wish we could re-invent ourselves beyond such epochs as the Civil War, which saw us stare over the precipice and then step back. Were we right to do so? Is our ‘constitution’ really so good? Change is painfully slow and leaves serious ‘democratic deficits’, such as England is facing now – no parliament, no recognition, merely a collection of ‘British Regions’ where the name England is virtually absent. Yet, more and more people in England call themselves English first, rather than ‘British’. The French don’t seem to have that complication.
    Good luck to the French, they won’t thank me for saying it but bon chance and yes, vive la différence!

    • Terry Field

      ON leaving the French Embassy in London in 1920, the French ambassador, over lunch with Lloyd George, said that Britain had quietly made a more radical social change, and a social levelling in the twenty years to 1920 than the French revolution had achieved from 1789.
      It is a shame that the country has reinstated massive concentrated super-wealth and suppression of many millions who, when they vote UKIP, are then described as fruitcakes, racists, dreamers, and people who like to live in the past.
      Looking at modern Britain, only a fruitcake would choose to remain in the present if they could chose the past.
      If you think the present is better, then I have three words for you.

      • DaveTheRave

        I concur.

        • Wessex Man

          I second you.

      • Kennybhoy


  • Terry Field

    the euro was a French project, foisted on the Germans as a quid pro quo for support of German reunification. The article overstates the extent of French disenchantment, and the poll results show a consistent net support for the EU, and the Euro still commands a majority in the country. That may change, but the French are more realistic about the need for the EU, unlike a minority of the British. They have no delusions of their capacity to function independently. The British still cherish such illusions. If the Brits leave, I will be reminded of the phrase of our first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, who said ” they are ringing their bells now, but soon they will be wringing their hands”.
    leaving will be a massive error of historic proportions, from which there will be no recovery for England. The true UKIPers are true believers; that is not an objective emotional place to start out from.
    Disaster may await.

    • LucieCabrol

      True enough…shows that getting what you want is not always a good thing. Still, they have a much better balance of payments situation than we do.

    • mdj

      ‘ The British still cherish such illusions.’
      That must include me, for sure. Could you help me understand what opportunities we missed by not joining the Euro, and what we would gain by joining now? Might we become as stagnant and isolated as Norway and Switzerland by staying out, or as buoyed up by fraternal cross-border support as Greece by going in?

      • Terry Field

        You have it in one. Greece is stable, slow-growing, sunny, full of olive oil. what more could you want.

  • DaJefeMax

    The problem with the Fifth Republic is that it’s a republic.

    The French have these presidents who aren’t kings but think they are, and act like they are — because that’s what the French at bottom really want. Give them the real thing, a Third Empire or a Second Bourbon Restoration. Then they can have their monarchy at the center, but without the politicians having to scheme and rob the place blind to get the job. Meanwhile, the parliamentarians can have all the real power, but with politics kept to a dull roar.

    • Guest

      Yeah. It does seem like France wants a monarch, but reinstating one would never go down well in the Age of Republics we live in.

  • Nick

    The EU is totally knackered isn’t it? We can all see it and that includes the Europhiles who won’t admit it.
    Talk about flogging a dead horse.

  • Gwangi

    The politicians’ tangled web may now be unable to hold together their corruption any more.
    Yes, BUT…In France property costs a sensible sum and one parent can pay a mortgage on a house so the mother can stay with young children until they start school, families stay together more with children actually knowing their fathers, the state does not pander to any ethnic and religious group and defends native French values and culture against alien incomers, and the education system is traditional, knowledge-based and, in general, excellent.
    So if you are in work in France you are better off than in the UK. If you are not, you are pomme frites, baby! But hey, then you can come to London and claim housing benefit and income support, which you wouldn’t be able to get in France. Oh happy happy happy EU…

  • NotYouNotSure

    The UMP is in many ways equivalent to the Tories, they are supposed to be right wing, but will generally support left wing ideas and even unite with left wing parties to defeat right wing parties.

  • beenzrgud

    The only reason the French supported the EU is because they thought it meant they had two mummies to look after them instead of just the one. Now they have realised that it’s not working for them anymore they’ll jump up and down, burn a few cars, and then blame the British for their misfortune.

    • El_Sid

      That last bit is already happening – former PM Rocard wrote a big piece in Le Monde last week blaming all the dysfunctionality of the EU on the UK :


      • beenzrgud

        Doesn’t surprise me one bit. The gurus in Brussels were warned it would likely all fall down around them, but they chose to do it anyway.
        As for the French, they have 2 hour lunches, ridiculous labour and tax laws, regularly break EU laws they themselves helped to write and push through, and they also have probably the most protectionist economy in the EU. All that and they still have the nerve to call us “bad” Europeans. It takes very cynical and dishonest outlook,, akin to doublethink, to prosper in the EU, which is probably why it suited the French for such a long time.

  • swatnan

    Are we in for a Sixth Reich?

    • Wessex Man

      Do your jackboots fit?

  • black11hawk

    Not liking the recent slew of anti-French articles from the Speccie, vive la France!

    • Wessex Man

      Please highlight those articles, I seem to have missed them.

  • Oliver Ales

    Cultures with superior customs, such as liberty and free markets, have an advantage over those using primitive practices such as collectivism.

    • Wessex Man

      and the gist of your argument is?

  • rtj1211

    Can’t the idiotic French President have them atop the Arc de Triomphe on the final day of the Tour de France, for pete’s sake??

    Not that I want them to even get out of their group, but I mean: how hard is it to drum up an alternative the weekend or so after?!

  • rtj1211

    I think that the author should ask the 90% of people around the world who don’t have the cash to migrate all over the world, don’t have houses all over the world and don’t have bank accounts all over the world what they would like.

    The author is brainwashed by what the top 1% want.

    It might be a good idea to present what the 99% want.

  • pp22pp

    Marine for PM (of UK)! That’s Euro-integration I could live with.

    • Terry Field

      You must be insane and very nasty with it.

  • swatnan

    I’m afraid the Reactionaries may take control with Marine le Pen in charge. Expect a flood of emigrees hopping across the channel, and another Sangatte2 set up in Calais and aristos eating cakes

  • samuelafugglas

    It’s the socialists who are victimizing the whole population in Europe, that’s the problem and Marine Le Pen understands that.

  • Guest

    Britain, Germany and France were all world powers before the EU. The EU has bled Britain dry, and while France and Germany have much better deals, they are still being screwed over.

  • William_Brown

    I suspect that the vote for the extreme right in France was as it was in the UK regarding UKIP. It’s a protest vote against the bland, ineffective career politicians who only want to be ‘in power’, rather than actually have any meaningful, long term policies to implement for the benefit of the country.

    My concern is that the initial successes of these right-wing parties in the EU seem not to have caused much in the way of reflection within the current political caste. The excruciating level of patronisation has gone up a notch or two, but otherwise there is still no change in direction, determination, or resolve about any of them.

    There simply has to be a very real and radical change of attitude, or we will see many more people ticking the box for Le Pen and her like.

  • Johan S.

    If the fifth republic is bad you should look at the third republic. A Dreyfus affaire in 1894 which never ended, two presidents killed and Paul Deschanel, who did strange things and went to an institution. Then almost a civil war in 1934 and instability until 1940.

    The U.K. is much more crumbling. It is in need of a federal structure and decentralisation, but the U.K. will stumble on.

  • Fenman

    It must be clear to even the most ardent EU leftie statist that the people of Western Europe, i.e the ones who pay for it ,have seen through this neo-comunist European model. IT is just a Svoviet in better suits and better cars run for th ebenefit of the elite cadre. Over 10,000 of them earn more than the British PM. Each Commissioner among othe rperks has 5 dedicated chauffeurs. The fact that the odds areon the Council appointing Junker as the next president is total proof they cd not care less what the people think and there will be NO reform. The corrupt CAP is still 40% of th etotal budget and the Commission wants a budget increase.
    Britain’s best policy is to re-create EFTA and concetrate on exports outside the EU.

  • LucieCabrol

    there will be muslims at the calais beachhead claiming its too dangerous to go back to their tenement in Lille….Human rights act win.

  • Mike Olivia

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  • doctor ogul

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