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Why Macron and France will come to a bad end

In Uncategorized on 09/05/2017 at 4:29 am

Mr Macron will become the youngest-ever French president, beating the previous record held by Napoléon Bonaparte’s nephew, Louis-Napoléon, elected in 1848 at the age of 40.

Oh dear. That’s a really bad precedent.

Louis-Napoléon soon got himself crowned emperor Napoléon III and history records he was a weak, useless leader. Even the Mexicans defeated the French army he sent to occupy Mexico.

Then Prussia defeated the French in a war started by Napoléon III and had to cede several provinces and pay Prussia the costs of invading and conquering France. In the palace of Versailles, a symbol of French power, the Prussian king was proclaimed the  emperor of Germany  German Emperor by Prussia and the other German states.

BBC’s Hugh Schofield (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39839044) analyses

Will his charm still work?

Aye, but there’s the rub.

Usually when someone is described as “plausible”, that is when the first alarm-bells start sounding. “Plausible” is only a short step from “too plausible”. And suddenly we are in the land of snake-oil.

Emmanuel Macron’s central brilliance is built on a self-belief which would be narcissistic were it not directed at public life.

But often with Macron one fears that (in a way that is very French) it is words that are doing his work.

Words that are bridging the divides; words that are flattering his opponents; words that create the devotion that among some he inspires.

In the campaign, it became a joke among journalists how often his answers included the words “en même temps” (at the same time). It was his way of marrying everything and its opposite, of reconciling every contradiction.

He got away with it because he is who he is.

But in the real life of running a fractious, angry, divided country – will his words have the same effect? Will his solitary self-belief create the structures of political support which he needs in the rough-and-tumble of government? Will his charm still work?

Everyone hopes the amazing victory of Emmanuel Macron is the triumph of optimism over decline, of energy over atrophy, of willpower over resignation.

Everyone hopes it is not the triumph of the salesman over the dupe.

In the case of Napoléon III, history’s verdict is that his rise to power was the triumph of the salesman over the dupe.

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