Category: Vernon Roken

France: The Crucifixion of Fillon and the Unholy Resurrection of the Left


Last November, there was a political shake-up in France.  In the Républican primary, François Fillon unexpectedly defeated both former president Nicolas Sarkozy, under whom he served as prime minister, and veteran politician and former P.M. Alain Juppé.

As the British Financial Times put it:

The French left is unpopular and in disarray, so it is generally assumed that the winning center-right candidate will confront Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in the second round of the presidential election next May.

The recently rebranded Parti républicain has traditionally represented France’s center-right.

FT continued:

In the space of a few weeks, Mr. Fillon has transformed himself from an also-ran whose political views seemed irrelevant to France’s future to a formidable campaigner who has possibly the best chance to enter the Elysée Palace as the next president.

In January, the Economist quoted Laurent Bouvet of Versailles University saying, “The left is a mess.”

The political scientist, himself a socialist, predicted that only 40% of voters would consider backing any left-leaning candidate.  “If the leftist contenders split their share of the vote close to evenly, none has a chance of winning 20-25%.”

So how is it that in Sunday’s primary election, the “unpopular” left and its centrist offshoot,  Emmanuel Macron, until recently economics minister in François Hollande’s Socialist government, won half the vote (49.95%)?  This is even more surprising, given that Hollande has the lowest popularity rating in the history of the Fifth Republic at 4%.

The French left employed a winning combination by dressing up the 39-year-old inexperienced leftist in centrist clothing, along with a campaign of character assassination against François Fillon.

Then in early this month, after a winning presidential debate performance, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, another former Socialist party member now heading a new radical left-wing party, Unsubmissive France, unexpectedly shot up in the polls.

Mélenchon, 65, has been active in French politics since the 1968 youth rebellion.  He, like Bernie Sanders, promised a new generation of disenchanted young an economically rosy but financially unachievable future.

In the end, there were three leftist candidates: the two former members of the Socialist party, and Benoît Hamon, who represented that party.  The traditional center-left party crashed on Sunday, with Hamon receiving just 6.36% of the vote.

On the right were Marine Le Pen, who had transformed her father’s racist and anti-Semitic National Front into a viable party, and François Fillon. 

Fillon was the most experienced candidate and had the most workable economic program to cut France’s bureaucracy and encourage investment.  Unlike the extreme candidates, Le Pen on the right and Mélenchon on the left, he believes that France should remain in the European Union but that the Schengen (border) Agreement should be revised.  Yet he was not afraid to call Europe’s greatest security risk by name in his recently published book, Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism.  He favors limiting immigration.

So how did the left bring down the original frontrunner?

François Fillon, the 63-year-old Catholic traditionalist married to the same woman for 37 years, was labeled a corrupt old-school elitist politician.  In late January, he was accused by the leftist newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, of employing his wife and two of his children as parliamentary assistants, a nepotistic benefit permitted by French law.  Fillon apologized for having taken advantage of this arrangement, but he claimed that they had really worked.

A video released of Fillon’s English-born wife, Penelope, being interviewed by the Telegraph was damning.  She stated that “I have never been actually his assistant or anything like that.  I don’t deal with his communication.”  A lawyer by trade, she added that the she had helped him informally during his campaigns and sometimes from their country home.

In an unprecedented move, the French judiciary charged the couple with several counts of embezzlement, making Fillon the first major candidate in the history of the Fifth Republic to seek the presidency while under formal investigation.  The candidate accused President François Hollande of conspiring to torpedo his campaign.

The Financial Times had opined during the Républicain primary that “France needs its best qualified, most trustworthy center-right politician to keep out Ms Le Pen.”

Fillon, now painted as dishonest, was quickly replaced in the polls by Emmanuel Macron, “the centrist candidate,” as being the most likely to face Le Pen in the runoff.

But is Macron, who came in first in Sunday’s primary and is expected to handily defeat Le Pen in the runoff on May 7, really a centrist?  An economist by trade, he is more pro-business than many Socialist Party members.  There is no doubt, however, that he remains culturally on the left.  A quick comparison between Macron’s words and those of the now defeated and dishonored Fillon, who came in third, illustrates what France has lost.

On French Culture and Multiculturalism:

Fillon (author’s translation): Progress has always had at its origin a heritage, a sum of knowledge, and a know-how, which allow the future centuries to take root.  France must renew its pride in its history and in its roots.

Macron: There is no French culture.  There is a culture in France, and it is diverse.

On Immigration:

Fillon: We have six million unemployed and nearly nine million poor people.  Immigration must be firmly controlled and reduced to a strict minimum. 

Macron: [German chancellor Angela] Merkel and German society exemplified our common European values.  They saved our collective dignity by accepting, accommodating, and educating distressed refugees.

On Cultural Integration:

Fillon: France is generous, but it is not a mosaic and a territory without limits.  It is one nation that has a right to choose who can join it and a right that foreigners accept its rules and customs.

Macron: I want to help with Muslim integration. If you follow the line of Marine Le Pen, you create a civil war.

On Islam:

Fillon: I want strict administrative control over the Muslim faith[.] … Any movement claiming Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood will be dissolved.

Macron: What poses a problem is not Islam, but certain behaviors that are said to be religious and then imposed on persons who practice that religion.

Francois Fillon perhaps sinned by misusing public funds, but he should have been considered innocent until proven guilty.  Instead, this traditional Catholic was martyred when telling the truth about France’s future if it continues down its current path.  He offered real solutions while retaining the country’s républicain values.  Most important among them is the reconstitution of the traditional family if France is to survive the demographic onslaught posed by both recent immigration and the high birth rate of French Muslims.

“I will put the family back at the heart of all public policy,” vowed Fillon, the father of five.  

By contrast, Emmanuel Macron married his high school teacher, 24 years his senior.  In the U.S., the romance, which began when he was 15, would have landed her in jail.  Instead, the 64-year-old Brigitte is likely to become France’s first lady.

When Macron’s parents found out about the liaison, they begged the teacher to end it, telling the married mother of three (author’s translation), “You already have your life; Emmanuel will never have children.”  They then asked her to stay away from their adolescent son until he reached eighteen.  Brigitte, old enough to be his mother, replied emotionally, “Je ne peux rien vous promettre.”  I can promise you nothing.

Emmanuel Macron may promise the French a new “centrist” way, but he will continue the left’s path to demographic and cultural destruction.

Quel dommage!  What a shame!

The author is a “self-made multiculturalist” who has lived and worked in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.  He blogs at The Multicultural Conservative: Conservative by Nature – Multicultural by Choice.

Last November, there was a political shake-up in France.  In the Républican primary, François Fillon unexpectedly defeated both former president Nicolas Sarkozy, under whom he served as prime minister, and veteran politician and former P.M. Alain Juppé.

As the British Financial Times put it:

The French left is unpopular and in disarray, so it is generally assumed that the winning center-right candidate will confront Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in the second round of the presidential election next May.

The recently rebranded Parti républicain has traditionally represented France’s center-right.

FT continued:

In the space of a few weeks, Mr. Fillon has transformed himself from an also-ran whose political views seemed irrelevant to France’s future to a formidable campaigner who has possibly the best chance to enter the Elysée Palace as the next president.

In January, the Economist quoted Laurent Bouvet of Versailles University saying, “The left is a mess.”

The political scientist, himself a socialist, predicted that only 40% of voters would consider backing any left-leaning candidate.  “If the leftist contenders split their share of the vote close to evenly, none has a chance of winning 20-25%.”

So how is it that in Sunday’s primary election, the “unpopular” left and its centrist offshoot,  Emmanuel Macron, until recently economics minister in François Hollande’s Socialist government, won half the vote (49.95%)?  This is even more surprising, given that Hollande has the lowest popularity rating in the history of the Fifth Republic at 4%.

The French left employed a winning combination by dressing up the 39-year-old inexperienced leftist in centrist clothing, along with a campaign of character assassination against François Fillon.

Then in early this month, after a winning presidential debate performance, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, another former Socialist party member now heading a new radical left-wing party, Unsubmissive France, unexpectedly shot up in the polls.

Mélenchon, 65, has been active in French politics since the 1968 youth rebellion.  He, like Bernie Sanders, promised a new generation of disenchanted young an economically rosy but financially unachievable future.

In the end, there were three leftist candidates: the two former members of the Socialist party, and Benoît Hamon, who represented that party.  The traditional center-left party crashed on Sunday, with Hamon receiving just 6.36% of the vote.

On the right were Marine Le Pen, who had transformed her father’s racist and anti-Semitic National Front into a viable party, and François Fillon. 

Fillon was the most experienced candidate and had the most workable economic program to cut France’s bureaucracy and encourage investment.  Unlike the extreme candidates, Le Pen on the right and Mélenchon on the left, he believes that France should remain in the European Union but that the Schengen (border) Agreement should be revised.  Yet he was not afraid to call Europe’s greatest security risk by name in his recently published book, Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism.  He favors limiting immigration.

So how did the left bring down the original frontrunner?

François Fillon, the 63-year-old Catholic traditionalist married to the same woman for 37 years, was labeled a corrupt old-school elitist politician.  In late January, he was accused by the leftist newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, of employing his wife and two of his children as parliamentary assistants, a nepotistic benefit permitted by French law.  Fillon apologized for having taken advantage of this arrangement, but he claimed that they had really worked.

A video released of Fillon’s English-born wife, Penelope, being interviewed by the Telegraph was damning.  She stated that “I have never been actually his assistant or anything like that.  I don’t deal with his communication.”  A lawyer by trade, she added that the she had helped him informally during his campaigns and sometimes from their country home.

In an unprecedented move, the French judiciary charged the couple with several counts of embezzlement, making Fillon the first major candidate in the history of the Fifth Republic to seek the presidency while under formal investigation.  The candidate accused President François Hollande of conspiring to torpedo his campaign.

The Financial Times had opined during the Républicain primary that “France needs its best qualified, most trustworthy center-right politician to keep out Ms Le Pen.”

Fillon, now painted as dishonest, was quickly replaced in the polls by Emmanuel Macron, “the centrist candidate,” as being the most likely to face Le Pen in the runoff.

But is Macron, who came in first in Sunday’s primary and is expected to handily defeat Le Pen in the runoff on May 7, really a centrist?  An economist by trade, he is more pro-business than many Socialist Party members.  There is no doubt, however, that he remains culturally on the left.  A quick comparison between Macron’s words and those of the now defeated and dishonored Fillon, who came in third, illustrates what France has lost.

On French Culture and Multiculturalism:

Fillon (author’s translation): Progress has always had at its origin a heritage, a sum of knowledge, and a know-how, which allow the future centuries to take root.  France must renew its pride in its history and in its roots.

Macron: There is no French culture.  There is a culture in France, and it is diverse.

On Immigration:

Fillon: We have six million unemployed and nearly nine million poor people.  Immigration must be firmly controlled and reduced to a strict minimum. 

Macron: [German chancellor Angela] Merkel and German society exemplified our common European values.  They saved our collective dignity by accepting, accommodating, and educating distressed refugees.

On Cultural Integration:

Fillon: France is generous, but it is not a mosaic and a territory without limits.  It is one nation that has a right to choose who can join it and a right that foreigners accept its rules and customs.

Macron: I want to help with Muslim integration. If you follow the line of Marine Le Pen, you create a civil war.

On Islam:

Fillon: I want strict administrative control over the Muslim faith[.] … Any movement claiming Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood will be dissolved.

Macron: What poses a problem is not Islam, but certain behaviors that are said to be religious and then imposed on persons who practice that religion.

Francois Fillon perhaps sinned by misusing public funds, but he should have been considered innocent until proven guilty.  Instead, this traditional Catholic was martyred when telling the truth about France’s future if it continues down its current path.  He offered real solutions while retaining the country’s républicain values.  Most important among them is the reconstitution of the traditional family if France is to survive the demographic onslaught posed by both recent immigration and the high birth rate of French Muslims.

“I will put the family back at the heart of all public policy,” vowed Fillon, the father of five.  

By contrast, Emmanuel Macron married his high school teacher, 24 years his senior.  In the U.S., the romance, which began when he was 15, would have landed her in jail.  Instead, the 64-year-old Brigitte is likely to become France’s first lady.

When Macron’s parents found out about the liaison, they begged the teacher to end it, telling the married mother of three (author’s translation), “You already have your life; Emmanuel will never have children.”  They then asked her to stay away from their adolescent son until he reached eighteen.  Brigitte, old enough to be his mother, replied emotionally, “Je ne peux rien vous promettre.”  I can promise you nothing.

Emmanuel Macron may promise the French a new “centrist” way, but he will continue the left’s path to demographic and cultural destruction.

Quel dommage!  What a shame!

The author is a “self-made multiculturalist” who has lived and worked in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.  He blogs at The Multicultural Conservative: Conservative by Nature – Multicultural by Choice.



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