Vive la révolution
Emmanuel Macron and the La République en Marche (LRM) party have won a historic victory in the French legislature elections. having won 350 of the 577 seats available, while the Socialist party lost 29 seats. The Socialists party’s’ leader also lost his seat after not even making the runoff.
This unprecedented defeat goes largely against what we’ve seen around the world. In Britain, Labour made huge gains in the last election. In the U.S Trump happened. Labour being an extreme left-wing party, and Trump being, well, Trump. Trump and Corbyn show that the public’s voting preference seemed to swing towards the extremes, so why didn’t it happen in France?
The people are sick of the Government:
Macrons party didn’t win because they had the backing of the people, they won because no one had the backing of the public. Turnout for this election was a record-low in France, with only 42 % of the people bothering to go and vote Macron certainly has no kind of mandate for his proposed policies.
This low turnout is a symptom of why the extremes didn’t win this time. In the U.K and the U.S, the extremes made gains or won because people were angry. In France, the elites managed to push the people to a point where they no longer cared. The public didn’t vote because they saw voting as a waste of time because all the parties were a pile of crap. Macron is a result of people no longer caring, Corbyn and Trump are results of people caring so much they want to shove a wrench in the ‘works’ of the politicians.
Is this gain good or bad?
Although I can’t help but rejoice at the idea of the Socialists losing seats and their leader getting told to F*** off by the French public it is important to assess whether this is actually a move in the right direction or not.
LRM is only 14 months old, which makes this victory more incredible and impressive but at the same time makes it all the more worrying. We have no track record to judge this party on, only what they say they’ll try.
Firstly from a structural point of view, the LRM has some major differences, around 50% of their seats are occupied by political novices. Although there is much to be said about fresh eyes who aren’t stuck in the echo chamber of politics this number of amateur and beginner politicians is incredibly worrying. They’re not tried and tested, they have no voting track record, and they have no past experience.
How will their policies fare?
Below are Macrons policies, which, with his party now the majority will hopefully get passed.
Overall he loves the European Union but has at least accepted that reform is necessary. His most notable policy with regard to the European Union is that he wishes to push back on Germany a little bit, ensuring their trade surplus is dealt with and that there is overall more shared responsibility. This could be great, if he can pull it off that is. Merkel will most likely fight all his European Union policy as they’re likely to hurt German, but who cares? Macrons job is to care about France, not Germany.
One of the more sensible policies which in brief is: stronger borders, French-speaking becomes a requirement for citizenship, Religous leaders get training in Frances secular values, asylum claims settled quicker, failed applications sent home but asylum seekers are welcome. Overall this just strengthens the system but still allows asylum seekers into France. This seems great on the surface but will the bureaucratic European Union allow him to do all this? I personally doubt it.
An overall supporter of the UN and the European Union, wishes to increase foreign aid spending, wants Assad to answer for his crimes, he is a critic of Russian Policy and an advocate of Francophone institutions. Again on their surface, his policies seem alright, but in reality, don’t mean very much. Firstly saying Asaad must answer for his crimes means very little unless you have a plan to get him out, replace him, stabilise the region and prevent further loss of life in even more cruel and inhumane ways. Secondly being a critic of Russian Policy isn’t particularly helpful in today’s climate. What we need to do is work with Russia while simultaneously pressuring them to improve internal policies, being against Russia all these years has changed nothing, we need to try to work with instead of against.
He plans to expand prisons to house more inmates, increase the number of police officers and promote joint military operations within the EU. Overall these policies are actually pretty good, his prison expansion will house 15,000 more inmates. with an additional 10,000 police officers security will be increased which is vital after the attack faced all across Europe.
In my opinion his weakest area. Macron wishes to limit class sizes to 12 pupils per teacher, ban mobile phone use, and create a “Cultural Pass” for 18-year-olds worth €500. The last one is possibly his worst policy. Although it’s purpose is great it is in my view a big waste of money and the money should be kept and reinvested into something else. 12 pupils per teacher may sound great but would cost a fortune, again an excessive waste of money, class sizes of 20 are suitable and that difference will stack up if you’re talking about free education for an entire country. The final issue is the mobile phone ban. I understand why this is proposed but I do believe that using your mobile phone is a personal choice and should be allowed if they chose to – their education, their choice.
Overall his policies are better than the Socialist Party. They still have room for improvement, however. With his party in majority Macrons, supporters can be sure many of his policies will now pass, it’s simply whether or not the political amateurs within the party can pass them effectively.