Marine Le Pen is defeated, the opinion polls were wrong again, they underestimated the margin of Emanuel Macron’s win. Is populism in retreat?
If you peruse the European media and find publications singing the praises of Donald Trump, well done you, you must be good at perusing. Because frankly, across Europe, there has been a real dearth of positive Trump coverage.
In the US, the president’s popularity rating has fallen sharply.
Maybe the French voted for Emanuel Macron in such numbers because they had been subjected to so much anti Trump – and indeed anti Brexit editorial – that and they felt Marine Le Pen was just too far beyond the pale – at least that is one narrative doing the rounds at the moment.
It turns out that Macron won the French vote with a 31-percentage point win – that was 7 points higher than the opinion polls expected. They got it wrong again, but this time they failed to spot the overwhelming support for the favourite.
Maybe the difference is that in France there is less inequality – the share of the wealth held by the richest one per cent in France has fallen since 2005 – yes fallen, and quite sharply too.
In fact, inequality is much less in France than it is in the UK.
But that does not really add up?
If you really want to compare the French National Front with a UK party, compare with UKIP, that was trounced in the recent local elections.
In 2002, when the French election was between Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jacques Chirac, Marine Le Pen’s father won just 17.8 per cent of the vote.
Brexit is not the same thing as the French National Front – not by a long way. There were multiple reasons why people voted Brexit, the isolationist, Le Pen ideology, only motivated a minority.
Maybe there is no real lesson from the French election, other than the lesson that France, traditionally a left leaning country, has not leant the other way and moved to the right of the UK.
The real fight for France’s heart is starting now, if Macron cannot turn the French economy around, Le Pen will be back.