The French have shown a new resistance to authority, quelle surprise! Round one in the French election has gone to two outsiders, the liberal choice of Emmanuel Macron and the extreme right wing candidate Marine Le Pen. France has followed the recent referendum campaign in the UK and the US election by upsetting the political apple-cart by ending six decades of rule from moderate parties.
What does this mean for us? Miss Le Pen would be more supportive of our Brexit negotiations, as she wants to get France out of the Euro. Assuming a Le Pen victory doesn’t leave the EU so focused over a potential Frexit, which would shake its foundations to its core, meaning that a less significant Brexit gets forgotten. Macron is pro-EU, he will get EU and Brussels backing, and he has already spoken of driving a hard Brexit bargain to safeguard the EU’s future. His pro-EU stance secured him 40.4% of the French expatriate vote, compared with 6.48% for Le Pen. Expect European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to be jubilant that he’s got his man. The EU will be breathing a collective sigh of relief.
British politicians have already rallied around Mr Macron, including No. 10’s Head of Policy Unit George Freeman and former chancellor George Osborne. Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that whilst he likes Miss Le Pen personally, he can’t support her.
Whoever wins, expect a bunfight after the election if it’s as tight as this first poll (23.8% Vs 21.5% on a 79% turnout). Imagine trying to get legislation passed when there’s such opposing views to appease in government? Any real change could prove impossible to secure.
And does this offer hope to the Lib Dems in our General Election 2017? After this latest French Revolution is there going to be a similar political earthquake here? Will the EU back Tim Farron’s campaign as he’s calling for a second referendum too?
What anyone getting involved in either election campaign should bear in mind is “Vive la difference!” Just because the liberals won this time, it doesn’t mean that Le Pen isn’t going to feel under threat and shore up her vote, while the liberals might be too complacent if they think it’s already in the bag. The British relationship with the EU doesn’t compare either. We have our own currency and a 40-year history of fighting it. No one should assume that the same rules apply.