French Press (4) – A Coffee Drinker’s View On The French Presidential Election

(IV) Emmanuel Macron’s Late Night Out

Up to now, compared to Marine Le Pen, I’ve been quite nice to Emmanuel Macron. Well, one thing’s for sure: nobody’s perfect

I was fortunate enough to attend the Euro 2000 football championship final between Italy and France, that took place in Rotterdam. I was standing in the midst of French supporters, and we were feeling utterly dejected. There were seconds remaining in the final, and the French were losing 1-0. I could clearly see the Italian bench impatiently hugging the touchline in the expectancy to run on the field and congratulate their teammates. That was not to be, because in the dying seconds the French forward, Sylvain Wiltord, scored an unlikely equaliser. In extra-time, France went on to lift the trophy by winning the match 2-1.

In the jubilation of his first round election victory, Emmanuel Macron decided to have a night out at the famous (and expensive) brasserie La Rotonde, in Paris. Champagne was being sipped in an ambience that was more appropriate for a landslide electoral victory rather than the 24% that Macron scored on the night. Well, you cannot really blame him, can you? A year ago, his political party, En marche, was barely a tadpole zygote. And look at him now, on the verge of becoming Président de la République.

That he celebrates his victory is perfectly normal and understandable. What is less clear, is why he had to party in such an upmarket brasserie, on a night when he only got 24% of the vote. Not many people could afford to eat there, yet alone throw a party. Well, maybe I could just about afford a dinner for two (46 euro’s p.p.), but we would probably just drink tap water, s’il vous plait. I’m exaggerating of course, but there lies a serious undertone to what I’m saying. Emmanuel Macron has, I gather, studied a little. He must surely know that if 24% voted for him, it means that 76% have voted against him. Before painting the town red, Emmanuel Macron should have considered two things. The first, is that his opponent for the second round is a born demagogue and populist, who now prides herself in being “for the people”, and against the elite. By organising a party that must have cost a bob or two, in celebration of an election that he hasn’t even won yet, he is giving Marine Le Pen living proof that the elites are alive and well. The second point is that just under 50% of the vote, including his share, went for “alternative” candidates, underscoring not only the desire for a complete change in policies, but also a change in the way that politicians behave.

“If you haven’t understood that it’s my pleasure tonight to invite out my secretaries, my security guards, then you haven’t understood anything about life.” – Emmanuel Macron

Well, I may not understand anything about life, but I’m beginning to wonder if Emmanuel Macron understands as much as he thinks he does, about present-day politics.