The Plastic Hippo

April 26, 2017

Sixth Republic

Filed under: History,Politics,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 1:17 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Macron et Le Pen via Radio Times

At the end of the Second World War, the Fourth French Republic was established and governed with an unstable mix of Gaullist and Communist elected representatives until 1958 when the colonial civil war in Algeria, the debacle in Indochina and revolts in French West Africa brought about the collapse of government, the establishing of the Fifth Republic and the return of General De Gaulle as the President of France.

The Fourth Republic founded the European Steel and Coal Community, signed the Treaty of Paris in 1951 and then signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957 establishing the European Economic Community. A year later, regardless of bringing about astonishing economic growth, an increase in industrial output and massive improvements in social security, education, health and pension rights, the Fourth Republic fell in the face of an army munity and imminent military coup.

Charles de Gaulle was President of the Fifth Republic for 10 years until major civil disorder and another imminent military coup saw Georges Pompidou replace him. It was not until 1981 that France elected a Socialist President of the Fifth Republic in the diminutive form of François Mitterrand. Since then, France has had only one other Socialist President and François Hollande has indicated that he has had enough. Hollande, like his aristocratic Republican predecessor Valéry Giscard d`Estaing, regards affairs of state as being only slightly more important than affairs of the heart (or the demands of another presidential organ) and so has wisely distanced himself from the inconvenience of standing for re-election.

Instead he has manipulated the rise and rise of Emanuel Macron to take up the crown of France and continue the Hollande legacy without the Socialist label. Macron brands himself as neither left nor right but as an outsider of the centre determined to speak for the common people. Against him stands Marine Le Pen, an outsider determined to speak for the common people even though she wears the inherited dogma of her racist father. In France, the traditional right-wing candidate Fillon came third with 19.9 per cent and the traditional left-wing candidate Hamon managed only six per cent. We are perhaps on the verge of a Sixth Estate.

France is not alone in producing ambitious politicians claiming to be outsiders determined to speak for the common people. Across Europe, nasty people are pretending to be just like you to make sure that they will be much better off than you. Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Scandinavia and a once influential set of islands off the north-west coast of Europe are all displaying a set a bizarre behaviours that might indicate a serious possibility of people being unpleasant to other people. The United States of America has recently elected (with a little external assistance) an outsider determined to speak for the common people by riding the wave of what is being described as populism and simultaneously whipping up discord, division and petty isolationist nationalism.

A like-for-like comparison of Trump and his European imitators is, of course, far too simplistic as there are a variety of different forces at play not least an ever widening spectrum of what can be considered as factual evidence or, in Trump`s case, the viability of anything resembling reality. More importantly, the difference is that Trump has actually been elected and even more significant is the major difference between Donald Trump before January 20th and Donald Trump after January 20th.

It is very easy for a populist candidate to shriek all manner of falsehoods to generate hours of free airtime, acres of free newsprint and a dim glimmer of hope amid the dim and downtrodden. Signing various executive orders is equally simple but the difficult bit is the actual governing part of being a head of state. Trump certainly signed the papers restricting arrivals into the US from Muslim countries; he started the process of building a wall along the Mexican border and he started to repeal Obamacare. None of that is ever likely to actually happen. He appointed all sorts of oddballs and family members to government posts and unleashed a carrier strike fleet on North Korea or, given a limited grasp of geography, possibly Australia.

There is clearly a difference between candidate Trump and president Trump and candidates Macron and Le Pen would be wise to remember that. Outsider Le Pen`s claim that she would end forever terrorist attacks on French soil by halting immigration might appeal to French nationalism but somehow fails to mention that recent attacks were carried out by terrorists born and nurtured in France. Outsider Macron promotes business and further European fiscal union. Take a closer look at these anti-establishment outsiders and you will find a cruder, less funny incarnation of Old Mother Riley and her daughter Kitty. A populist nouvelle socialist is more at home in the boardroom of a bank than in a workers` collective and more likely to be sans-culottes in the boudoir rather than at the barricades. Le Pen is an old-school Gaullist worthy of the Fourth Republic but with the added unpleasantness of overtly racist irrational hatred.

Plus ça change, plus c`est la même chose.

Mrs Brown and her daughter via spiked online

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