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Monday 7 May 2012

France Socialism Shock Horror

[Update at end of post]

Yesterday in the run-off election for the French Presidency, François Hollande, an ordinary and sober looking chap from the town of Tulle, beat Nicolas Sarkozy and is therefore the new occupant of the Elysée Palace. But M Hollande is, whisper it quietly, a Socialist. Therefore it is now open season for unhinged pundits to predict The End Of The World As We Know It.

There has been talk of markets “plunging”, but thus far the Dax has closed virtually unchanged and the Cac 40 is up over 50 points (the FTSE is unchanged because of the UK Bank Holiday), with the Euro declining by two cents against Sterling, which in any case could reflect the elections not in France, but in Greece. So the Suits have not taken flight, and nor has there been plague or pestilence.

But reality counts for nothing when you’ve got a rant to deliver, and MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan the Oratory Man has just that, as he howls “Britain is shackled to the corpse of Europe”. Hollande is compared to Michael Foot, is “unapologetic”, and France hasn’t balanced its budget for decades. Like the way Dan’s hero Ronald Reagan delivered “Morning In America”, then.

Moreover, although few Governments in the EU are left of centre, the others aren’t really centre-right at all, says Hannan. Yeah, right. And the Telegraph used to allow this goon to write its leader columns. But Dan is not alone: idiot fruitcake Richard Waghorne, who talked up Marine le Pen, has joined the Horsemen of the Apocalypse to tell readers that France has “voted for decline”.

M Hollande is not a communist, but” he wibbles, but by then I lost interest and put the kettle on. Decline is also the keyword from the rictus grin of Nile “Chauncey” Gardiner as he reinvents the EU as being at the end of Empire, and characteristically quotes Margaret Thatcher, someone well versed in racking up millions of unemployed and billions of debt (even if it wasn’t on the public balance sheet).

Can the tedium be maintained? You betcha, says Sarah: there’s the Euro to come yet, and the Tel’s Jeremy Warner reminds readers that, for the single currency, the election of Hollande means that “the end ... draws nearer”. But the Maily Telegraph has been predicting the fall of the Euro for years, and it hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, his pal Benedict “famous last words” Brogan chips in.

Ben tells that Hollande’s win “tilts Europe to the Left and leaves David Cameron isolated”. Why should it? Having François Mitterand in power didn’t cause Margaret Thatcher much of a problem. Young Dave will get on with whoever is President – that’s his job. At least Ben makes more sense than pundit Tim Stanley, who thinks France needs the firm stamp of Bonaparte-esque dictatorship to sort it out.

But you can tell him, as he’s a Doctor. Dr Stanley, you’re an idiot.

[UPDATE 8 May 0940 hours: sadly, the apocalyptic talk was not confined to pundits at the Mail and Telegraph. Even the Independent was talking of "plunging markets" and of a Euro "heading for freefall", although the single currency lost less than 2% against Sterling yesterday (the exchange rate, at 1.24 to the Pound, is still well short of the 1.45 that endured for so long before the financial crisis hit).

And the Guardian was also not immune to the journalistic panic, although talk of losses in the Far East was on this occasion ascribed more to the situation in Greece than that in France. But readers were still told of "financial markets reeling" and of Greece "defaulting", although default has effectively already occurred, albeit in a controlled manner, with many investors taking a haircut. One might be forgiven for thinking that we had seen October 29, 1929 once again, which we had not]

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