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Monday 21 October 2013

France Not Exiting EU

A number of right-leaning papers that hate the EU with a passion sufficient to, er, sell more newspapers have long been peddling stories suggesting that the entire European project is in trouble, or that one or more countries is about to leave the Eurozone and re-establish a national currency. Sadly for the hacks and their editors, the prophecy is never fulfilled.
And today’s Ron Hopeful will find that his agenda driven fantasy will not come to pass either: step forward Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who has contributed his second piece on the potential French exit from either the EU, Eurozone, or both, which he calls Frexit, a term not to be confused with moderately priced Spanish sparkling wine. A “Frexit” is not going to happen.

That, however, does not deter Evans-Pritchard, who has form on the EU and the Euro, being strongly opposed to both. In his case, this has resulted in the projection of his viewpoint so that his copy becomes the fulfilment of his dreams, rather than reporting on the reality. The latest manifestation of this malaise came last week after there had been a by-election in the south of France.

This had been won by the Front National (FN), nowadays led by Marine le Pen, an admittedly more marketable politician than her father who preceded her as head of the party. Because the FN is anti-EU and anti-Euro, Evans-Pritchard has extrapolated from this one by-election and concluded that Ms le Pen is on her way to the Elysée Palace, with his dreamed-of “Frexit” following.

Sadly, this is complete crap, as by-election results in the UK have all too often shown. But Evans-Pritchard has clearly not been downhearted at the sight of even Telegraph readers telling him he’s having a laugh, returning to the subject today and declaring that “Frexit fever reaches heart of French establishment”. Sadly for him, no such event has taken place.

The “fever” of which he speaks is a book written by someone who Evans-Pritchard introduces as a “federalist”, saying that he is part of the French establishment. So one of the “French establishment” has views which might not concur with everyone else. Big deal.  Then, after a long, tedious and rambling succession of supporting paragraphs, he tells us that he’s reading another anti-EU book next.

All of which gives the game away somewhat: Evans-Pritchard reads material which tells him what he wants to hear, rather than looking at reality. The reality is that the only ones taking notice are the likes of Max Keiser and his pals. If Keiser, an accomplished exponent of the drive-by e-shooting, is your only constituency, you have serious credibility problems.

Perhaps someone at the Tel should let Evans-Pritchard know, and soon.


Anonymous said...

It's even worse than that for AEP

The French political parties use an informal agreement called the "Pacte Republicain" to deny electoral victories for the FN whenever possible.

This might be a loose agreement for local elections, especially in area with strong rightist vote, but it pretty much ensures that 0 MP for the National Assembly is a normal showing.
Even now, I think that the FN has only 1 MP.
And having a FN elected as president is as likely has having Labour or the Tory with 80% of the total vote in a general election with a participation rate of 95% .... not impossible, but very close.

the only time the FN does show its fangs, is at local elections (because it doesn't really affect the institutions) and the European parliament (because the system is proportionality with list)

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

(correction to my previous post)

after confirmation, 2 FN were elected as MPs in 2012, with Mrs LePen's niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen and a media darling barrister, voted in because the Pacte Republicain wasn't applied in their circonscriptions.

Best score in 40 years !!

it's like UKIP in Westminster :
lots of talk for pundits at local elections, but none seen at the highest places of power.

Chris Neville-Smith said...

The FN is a long way off having substantial power in France (like UKIP in the UK, they suffer a lot from a constituency-based system), but that doesn't mean there's unreserved EU praise in France. In YouGov's regular Europe-wide polls on EU membership, the In vote in France is only ahead by a few percent.

For what it's worth, my theory is that the EU's fundamental problem is the loss of goodwill. Not so long ago, there were a lot of countries in the EU with recent histories of dictatorships, and the people of those countries jumped at the chance to be part of a club of prosperous democracies. Now we have a new generation of young adults who don't have any memories of living under dictatorships, but they do have memories of mass youth unemployment which many people blame on the EU and/or Germany. (France is a a little different, but goodwill is waning in France because France doesn't dominate EU politics like it used to.)

I think the original mistake was made in 2005 after France voted No to the EU constitution. That should have been a message to stop, think, and have a discussion on what's going wrong. Instead they went ahead anyway on the lame excuse of calling it a "reform treaty". The problems in the EU can be solved, but they won't be solved by pretending opposition to the EU is uniquely British.