By yesterday evening, the story leading TV news bulletins was that the run-off vote for the French Presidency had been won by centrist Emmanuel Macron, who beat Front National figurehead Marine le Pen by 66% to 34%. The news has featured, to a greater or lesser extent, on most newspaper front pages this morning. But for Britain’s two best-selling titles, there is not a word about it. Why that may be is not hard to explain.
It's the lead story here ...
The Murdoch Sun and the Rothermere Daily Mail have steered well clear of the news from France, both instead majoring on what Prince Harry got up to when he met up with his girlfriend. Both papers have led their editorials with predictably vicious attacks on shadow chancellor John McDonnell after his appearance yesterday morning on The Andy Marr Show (tm). Because Macron’s victory does not fit their chosen narrative.
... but not here ...
It was so different last month after Ms le Pen had secured her place in the run-off: then, the Mail devoted its front page to that news, proclaiming a “NEW FRENCH REVOLUTION”. The Dacre doggies also fraudulently told their readers “le Pen’s far right in poll surge” when her numbers had been in steady decline, and then came the giveaway as the front page also told “Now voters will have say on Frexit”.
... or here ...
That is the narrative that the Sun and Mail have desperately pushed: that Britain leaving the EU is only the first of many departures from the Union. Every election in an EU member state is presented in the same way. Hence the talking up of far-right Norbert Hofer in the Austrian Presidential election - but Hofer lost, and in any case would not have looked to take his country out of the EU. So attention moved to the Netherlands.
There, the Sun and Mail talked up the prospects of Geert Wilders, whose poll ratings also suffered from their joint curse, declining as the election approached. What our free and fearless press somehow failed to tell its readers is that Netherlands elections inevitably result in coalitions having to be formed. None of the other parties wanted anything to do with Wilders. So there were two reason why that wasn’t going to happen.
... but it was so different last month
There was no Aust-exit, and no Nexit. Now there has been no Frexit. Worse for the Sun and Mail, Macron is steadfastly pro-EU. He believes the EU made a mistake even giving concessions to Young Dave in the run-up to last year’s referendum. He has stated that Britain will lose the most over Brexit, and confirmed that the UK cannot enjoy the same rights as other member states if it chooses not to be a member.
And he’s said this about two British politicians beloved of the Sun and Mail: “The British are making a serious mistake over the long term. Boris Johnson enjoys giving flamboyant speeches but has no strategic vision; the turmoil he created the day after Brexit proves it. Nigel Farage and Mr Johnson are responsible for this crime: they sailed the ship into battle and jumped overboard at the moment of crisis”.
Emmanuel Macron is not the Sun and Mail’s preferred kind of politician. His victory does not meet with their requirements. So he must be kept off the front pages. Perish the thought that all those readers might discover they are being deliberately deceived.