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One thing the PS had been very adroit at doing is to draw people's attention to the FN, which right now is the only credible anti-EU and anti-ruling elite party. There is a concerted attempt to muzzle anything to the left of the PS leadership, which is why you often hear folks like Valls and Le Guen vociferously denouncing "division" among the ranks, which is an invitation, given they have no intention of even considering modifying the course on policy, to just fall into step.

Focalising attention on the FN is a two-pronged electoral strategy. First, it is one which tries to give those many disappointed rank and file PS members and sympathisers a reason to vote. The logic is "you are disappointed in how we govern, but if you don't vote look which scary people could get in!" While the PS in governing is a failure, this particular strategy, while on the whole not a great one, has had some success, and arguably the PS did better, even though they were badly beathen, then they could have.

Second, there have been polls looking forward to 2017 which would indicate that there is only one way the PS can possibly succeed - and that is in a dream Hollande run-off against Marine Le Pen. The hope being here that a divided centre-right (say, Juppé, Sarkozy and maybe another mainstream right wing candidate could all run with relative strength) could let Hollande squeak through to the second round against Marine Le Pen, with a subsequent "rally for the Republican candidate" push allowing Hollande to remain at the Elysée. A bit of a stretch, but one which none other than Le Monde has talked up, earlier this year, and realistically Hollande's (and the PS in general) only hope as things stand now.

This strategy has parliamentary repurcussions too, as triangular and PS-FN binary run-offs are the PS only possible route to success in a large portion of parliamentary seats which will be up in two years.

One unfortunate side effect of this has been for criticism of the EU and of Maastricht to be relegated to the FN. There are voices on the left with similar criticisms, notably people like Jacques Sapir in academia or François Lafond with a more political background, but no one with a political following much less a movement. A key mistake, in my view, of the Front de Gauche in the 2012 election was to mostly and substantively avoid this subject, choosing instead, like the PS today, to direct attention to the FN's unsavory side rather than that of the EU the FN was attacking, and in so doing giving up to the latter the ideological space which is contesting the single currency as presently constituted. And now we see many of its former voters in 2012 (don't forget, Mélanchon got 11% and the Front de Gauche got 12% in last year's Europeans) these people didn't just go away, though they certainly did not vote in those numbers last week.

Alas, in France if we are to have a political movement come to power which forthrightly contests the prerogatives of the elite which both the UMP and the PS represent, it will come from the populist right.

 

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 09:12:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid it's hello President Sarkozy in 2017.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 03:03:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
President Juppé, if we're lucky...
by Bernard on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 05:54:59 PM EST
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Yes. Very lucky ;)

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 05:56:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For instance, Juppé, who is no spring chicken, could have significant and public health problems.

The only thing which I think is certain is that, even with a modest recovery in economic activity (accompanied by a modest uptick in demand) which we are likely to see in 2015 and 2016, unemployment in France will continue to remain quite high, incomes will continue to stagnate and the weather north of the Loire will continue to be generally bad. Those in the PS who are "waiting for results" from the present economic policy choices, as in the words of Benoît Hamon, will be sorely disappointed, and anything smelling of PS will look no better two years hence than it does today.

In this respect, I hear often references to the coming Berezina for Hollande, but I think this does injustice to Napoléon. After all, Napoléon prevailed at Berezina, even if this still signified overall defeat in the war. And the people were still behind him. They've never been behind the flaccid Hollande. No, it isn't Berezina what the leading lights of the PS are up to. They are rather in Moscow, waiting for the food and the heating fuel to miraculously arrive, magical fruits of their "reforms" such as they are. And of course, nothing of the sort will happen. There will be no brilliant PS tactician in retreat, as there was at Berezina. They simply are too proud and too cut off from the realities of most French people to realise that retreat is strategically the only way forward.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is too polarising a figure. Popular among the UMP set but they too are a minority, just a slightly bigger one than the rump PS. He really really stirs up animus for everybody else.

The PS would just love for Sarkozy to run. It is one of their few cards left to get their core consituencies to vote. Not for the PS, but against the reviled Sarkozy.

I doubt it will happen in the end, even if the UMP doesn't manage to get a primary together.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:48:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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