French Resistance

This is an interesting introduction to a BBC article on France:

France, despite its reputation as a beacon of progressive liberalism, has been at the forefront of a burgeoning pan-European far-right movement.

France may have a reputation as a beacon of progressive liberalism, but it is in actual fact a deeply conservative country. Indeed, the French are probably more renowned for being resistant to any kind of change than for their supposed progressive credentials.

Even socially you can see it. Third-wave feminism hasn’t gained much traction in France as elsewhere; now that the demands of the first- and second-wave feminists have largely been met, French women don’t seem to be demanding special treatment and safe spaces, nor are they complaining much about a patriarchy. And unlike their sisters in the UK, Frenchwomen have refrained from adopting the worst habits of men by going out, getting blind drunk, and having indiscriminate sex up against a bin. French women still have very old fashioned ideas about how women should dress and behave, and their approach to families and children seems like a throwback to our parents’ era. France might have taken a great leap forward in 1968 or whenever it was, but they’ve been fighting tooth and nail to prevent any kind of meaningful change every since.

Marine Le Pen, an anti-immigration Eurosceptic who may well top the first round of France’s presidential election on 23 April, is riding a populist insurgency that has been growing over the past 15 years.

Its themes are familiar in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit: concern for hardworking people, support for traditional values, and opposition to immigration and supranational busybodies.

Themes which ought to have been familiar to mainstream politicians for decades.

The title of this other BBC article is also revealing:

Is France’s online far right a threat to democracy?

“A threat to democracy” meaning, in this case, a threat to the soft left-liberal consensus of the political establishment.

I don’t think the BBC is going to do a very good job of covering this French election, do you?

Liked it? Take a second to support Tim Newman on Patreon!

14 thoughts on “French Resistance

  1. I’m not sure the Beeb has done a good job of anything much since the glorious Pride and Prejudice of ca 1995.

  2. The French have always kept their politics on the left and their wallets on the right.

    Nothing new.

  3. ‘Is France’s online far right a threat to democracy?’

    I thought that should read ‘Is Brexit’s online far right a threat to democracy?’ because as eny fule kno it was people voting as a majority for what they wanted — and worse, talking about it online — that seriously undermines the whole concept of democracy.

  4. Unlike her father, her economic policies are not much different from Melanchon…more state.

  5. I nicked most of your post to save me the bother of writing much the same thing on my blog BTW

    That is absolutely fine, and your post is excellent: I may refer to it soon myself. 🙂

  6. Pingback: French Elections - Poster Wars - L'Ombre de l'Olivier

  7. The word Rentier is French after all.

    On your political analysis it can be further traced back to the political leadership domination by Gaullists and Socialists that all attended the same elite schools, and the all pervading French Bullingdon Club sort of things.

    Le Pen’s attraction is of course due mostly to her Father’s brand “Le Pen” and its claim to being a new power which is very much in non alignment with the above. This also is her handicap in separating herself from her fathers polarising anti-semitic and racist comments. So similar to Ron and Rand Paul its scary.

    This and her pro-Putin stance sets her up as a target for the Beeb.

    I don’t think she has the numbers, it might take something like a French 9/11 to win over enough voters to get her in.

    This is one of the most important French elections in living memory, if Le Pen gets in, it will be seismic.

  8. Bardon,

    Spot on. I don’t think she has the numbers either. She’ll get through to the second round and lose, and the whole world will fall over themselves to say that this as an utter rejection of her and her policies. Unlike Hillary losing was a rejection of her and Obama’s policies.

  9. “I’m not sure the Beeb has done a good job of anything much since the glorious Pride and Prejudice of ca 1995.”

    My suspicions were raised back in the days when Panorama (Beeb I know) exposed their intentional false reporting on the shootings of the provos in Gibraltar and the question raised about who may have been the real murderer of Yvonne Fletcher.

    Not sure if Panorama is still on, and if it is fake news these days.

  10. I’m not quite sure what the French for “squeaky bum time” is but I’m pretty sure we’re entering that phase of the campaign and the elites are distinctly nervous

    See for example

    I don’t think she has the numbers either. She’ll get through to the second round and lose, and the whole world will fall over themselves to say that this as an utter rejection of her and her policies.

    I think she may get the numbers if widespread apathy and dissatisfaction with the alternative causes people to stay at home.

    I’m sure everyone who votes for her in the first round will vote for her again in the run off and I suspect she’ll get 30+% of the vote. I’m far less sure that voters for the losing candidates will dutifully go out and vote for her opponent. I can absolutely see a lot of them deciding “a plague on both their houses” and staying home. She only needs to attract a few of those (perhaps the Fillon supporting catholics or the young mentione dby the BBC) to prevail if there’s a lot of apathy

  11. Yes Francis there is an awful lot at stake here, don’t you think it is a kind of rerun of the US election?

    I never thought I would have taken as much an interest in a French election as I have for this one.

    On your suggestion and after she qualifies for the run off. This milestone in itself would have many angry and fearful migrants rioting on the streets. What effect would this have on the voting result if the motivated voters that were determined to have their voice heard, had to fight their way through rioting mobs to get to the polling booths, a further boost for Le Pen I think.

    And I would be thinking twice about jumping on any aircraft for a non-essential flight anywhere in France until this election is over if I were you Tim.

Comments are closed.