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?