Emmanuel Macron is a man of words. He’s a “littéraire”, as we like to say in France. Simply put: he likes reading and writing. That may seem like a good quality to have, especially for a politician. Only in Macron’s case, it’s all about whistling and humming at the same time – let’s not be fooled!
It seems like the French president has turned into a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde-like character of late. Like Stevenson’s character there are two Macrons.
There’s the Macron who pleaded for untethered, free market economics at Davos in English and the Macron who spoke of the need to better distribute wealth and economic prosperity in French at the exact same event. In the same speech.
There’s the one who advocated for “humanity” towards refugees, but also the one who stressed the need to increase the number of them being thrown out of the country on not having been granted refugee status.
We have the French president who pretends to be both left-wing and right-wing, balanced and centrist, but the president who in the end scrapped the special income tax imposed on France’s highest earning individuals.
There is the leader who says he believes in building a safety net for workers who then passed a law dismantling hard-won labour protection laws in France and effectively installed the troika’s directorate in Paris.
Lastly, we have the Europeanist who speaks of the need to fundamentally change our Union, democratise its institutions and push for more integration, while at the same time doing U-turns on the democratic election of the Spitzenkandidaten to replace Mr. Juncker next year.
So far from being a “littéraire”, Macron is another Establishment politician: a man of many faces. He is part of a growing trend in which populists today (wherever they are from) are particularly two-timer or contradiction-mongering… hoping that by the time we have worked this out, it will be too late… a done deal.
Macron’s policies thus far can be best summed up by a phrase he was very fond of repeating during his presidential campaign: “et en même temps” (“at the same time/meanwhile”). However, the French version of the word “meanwhile”, is also a way of saying… “but”.
We can’t allow ourselves to be fooled by Macron’s attempt to whistle and hum on his pretended “Europeanist” stance.
One can’t be for AND against the democratisation of European institutions. One can’t both raise AND lower taxes on big corporations and high net worth individuals.
One can’t speak of European federalism whilst being eager to highjack democratic decisions voters should be the able to make during the 2019 European elections.
Macron’s policy of playing both sides can only lead to disaster especially given the fact that Europe can’t afford the luxury of immobilism, half-measures and broken promises.
As we stand on the brink of a new kind of nihilistic governmentality, where politics is turned into perpetual theatre, disconnected from any kind of coherent government programming, at DiEM25 we are pushing for a single, realist, federalist agenda ahead of the 2019 European parliamentary elections. There is no double-speak, no whistle and humming.
Photo: AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI
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