Headline:Pressure builds on François Fillon to quit French contest
Sub-headline: Former favourite cries foul but polls point to defeat in first round of presidential race
February 3, 2017
The early Financial Times’ enthusiasm for Fillon:
Headline: Amateur racing driver Fillon enters fast lane of French politics
Sub-headline: Frontrunner for rightwing presidential nomination draws on four decades of experience
November 21, 2016
The debate with Juppé:
Headline: Alain Juppé tries to regain ground in French presidential debateSub-headline: Former favourite for centre-right nomination takes attack to new frontrunner Fillon
November 25, 2016
Fillon’s Political Reprieve?
Headline: Fillon wins temporary reprieve in French embezzlement probe
Sub-headline: Investigation now unlikely to finish before presidential election
What of one of the other political protagonists in this contest, Macron?
Headline: Emmanuel Macron proposes Nordic economic model for France
Sub-headline: Centrist presidential hopeful opts for blend of fiscal restraint and public spending
February 23, 2017
The Financial Times reports that Macron’s economic position of ‘revolution’, advocated in his book published in November, in February 23, 2017 edition of newspaper, has evolved into his most recent position that he will govern as “neither on the right nor on the left”: Neo-Neo-Liberalism or Neo-Liberalism with Human Face. Or perhaps, Macron’s economic philosophy is related to, or is a variant of the ‘Hard Pragmatism’ advocated by Sir Paul Collier in the January 25, 2017 edition of The Times Literary Supplement?
Macron’s economic plans
- Targets for €60bn cut in public spending by 2022, from 55 per cent of GDP to 52 per cent
- Cut up to 120,000 state jobs by not replacing retiring civil servants
- A €50bn stimulus over five years, including training for unemployed and transition to green economy
- Deficit below 3 per cent of GDP, in line with EU requirements
- Negotiate a eurozone budget and EU-wide investment programme with Germany
- Lower corporate tax from 33 per cent to 25 per cent. Keep Socialist government’s tax breaks on salaries
- Extend unemployment benefits to entrepreneurs, farmers, self-employed and those who quit jobs voluntarily
- Exempt 80 per cent of households from local housing tax — a €10bn measure
- Financial investment excluded from wealth tax
- Keep retirement age and pensions intact
Just in case the reader of The Financial Times missed the February 23 news report, here in the February 24, 2017 issue is an expanded version of the same news report:
Headline: Macron substitutes economic moderation for political ‘revolution’
Sub-headline : Centrist French presidential contender outlines Nordic-style economic platform
The revelatory editorial of February 22, 2017 demonstrates the depth of the cynicism of both The Financial Times, and the editorial writer Sudhir Hazareesingh, who is lecturer in politics at Balliol College, Oxford and author of ‘How the French Think’.
Headline: Marine Le Pen has a better chance in France than you think
Sub-headline: The National Front benefits from a neutered right, a flaky centre and a divided left
Here is what is more succinctly said in the headline and sub-headline, than in Hazareesingh’s belabored essay, that flirts with a muted political hysteria:
With a neutered right, a flaky centre and a divided left, the only beneficiary has been Marine Le Pen — fittingly, as her far-right National Front is the inheritor of the Poujadiste tradition. She is now clearly the frontrunner, and though the polls predict that she would lose to any mainstream candidate in the second round of the presidential election, the margins of her projected defeats are getting thinner.
One need only look to the American election of 2016, which demonstrates that the technocrats/experts can be misled, by their cultivated political and ideological myopia, not to speak of their misdirected desire to be right.