Wednesday 26th April 2017
I fail to understand how you can call Macron a “progressive” (Front page, 25 April). His thin policy programme, though it claims to want to remake France’s political system, proposes the same failed policies of reducing labour rights, cutting business taxes and shrinking the public sector. In terms of Europe, he wants more federalism allied to support for the calamitous euro. Such policies helped lead to a collapse of support for the traditional right and left parties.
Macron’s pro-globalisation, anti-protectionist stance is out of kilter with global trends. Whenever voters are given a choice, they vote in huge numbers for Brexit, Trump and Le Pen because of their demands for adequately controlled borders. Since the 2008 crisis, the global economy has passed what Larry Elliott terms “peak globalisation”, “peak trade” and “peak capital flows”. This new reality was even recognised at last week’s IMF meeting, when finance ministers and central bankers from around the world dropped a pledge to resist protectionism.
It is a grim choice for the majority in France who don’t like job-destroying free trade and want tighter immigration controls, but who don’t want to vote for the extreme right. Unless he rethinks his anti-protectionism, Macron could leave the way clear for Marine Le Pen’s more extreme niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, to take France even further to the far right in the 2022 election.
Author of Progressive Protectionism