Front National: The Fury of French Voters Rattles An EU Fearing It Faces Its Fukushima Moment




Once the sovereign voters of Europe had flashed democratic two-fingered salutes at EU elite-o-crats in a shock May 25 election result for the European Parliament — one could almost hear the whispered calls in Brussels — make them vote again”.

Marine le Pen - the future Iron Lady of France? (Credit party campaign poster)

Marine le Pen – the future Iron Lady of France? (Credit party campaign poster)

For as French diplomat and socialist Hubert Vedrine noted the EUrocrats have made such a virtue of ignoring the popular will and trotting out their own version of how things should be — even when voters say no, no and no — that now “without radical revision, the European dream will disintegrate”.

The no, no and no came in France on 29 May 2005 ( the referendum on whether France should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union treaty was rejected by 55% of voters on a turnout of 69%); in the Netherlands on 1 June 2005 (where the first national referendum for more than 200 years rejected the Constitution by 61.6% of voters on a turnout of 63.3%); and in Ireland on 12 June 2008 (where the first referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon was rejected by 53.4% to 46.6%, on a turnout of 53%).

Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

A number of analysts have concluded that it was the “make them vote again” syndrome, so arrogantly imposed on the electorates of France, the Netherlands and Ireland by bloated, well-paid Commission elites and self-indulgent EU leaders, that laid the seeds for the convincing rejection of ‘ever-more-Europe’ on May 25 by voters in all but 10 of 27 EU-member states. (In the map below coloured blue and yellow basically). It doubtless was further fuelled by earlier euro-crisis diktats from Brussels that imposed new leaders on Italy and Greece, and post-Cyprus, announced future bank bailouts would see depositors’ accounts across the EU seized to save the bonuses of reckless banking rogues…

EU countries coloured by the leading party (in the 2014 election) Blue showing where majority right-leaning parties dominate (Credit WSJ)

EU countries coloured by the leading party (in the 2014 election) Blue showing where majority right-leaning parties dominate (Credit WSJ)

… and as this graph shows the EU ought perhaps to be eating some humble pie:

The EU's own polls show it ahas lost the trust of the electorate

The EU’s own polls show it has lost the trust of the electorate

French News Online reported the likelihood of this happening back in January 2011 when shortly after Marine le Pen took over her father’s party a French commentator predicted that she would be president of France by 2017. As we noted at the time her meteoric rise can in part be attributed to political fallout from the Eurozone’s abject management of the ongoing crisis provoked by the continuing criminality of major bankers. Writing on his blog about “the Eurozone’s shambolic crisis management strategy” Henry Farrell, a politics professor at George Washington University, warns of upheavals ahead for Europe: “Much less attention has been paid to the political fallout which is considerable. The bailout strategies seem almost purpose-designed to corrode popular legitimacy both in the states giving and receiving funds. If the prospect of a politically viable European Union isn’t quite dead yet, it’s haemorrhaging on the operating table, and the surgeon clearly has no clue what to do”.

Shortly after Marine le Pen was confirmed as the new leader, a former PS presidential candidate Ségolène Royal told the Dimanche+ programme on Canal Plus TV – “As of today, the FN has a candidate and a few good programme ideas and is thus highly visible. The FN will feast on all of Nicolas Sarkozy’s unkept promises and on all his lies. The FN will gain traction because of the increasing poverty of the middle class and a large number of French people, feeling undermined and seeking scapegoats, will vote for whoever promises safety and stability. The FN has always been anti-European and has always urged France to dump the Euro for the franc – and the recent crisis may appear to be proving them right.”

In a succinct summary of matters-EU James Allan Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland puts it this way: “The EU, to my way of thinking, is a sovereignty-gobbling, democracy-crushing behemoth.  It is a top-down project that systematically attempts to give the voters of Europe as little say as possible – on the Lisbon Treaty, the euro, the whole panoply of EU institutions.  This is the supranational state that so many legal and broadcasting and Big Government elites just love.  Only a dozen-or-so years ago it was being held up as the way of the future.  What a joke that is today!”
 

As for my own view, I am broadly in favour of the Brexit as matters currently stand. This is on the grounds that the EU has slipped its democratic leash and cannot be trusted after repeatedly overriding the verdict of voters, culminating in the suppression of the Dutch and French No votes on the European Constitution and the repackaging of the same text as the Lisbon Treaty (which I regard as illegitimate, to be defied on principle) … The EU is already in existential crisis. The Front National won the French elections with calls for an immediate restoration of the franc and a referendum on Frexit. The Franco-German axis that has held the project together for 50 years has broken down.- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Daily Telegraph (UK).

In whatever way the Establishment tries to spin it, those Europeans who turned out to vote for this trans-national assembly did so to a large extent in support of parties that seek to replace European federalism by the bunker nation state. They want to  disband the EU parliament, end the dash for a federal EU, dump the euro, restore usurped sovereignty to nation states, shut Europe’s borders to untrammelled immigration (read the nurseries of Islamic extremism) and end six years of  economic austerity imposed at the hands of criminal global financiers. (See also Zero Hedge’s “Stress Test” Reviewed: Tim Geithner Is “A Grifter, A Petty Con Artist report on ongoing sociopathic behaviour here ).

For the effrontery of being in the vanguard of those seeking to dismantle “the democracy-crushing behemoth” Europe’s rejectionists were subjected to the widespread opprobrium of Europe’s bien pensants who heaped scorn and insult on the heads of  what they now describe as “Euro-phobic” voters, for daring to show displeasure at Xanadu encased in its Brussel’s pl(tr)easure-dome.

The worst of such venom came in some imprudent remarks by Germany’s unloved Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who had no compunction in labelling 25% of French voters fascists! He said “European policy makers must reflect on why ‘a fascist, fascist-extremist party’ won the most votes in France remarks which his leader Chancellor Angela Merkel when given the opportunity, declined to repudiate.

The anti-euro, anti-immigration party headed by Marine Le Pen may have won 26% of the vote, and taken a third of France’s 74 seats in the European Parliament but the establishment seems determined to undermine and rollback the outcome in a further display of the very make them vote again syndrome that brought about the reaction in the first place. Schaeuble’s unmeasured outburst was followed by further vitriolic German commentary, this time on Deutsche Welle, Berlin’s equivalent of the BBC.

Here in a commentary on the station’s website Dr. Alexander Kudascheff, the station’s editor-in-chief wrote:  “Every fourth vote went to the National Front, making the party the strongest political force in Paris. The victory in France – of the right, the extreme right, the right-wing populist, the xenophobic National Front (FN) – is a shock, even though the results weren’t unexpected. It’s a shock for France, for Europe, for the European Union and beyond. “France is experiencing a political earthquake and living through a political nightmare. The land of Voltaire and Descartes, the land that made “la clarté” – rationality – a principle of society, has thrown itself into the arms of a petty-bourgeois rebellion against globalization and, thus, against the idea of a united Europe. It’s clear there are many reasons for the victory of Marine Le Pen – the hardly uncharismatic, eloquent, tactically cunning party leader. Within just two years, the government of Socialist Francois Hollande has utterly failed – economically and politically……”. (Subsequently the commentary was taken down with no indications from the station as to why). Perhaps the station re-considered in the light of more sober analysis?

The elftwing paper Liberation shocked many with this  front page on the day after the elections

The leftwing paper Liberation shocked many with this front page on the day after the elections

An opposite view is taken by other observers as seen in this video report from The Geneva Business Insider with James Corbett and David L. Smith : In his latest book “Marine Le Pen vous dit MERCI” the acerbic leftwing French writer, historian and commentator Jean-François Kahn writes “the obsessional and almost paranoid use of the term ‘populiste’ in an effort to cast them as the devil, when a large proportion of public opinion self-identifies as ‘populaire’ has significantly benefited the Front National”.

Kahn holds that supporters of the EU status quo fail to realise that efforts at portraying Front National and the other parties on the right as unspeakable purgatorial evil, have seriously backfired. Indeed Kahn goes on to note that an overwhelming 50% of the working class voted for the Front National and notably in the former leftwing bastions of Pas-de-Calais, Nord, Moselle, Picardie, Gard, and Marseille. In the traditional fiefdoms of the Right —  the upmarket quartiers of Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Hauts de Seine, Neuilly-sur-Seine together with the Vendée, Deux Sevres, Orne and Lozère, the fiefdoms of the bourgeoisie and the conservative and traditionalist Roman Catholic Right, the Front National did badly, he added.

“Under the pretext of blocking the Front national, our political class has unceasingly played their game and given them huge amounts of oxygen”. – Jean-François Kahn

Here the author discusses his views on a popular France TV panel programme:

Jean-François Kahn vs Caron & Polony [T V] Ruquier par warrant

So why did the French among the progenitors of the EU in all its earlier forms, so soundly repudiate it this time, what do they want?

Can or will the National Front rise to the presidency, the very pinnacle of the nation? Starting with the last, the French Socialists, in a state of depressive self-destruction and the centre-right UMP opposition crippled by financial scandal and now headless and leaderless, currently offer no meaningful opposition to a forceful and determined Ms. Le Pen.

It is three years to the next presidential election (2017) and barring a miracle, Francois’ Hollande’s rudderless, weak, vacillating and unpopular reign looks set never to recover from the collapse in voter support — down to 14% in the European Parliament election. The strongest figure on the French political scene presently is thus one for whom 25.29% of the French voted on May 25 to the shock and horror of the French and European Establishments who, in shuddering, recoiling and vilifying her, merely drive more and more of the jobless and disillusioned to her side.

Discussing the situation in France in the UK’s Daily Telegraph fervent euro critic Ambrose Evans Pritchard noted: “The jobless rate has risen from 10.1pc to 10.4pc (Eurostat) since he (Hollande) took office. The economy shed a further 23,600 jobs in the first quarter as GDP growth fell back to zero. Some 57,000 jobs have been lost over the past year. Mr Hollande’s approval rating has in turn crashed to 18pc in the latest Ifop poll, the worst ever for a French leader”. There are five million unemployed in France (alongside the alarming 5.4 million young persons (under 25) unemployed in the EU28) while an Ifop poll for

JDD – Journal du Dimanche on May 25 lifted the veil on the views of La France Profonde, (the country beyond the frothy salons of the Paris media and the political bubble) to suggest 51% of respondents were satisfied with the EU, while 49% were dissatisfied.

These overall figures masked significant variations depending on party preferences: PS and UMP supporters were 65% satisfied. But supporters of the Front de Gauche were largely dissatisfied (54% against, 46% satisfied) and supporters of the Front National were 73% dissatisfied and 27% satisfied. The disgruntled complained “the euro was too expensive” (53%), there were too many enlargements (38%) and there were no more borders (33%). For 37% of the French the president of the FN best embodied the voices of those opposed to the EU.

The mood music at this distance in time from the elections is sombre as Le Monde political columnist Françoise Fressoz wrote on June 7 in the New York Times: “These days, the National Front is driven by its desire to end the grip of the major parties; to deconstruct Europe; and to block immigration in order to give the French people back “their country, their freedom, their fortunes and their pride.” With lofty fervour, Marine Le Pen declares that the political divide is no longer between left and right, but between a country, France, and the forces of globalization… You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in France who isn’t fed up with national politics and all the expensive drama, impatient to pull out of the six-year-long economic spiral, or even willing to give up on the grand European project. The French would more than like to see better days. And if that means sending Marine Le Pen to the Élysée Palace in 2017, then a lot of people say: So be it.”

Of course now thanks to the election outcome Marine Le Pen joins the mass media’s 24 /7 news cycle as a “big “item while the self-perpetuating glare of publicity and provocation will ensure she becomes even more of a household name unless she slips up badly, somehow unlikely given the shrewd advisors she is surrounded by and her own confident media manner.

She exuded more of this confidence and straight talking in a recent interview with Mathieu von Rohr of the leading German newspaper Der Spiegel: “The French want to regain control of their own country. They want to determine the course of their own economy and their immigration policies. They want their own laws to take precedence over those of the European Union. The French have understood that the EU does not live up to the utopia they were sold. It has distanced itself significantly from a democratic mode of operation.” Responding to the interviewer on whether she sought to destroy Europe she said: “ I want to destroy the EU, not Europe! I believe in a Europe of nation-states. I believe in Airbus and Ariane, in a Europe based on cooperation. But I don’t want this European Soviet Union”.

“SPIEGEL: The EU is a vast project for peace. It has helped ensure 70 years without war on the Continent. Le Pen: No. Europe is war. Economic war. It is the increase of hostilities between the countries. Germans are denigrated as being cruel, the Greeks as fraudsters, the French as lazy. Ms. Merkel can’t travel to any European country without being protected by hundreds of police. That is not brotherhood”. While her blunt answers and full frontal attack on Europe and Germany caused considerable shock in Berlin and drew much flak from pro European elites, it is exactly her direct and clear style that has drawn to her side so many voters particularly from the working class, tired of vacuous unfulfilled promises about their disappearing jobs.

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Indeed the day after world leaders gathered at Normandy June 6 to pay homage to the fallen on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Marine Le Pen was telling Moscow’s Russia Today in an interview with Sophie Shevardnadze to be broadcast June 9: “The European Union’s diplomacy is a catastrophe … The EU speaks out on foreign affairs either to create problems, or to make them worse.”

Where Ukraine is concerned, Le Pen believes that Europe had no right to blackmail the country into breaking up its historical and cultural ties to Russia. “When offering a partnership agreement to Ukraine – which would mean breaking off of its allied relations with Russia – the EU has clearly set blackmail in motion. And that can’t help but fuel dissent inside the country,” Le Pen told RT, adding that “pouring oil onto the fire” could lead to an increasing risk of a civil war. “The EU has been doing nothing but making the situation worse using threats, blackmail and sanctions, which, as we can see now, clearly do not encourage anyone to sit at the negotiation table in order to come up with a peaceful and reasonable solution to the conflict,” she said.

Stand by for plenty more of the same over the next three years as many disillusioned French voters fed up with increasingly out-of-touch leaders, prepare perhaps for a new 1789 via the ballot box.

As to why the French voted the way they did writer and journalist Eric Conan sets it all out in an unremitting 8-page Europe-bashing analysis in Marianne (Issue 891 not online).  According to Conan the voter consensus is that Europe has become an ‘uncontrollable monster’.

He goes on: “In France a good EU student like Bruno le Maire, former minister for European Affairs speaks of ‘a mad machine running on empty’. In Germany the philosopher Jurgen Habermas considers the EU’s management of the current crisis ‘an insult to all conceptions of democracy’ “François Heisbourg, a long-time Red Guard of Europmania suggests in his book: La fin du rêve européen: ‘we must unpick the single currency to save Europe which is becoming a new USSR without the gulag. ” ‘The growing French disenchantment with the EU can be seen in the turnout for European elections from an abstention rate of 37% in the first such election in 1979 to 59% in 2009, with the reason, according to pollsters, being French disdain for the failure of the EU to take any notice of the 2005 referendum where voters clearly rejected the European constitution.’ “The subsequent approval of the treaty by Nicolas Sarkozy with the connivance of the opposition Socialist Party showed a total disdain for the will of the electorate. This was summed up in the unforgettable phrase of Jean Claude Juncker referring to the 2005 referendum : ‘if the answer is yes we will say we move ahead, if it is no, we will say we will continue anyway.’ “

“In 2009 the Karlsruhe Constitutional Court retrospectively validated the realism pointed to much earlier by Gen de Gaulle, by announcing ‘a European people does not exist’, that sovereignty remained in the hands of nations of sovereign people and that the European parliament does not rank as an equal to national parliaments. This position was recently reaffirmed by Jurgen Habermas who wrote: ‘We do not need a European people but rather well informed individuals who are aware that they are citizens of a state and citizens of Europe. These citizens can perfectly well when participating in national politics also participate in the formation of a political will on a European wide scale.’

“Paradoxically it was the French Left under Mitterrand who were responsible to a large extent for the euroatlanticist and neo liberal platform that subsequently emerged in Europe after the signing of the 1986 Single European Act. In the absence of a common programme in a single country the French Left promised in effect to ‘change lives via a social Europe’ as announced by (Frenchman) Jacques Delors president of the commission between 1984 and 1995 … As Michel Rocard stated in 1989: ‘the rules of the international capitalist game sanction all audacious social policies. We have to play this cruel game to construct Europe,’ from that moment on the European machine entered an irrational phase and felt by many as such however badly explained the concerns were. The ideological forward surge by the wise men following Jean Monnet’s methods inflamed the neoliberal dogmas codified under the single act of 1986 and resulted in a proliferation of rules and directives designed to put the European economy onto automatic pilot.

“From this emerged the idea, today considered to be absurd by the great majority of economists, to make a technical instrument — a single currency – a political instrument charged with creating Homogeneity between national economies which in turn was to be a ripe condition for the introduction of the same single currency.

“From this also emerged the idea of abolishing external frontiers (the community preference and the treaty of Rome) to set up a single global economic space open to all the gales of world competitors. This in turn was based on the illusion that the Monnet men could get Europe — which they still considered to be the centre of the world – to specialise as a knowledge economy and leave dirty industry to the Third World; a conception of the global division of labour well represented in France by Dominique Strauss Kahn and as pretentious as it was derogatory of the emerging nations… in turn leading to the preposterous Schengen accords proclaiming on the basis of the euro, free internal circulation of labour before harmonising migration policies of member states or providing efficient effective common surveillance of Schengen’s external borders…”

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“In the face of the breakdown of an economically, socially, politically and diplomatically poisoned Europe Daniel Cohn-Bendit concluded: ‘it is not Europe that should be shelved, it is those who constructed it (who should be)’. The problem is those in charge … include leaders like Michel Sapin currently French Finance Minister who, 22 years ago in 1992 said, a few weeks ahead of the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty exactly the same things he is saying today: ‘Europe is the answer for the future of unemployment. Backed by a market of 340 million consumers, the biggest in the world; by a single currency, the strongest in the world; by a social security system, the most protective in the world; companies can develop and create jobs.”

So is the EU facing its Fukushima moment? The cynics say nothing will change now that the first horrified reactions are dying down, the ruling elites will remain in charge. The Iron Lady now gathering a coalition of hardliners from across Europe in Brussels may however have other ideas.

Story: Ken Pottinger
editorial@french-news-online.com

updated2crop-150x76-e1397767575227 Following the “earthquake” that has shaken the EU’s constitutional arrangements, Europe’s politicians are likely to be reassessing the status quo. Here is a film made by supporters in the UK of a Brexit or a British exit from the EU. Quote from a Norwegian politician: “Yes we were ridiculed, we were threatened with losses of jobs and destruction of sectors, accused of being rascists etc., (during the Norwegian EU membership referendum) but we wanted to defend our national sovereignty. updated2crop-150x76-e1397767575227 On May 22, 2014, three days ahead of the EU Parliamentary election earthquake Mitch Feierstein, author of Planet Ponzi and a fund manager in London discussing the state of Deutsche Bank the most highly leveraged holder of derivatives in the world, told Max Keiser of the Keiser Report: “the banking crisis today is worse than in 2007”. He suggested that voters, fed up with existing European political parties, would “vote for new forces”.  And that is exactly what happened. Watch the show here as the two men suggest another banking crisis lies ahead and this time deposit account holders’ funds will be confiscated –the ‘bail-ins’ heralded by the Cyprus crisis —  to save criminal financiers : Part 2 of 2: Guest Mitch Feierstein, author of Planet Ponzi. Recorded from RT HD, Keiser Report, 22 May 2014. More on related stories:



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