May 2017

Again with the lesser of two evils

Let’s be clear, I’m ecstatic that Le Pen lost. Thank you France — you did a great thing. And if I’d been in France (and eligible to vote) then I too would have cast my ballot for Macron. I would not have abstained; but nor would I have felt entirely happy about it. Certainly he would not have been my choice in the first round (or if Macron had been in the final round with almost anyone else). But compared with Fascist Frexit-loon Le Pen? It really wasn’t a choice.

And again, let’s be clear… I adore the little Climate Change video that Macron made…

There’s a lot to like about him. Certainly when you compare him with many of the other politicians astride our global stage here in darkest 2017. And yes that’s a pretty low bar — but it’s the one we’ve got right now, so whaddyagonnado? He seems, on the surface at least, to be semi-rational. And he’s not entirely unintelligible. These shouldn’t be praiseworthy things for the newly-elected leader of a major nation. But heigh-ho. We are where we are.

Incidentally, the way he pronounces “engineers” in that short video is awesome and doubtless will cause a chuckle or two. But I still maintain that… in his non-native tongue, he managed to deliver an eloquent and coherent message in a way that two minutes of Donald Trump or Theresa May speaking, in their native language, generally fails to do these days.

And yet, he’s still a guy I would only have voted for as (much) the lesser of two evils. Despite his ‘upstart’ image, he remains firmly a centre-right, free-market, capitalist, business-as-usual, establishment politician. Of course that’s better than a bloody fascist and anyone who says otherwise needs to rounded up, starved for several months and then gassed.

See what I did there?

I don’t really think that should happen to anyone of course. And it pains me that I need to explicitly state that. But if we are to have concentration camps, then I do think they should be filled exclusively with people who vote in favour of concentration camps. Everyone else gets a pass.

But all the same, I personally don’t think a centre-right, free-market, capitalist, business-as-usual, establishment politician is what we really need right now. Macron and Le Pen would both be part of the general global tendency towards driving our collective society off the edge of a very tall ecological cliff. Sure, I’d much rather spend the journey in Macron’s bus, but ultimately they both end in a flaming pile of twisted metal and sinew.

As it happens, in my heart-of-hearts, I don’t think we’re going to apply the brakes at this late stage. Hell, we may already be over the edge and just not aware of it yet.

And yet, my hope — do I still have one? — is that the French Left somehow use this to galvanise support. “Let’s not boil it down to a choice between a banker and a fascist next time!” Translate that into French and put it on a million leaflets. And I hope they join with the left-wing and the greens and the anarchists and the pacifists and the quakers and the scientists and the poets and the holy ones… across all Europe. I believe we need to develop a truly pro-European and pan-European alternative to the economic inequalities that face our society. Isolationism, Brexitism, MAGAism, nationalism… these are not the answers. Leastways, they’re not the ones I’m looking for.

But nor (certainly in the long term) is the brand of unsustainable corporate capitalism that ultimately has led to a situation where fascists are polling 34% in France.

Posted in: Opinion