My French friends are agonizing over their particular political trauma. Not as black as Brexit, I suspect, but still, pretty grim.
As in Britain and the States, it is not just the outcome that is depressing, but the knowledge that there are so many millions of people swept off their feet by a populist and anti immigrant agenda.
It is good news if Fillon’s star fades as the result of the sordid nepotism story, as he really represents a totally unappealing right wing programme. That is, of course provided the even worse nightmare – a victory for Marine Le Pen – comes to nothing.
So who is the ‘saviour’? I don’t know much about Macron but he seems to me to be the Tony Blair of French politics, trying to appeal to both left and right with his newly created party, En Marche. His main appeal is he is neither Le Pen nor Fillon.
If I were French I would probably vote for Hamon, the doomed young ‘Corbyn’ of the Socialist Party in the first round, and then for Macron in the second round, assuming it becomes a fight beteeen him and Le Pen.
But then, we have learnt to our cost that pollsters have been getting things very wrong over the past year. And already the bizarre system of choosing a candidate for the two main parties had resulted in the favourite being knocked out – and a new party being formed.
There are currently ten candidates for the first round in April, which will be narrowed down to two for the second round in May. Who knows what will happen between now and April!