Surreal times

Difficult for me to fully grasp what is happening in Britain at present, but it is indeed a sad day when we look at the possible annihilation of the Labour Party.  I left the Labour Party in 1997, when Gordon Brown said he would not be raising higher rates of income tax. But I grew up in the Labour Party and was relatively active much of my adult life.  I have no idea where I would have stood in internal Labour affairs over the past few years – ideologically closer to Corbyn apart from his dismal position on Europe, but despairing of his incompetence. But if the Labour movement has effectively come to an end I will grieve.

Meanwhile the situation in France is different but even messier.  A right wing populist, Le Pen, a far left populist, Mélenchon, a conservative with very conservative views and dubious finances , Fillon, and a former banker and centrist with little experience of politics, Macron.

Of course I am unlikely to have any friends who vote Front National (apart from M. Ferrières who delivers my firewood) but it is striking how uncertain and unexpected people’s voting intentions are. And what concerns me is that there is going to be a high rate of abstention, particularly in the second round, mainly by people on the left, thus giving Le Pen a fighting chance of winning.

This is based on the unscientific observation that my physio is going to vote Mélonchon in the first round and for nobody in the second, Jacky (creator of my pool and planter of the olive trees) is not going to vote in either round, disgusted by all four leading contenders.  And this afternoon David, my fellow Mac enthusiast in the pharmacy, told me in some agitation that he still can’t decide how to vote on Sunday.

It still looks as if the second round will be between Macron and Le Pen – though who knows, as each day brings new revelations and twists.  If I were French I would probably vote for Macron, but just to keep Le Pen out, knowing that he is not offering much that is different from poor old Hollande’s administration and that France faces troubled times ahead.


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