Paris Problems

Do the Paris protests spell the end for President Macron or can he survive?

JULY 12th, 2018

Paris in the midst of riots - © AP


t is a tradition amongst societies that a place becomes synonymous with a feeling. Los Angele’s is the City of Dreams, New York – the city of wealth, London – artistry, Paris – Love. Yet for the latter, ‘love’ has become anything but. For nearly ten-weeks the French people have descended on the famous streets of ‘amour’ in passionate protest against those who “lead” them. The main figure targeted with their anger and outspoken displeasure is President Emmanuel Macron, a man they once saw as the saving grace of France. How wrong they were!

But then again, is it surprising, the anger towards the French President? Non. Here you have a man, who like many hungry for power, promised the World and all the delightful things that only a rare few experience, and failed to deliver. Why, because it was always has been and always will be undeliverable. Macron, in his manifesto from 2017, promised social welfare levies for low earner, tax breaks, and the politically sensitive merger of myriad Public and Private Sector Retirement Pension Systems.

The riots are still ongoing in the French Capital - © Getty Images

Two-years have passed and what has he delivered? Tax breaks? Non. He attempted to increase the amount of tax on Fuel. Renewed retirement pension schemes? Non. He was planning on increasing the age French workers would be able to retire astronomically. If anything his attention has been focused anywhere but his own country. And whilst this isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, it maybe worth reminding Mr Macron that he is the President of France, not Europe.

We have seen him involve himself in American politics, with heavy criticism of President Trump’s hard-line immigration policies. Though remarkably, when face-to-face with his “good friend” Trump, Macron consistently states he has been “misquoted”.

He has, with furious condemnation, targeted Brexit and the Leave voters, most recently saying: “Do you think that the referendum was a good thing? No, because it didn’t allow for an informed, transparent and calm debate. It’s torn a society apart, and it’s left it open to disinformation coming from abroad, or terrible manipulation.”

What is utterly astounding about his words are the complete hypocrisy of them. Each syllable is laced with an unsurmountable level of duplicity. You could literally take that quote, swap its relation from Brexit to Macron and the French people would have the perfect description for the man they despise to call President. The open audacity of the man is perplexing.

Protestors hold banners against the French government - © Getty Images

He describes Britain as a society torn apart, yet it is on the streets of the French capital, Paris where thousands, weekly are protesting. It is in Paris where horse manure is being sprayed onto Government buildings. It is in Paris where Macron’s own political party is ordering the French Police to fire on their own people, who are freely and democratically protesting. None of this is happening in London.

Now, it would be unfair to simply say Britain is perfectly in harmony with each other, we’re not. Yes, Brexit was exceptionally divisive and the handling of the whole saga by our elected Politicians has been a downright disgrace, but for Macron to stand lamenting from a pedestal of righteousness is deeply conceited.

The truth of the matter is, the French people want him gone. In a way they have held their own referendum, and the result is resounding, yet unlike we Brits, the French won’t allow the establishment to decide the final outcome. A recent poll detailed that 80% of French voters support the protestors in Paris, or ‘Yellow Vests’ as they have come to be known as. And it is France is, once again, preparing for their 11th week of marches through the capital.

And in some cases, the element of force is paying off. Macron, shortly after Christmas, made a plea to his fellow countrymen and women, stating that he would lower taxes and the retirement age.

But still they march. Why? The answer is simple.

A lone protestor looks out on the destruction - © Getty Images

Distrust. 26% of French voters approve of their elected leader. That is less than Donald Trump, a man who divides opinion more than anyone on the Planet. To the French people, Macron is one of the elite, even though he states otherwise. And you can’t blame the French for voting for him. He, in many ways was similar to the ideologies of Brexit and Trump. He wasn’t the status-quo, he was different, a centric Candidate, neither left or right, and he had a vision for France which seemed appealing.

Like when Snow White bites into the ripe red apple expecting the crunchiest, tastiest treat, but all that is left is bitter and poison. A country left choking on the mismanagement of a leader who fully understands what his people want, but refuses to allow them to have it. Instead of looking at the protests and frustrations of those marching through the historic streets of Paris, a City which has seen its fair share of revolutions, he has turned away, from the desperation, the pain, the struggle, the suffering and violent subjugation of his people.

Thanks to Macron, Paris no longer breathes ‘amour’, it no longer cares, and that is the greatest tragedy facing the French people.

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