I voted for Emmanuel Macron today. Macron’s programme is less than compelling. In the first round, there wasn’t much to bite on, with the main exception of tax cuts. That’s the clue that Macron has been tacking to the right, a strategy which hasn’t played well with those concerned about public services. But perhaps he was wise not to signal too much: Anne Hidalgo, for the socialist party, offered more than forty policies in her main campaign leaflet, and that got her nowhere. In his second-round campaign leaflet – I didn’t get it until after the vote had taken place – there was more: help with expenses and benefits, preventative health measures and help with home adaptations for care.
The choice between Macron and Le Pen wasn’t difficult. I don’t think it’s right to describe Marine Le Pen as a fascist, because she’s not bought in to the corporate authoritarianism that distinguishes fascism. (Contrast Golden Dawn, in Greece – that’s what fascism looks like.) It may be safe to say that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of the Front National, was a torturer (he lost a libel action against a former prime minister on that point), but that part of the status isn’t passed down from father to daughter. However, the Front national, sorry the Rassemblement national, is still repulsive: nakedly populist and racist. The pledges to stop immigration, ‘arreter la submersion migratoire’ and close ‘radical mosques’ were quite enough reason not to vote for her. After that, the promise of higher wages and animal welfare legislation really couldn’t do much to swing it.
I didn’t get to vote in the first round, because the rather late notice I received while in Fife told me I’d have to vote in Glasgow, a round trip of more than seven hours. The Consulat absolutely refused to let me vote in Edinburgh instead – none of this nonsense about reasonable adjustments, this is French bureaucracy in all its glory. For the second round, I arranged to be in Edinburgh, and went on to Glasgow by train.