Vive la France!
It’s Macron over Le Pen by a mile in the French presidential election. Macron has, apparently, won it by a majority of two-thirds to a third. This may give us Britons no particular reason to rejoice, but it’s nice to know that the apparently unsinkable has now at last been relegated to the unthinkable. Even Le Pen senior seems relieved.
Meanwhile, back on this side of the English Channel – or La Manche as we may now happily refer to it – the UK Independence Party put candidates up in about 150 council seats for last week’s local elections and contrived to lose every blessed one of them.
Most UKIP voters turned to the Conservative Party, which may be no greater cause for celebrating here than Macron’s victory, but at least the Faragists – and Nigel is the only man who mattered in that party – are now giving every impression of being a spent political force. Its leader, Paul Nuttall, is a walking disaster, and will no doubt soon be a supine one.
Now all that remains is to restore some kind of intelligible order to the British political process. That probably requires the Labour Party to lose the coming general election by a sufficient margin to allow the hapless Jeremy Corbyn to be ousted (I’m assuming there is no chance of him resigning) by his more sensible and competent rivals. And the Scottish Nationalist to lose a few seats to the Tories, which the polls say is likely.
So, on to the Brexit context ….
It may be too soon to conclude that the ‘populists’ of the so-called alt-right seem to be on the run, but the ‘movement’ does appear to have reached a high watermark – in both countries, not to mention in the Netherlands, and perhaps across the rest of Europe. In Germany, according to the latest polls, the far-right challenger seems to be losing ground to Merkel the Impregnable in the crucial weeks leading up the Federal election.
None of this growing sense of relief on this side of the Atlantic can be applied to the United States … yet. Trump is firmly in place, as decreed by the term of office laid down in the constitution, even if his policies are not, though he does seem to be making progress on a substitute for Obama-care. And his administration seems to be in a far less disorderly state than it was a month ago. Presumably, wiser heads than his have prevailed at last, though whose heads, it isn’t yet clear. But at least the volume has been turned down, and a well-earned rest given to those infernal early-morning tweets.
Whatever the perceived defects of the Trump government, and the vain fatuities uttered by the man himself – like welcoming a ‘chat’ with the North Korean nut-job – expect no intelligent contributions from the Democrats. They are in such a divided and chaotic state themselves that they scarcely matter in the slightest, not even as respected honest gadflies. No one in the party has had the nerve or the heart to tell them this. Or to wonder out loud why Hillary should get such a warm welcome on returning to what she sees as the fray.
The Democrats are in quicksand up to their necks. Someone needs to pull them out, and soon, before the prospects of a second Trump term become unsinkable rather than unthinkable.