It's back: la fracture sociale that Chirac, with the aid of Emmanuel Todd, so effectively exploited to win the presidency in 1995 is back, worse than ever. Fully forty percent of the population no longer identifies with either the left or right, according to Le Monde. Diagnoses vary. Are these the laissés-pour-compte of globalization? The precariously employed? The "rural and peri-urban populations" denied the profits of European integration, which have gone to better-educated urbanites working in the non-tradable service sector?
To some extent, of course, these diagnoses overlap and reinforce each other. The question is what, if anything, can be done to remedy the situation. But for the parties the more immediate question is how to exploit the dilemma politically?