Friday, March 20, 2015

Macron Explains His Law

I wish I had been there. According to Patrick Roger, Emmanuel Macron won over an initially hostile audience by sheer force of logic and persuasive power. I'd like to believe it, since I believe that reforms of the sort the Macron Law attempts are useful and necessary, although the law itself is too modest and unfocused in its ambitions and unlikely to achieve much. If it's a first step, however, it has to be defended, and apparently Macron defended it ably, although the journalist gives us no inkling of how he made his case. Since most pundits are assuring us that the electorate is in no mood to listen to rational explanations of policy and would prefer to vent its wrath by casting protest votes for the FN or the UMP, Macron's apparent success is an anomaly that calls for explanation.


Mitch Guthman said...


I wish you'd been there, too. You wouldn't keep it a secret and then we'd all know what Macon said in defense oh his law that the militants of the PS found so convincing. And just a small quibble: Since you don’t know what the explanation offered was, how can you possibly know that it was a rational one?

Particularly since the Hollande government’s previous defenses have basically been variations on the theme that those who've got shall get while the weak ones fade. We can argue about whether that’s a “rational” policy but, no matter what is true, pissing on the weak to please the strong is hardly speaking truth to power about hard choices. Neither is it a persuasive reason why the burdens of "reforms" are always borne by the workers and the middle classes and never by the elites.

It seems like a very easy thing for Hollande and his gang to tell the people who aren’t represented in the halls of power that they need to make “some hard choices”. I can’t help suspecting that if ordinary people and just not property developers, the super-rich and assorted eurotrash were represented by the PS, the choices would be different and their burdens borne more evenly.

FrédéricLN said...

"Emmanuel Macron won over an initially hostile audience by sheer force of logic and persuasive power." => yes; a parliamentary audience.

I would analyse the stuff this way:

a) this law is very low-key, gives no grasp to mobilize crowds against it (nothing to see with pensions reform for example): therefore, the protest move across some "political professionals" had not much support ;

b) Emmanuel Macron negotiated with good faith with the "députés", agreeing to change things when better suggestions were made. This ability to negotiate (he comes from the financial industry) is absolutely not common in French political behaviors. Usually, when the debates show evidence that the Ministre's proposal is bad and alternatives would be better, the delegate of the Ministre either says "let you vote it nevertheless as it is, we'll revise that later on" (the latter is generally true), or "sagesse", meaning "I give up". I mean, in any Assembly in French democracy, people of the Administration try to humiliate non-executive elected members and make them feel where power really is.

Macron's, say, normal way to handle a debate, gave députés an unusual feeling of respect and recognition.