Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Le Pen as Lear

Marine Le Pen, who refers to her father simply as "Le Pen" (shall I call her "La Penne" to mark the difference?), says she will kick him off the party ticket in PACA for the regionals:
« Je m'oppose à la candidature de [Jean-Marie] Le Pen [à la tête de liste aux élections régionales en Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur], parce qu'il est dans une spirale entre la stratégie de la terre brûlée et le suicide politique. Le FN ne veut pas être pris en otage de ses grossières provocationsSon but est de me nuire. Nous allons réunir le bureau exécutif pour trouver le meilleur moyen de protéger les intérêts du mouvement. »
This split has been widening for some time, and now it seems to be an open breach. Some see it as a deliberate tactic, an inspired way to highlight the supposed "normalization" and "de-demonizatiion" of the party under the daughter's leadership. That's too cleverly Machiavellian by half, in my view. It's rather King Lear in Saint-Cloud: the aging Le Pen foolishly passed the kingdom to Goneril and is now suffering the consequences of her ambitions. Unlike Lear, however, Jean-Marie deserves his comeuppance. And his Cordelia (Marion Maréchal-Le Pen) is hardly a model of feminine virtue.


George Ross said...

I think that your analogy is right on. A note about your headline, however. My v vocabulary is limited in the vegetable and animal realm, but if Marine is La Penne, does this mean that we can call her "Bunny" now?

bernard said...

The FN is a family business. What a family! The wife threw her apron in the trash bin. The preferred daughter fled with bruno le fourbe, thus renouncing her share of the inheritance (they could be back!). The other daughter would like nothing more than to suffocate her father with a pillow (for reasons why, think sleaze a hell of a lot worse than DSK...), and the grand daughter plans a wholesome heist with her buddy Gollnich. Unfortunately for all of them, the old man plans to be around for quite a while yet, denying them a noiseless death watch. Yeah, a French family for a thousand years, a lawyer's paradise come true.

Alexandra Marshall said...

I cannot get enough of their tawdry soap opera. Anytime I'm tempted to think this bande de nazes has a chance, they blow their stacks in the most uncouth ways. (I'm reminded of Pierrette's F-you to her ex in the form of the world's most amazing Playboy shoot -- NSFW! -- not that I'd wish to see same from MLP.)

One thing I hear over and over from my French friends is their yearning for "un homme d'état." I can't think they're alone in their fatigue with their political class. Which reassures me whenever this lot seems to get too close to the brass ring.

FrédéricLN said...

I agree with Alexandra Marshall. The FN affair is truly serious. FN already experienced, in 1973, then 1998 (after a success at the Regionales elections) the departure of one half of their elected representatives, and again in 2008 and 2009 many leaders left; each time FN needed 2 years or more to manage the crisis, but restore its support afterwards, because everybody knew only the Le Pen family owned the franchise, and esp. only Jean-Marie at that time (not Marie-Caroline for example).

Looks like this time is a bit different. Many people supported FN because "this party shared our ideas even if it's forbidden to voice them openly". Jean-Marie's awful words from time to time gave evidence that yes, even if Marine, Breeois, Philippot, Aliot or others did not speak that way, they nevertheless shared the same engagement (for "us" against unnamed foreigners and altogether against the, also unnamed, Great Conspiracy).

As soon as FN would fire, or even explicitly condemn, Jean-Marie Le Pen, that would instill doubt in its supporters' mind.

A QD strategic analysis (just my two cents) would suggest that the first beneficiary is Nicolas Sarkozy. His obvious hypocrisy on the topic (he just denounced his own genius motto of "identité nationale", his winning formula in 2007 ) might become less reprehensible: at least, it's a way for him to show consideration for racism or xenophobia in his electorate. As Jacques Chirac did before with "le bruit et les odeurs", and as many politicians do throughout the world.

Maybe "la gauche de la gauche", Mélenchon, Besancenot and others, will also regain some attention in their core electorate of 2012, which mirrored demographically the FN electorate.

The game can re-start at the center. Maybe a reason why Bayrou just announced his feeling that UDI had left the Alternative (UDI+MoDem) : , ). Of course, policies pushed by the center and by nationalists are diametrically opposed, but you could not have simultaneously two alternatives to the two-parties alternating system (and, according to both center and FN, two-parties built-in paralysis). I just wrote some days ago that I did not feel the slightest breath of wind in the center. But aspirations for an alternative do exist.

What for the ruling PS? Rather bad news at first sight. The division of the right into two rival and equal blocks was (tactically only, but that's it) "une divine surprise" for PS to save seats at the recent départementales elections. If FN really gained ground, radical anti-government moods could shift towards more radical / violent action, as sometimes happens in our regions (from Bonnets Rouges, farmers Union FNSEA, or since centuries in Languedoc). New "jours de colère" might be more powerful and destructive, a bit the Greek way. Creating global uncertainty about who can manage the crisis — and the left might have possibly 1 out of 2 or 3 chances to be that one, esp. if the UMP did react poorly to such troubles.

That are many "ifs" actually. But, well, Jean-Marie Le Pen tried by the party he founded half a century ago, that's quite a tricky affair.

FrédéricLN said...

oops, "If FN really gained ground" => "really is to loose ground".