Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ça chauffe à gauche

The defection of Manuel Valls has broken upon the simmering caldron of resentment that has been building in the Socialist Party since the primary. Macron continues to dominate Hamon in the polls, so the party's "reformist" wing, of which Valls is the leader, can invoke the voter utile alibi for abandoning the candidate who won their primary by a landslide. Disloyalty is one thing, but the specter of a repeat of 2002 is another. And yet Macron remains a deeply troubling candidate for many on the left, for reasons well described in this paywalled FT article:
"In 2010, he advised, for free, the staff of Le Monde when the newspaper was put up for sale. Journalists at the daily started doubting his loyalty when they happened upon him in conversation with Mr Minc, who was representing a bidding consortium that the staff opposed. They did not know that it was Mr Minc, a fellow Inspecteur des Finances, who had helped the young Mr Macron secure his interview at Rothschild.
A media executive who was part of the same consortium recalled: “It wasn’t clear who Emmanuel worked for. He was around, trading intelligence, friends with everyone. It was smart, because he got to know everybody in the media world.”
An open letter to Le Monde, signed by a number of intellectuals (including friends of mine), expresses the anger that has erupted on the left:

Nous avons toutes et tous cru – que nous ayons voté ou non à la primaire, que nous ayons soutenu ou non Benoît Hamon – que le jeu démocratique serait respecté. Naïfs que nous étions ! Aujourd’hui, vous opposez au choix des urnes au mieux un silence assourdissant ou une moue circonspecte, au pire un soutien à un autre candidat. Ce mépris total que vous opposez au vote citoyen est intolérable.
Pierre Laurent of the PCF has called for renewed discussions between Hamon and Mélenchon in view of joining their two campaigns.

In short, we are witnessing the breakdown of both mainstream parties. Long-buried cleavages in both the PS and LR have been exposed. Of course, the dynamic will be quite different in the legislative elections, but at the presidential level, the party system has completely broken down.


Anonymous said...

My in-laws have really liked Bayrou for as long as I've known them. They went to vote in the 'left'primary though, presumably for Valls. So, I was surprised at how angry they were that Valls didn't support Hamon. They don't like Hamon, but he won, and Valls had promised to support him. They are really angry at what they see as a betrayal of the very principles of an election. They also speak spitefully about people in the PS, so many 'elephants ' they say (I suppose they mean wise old guys) would make a promise, support the primaries as long as they thought they'd win, and renege on their pledge to support the winner when it was someone else. I was surprised at how vehement they were - they voted and expected the candidates to follow the rules, win or lose, happy or unhappy with the results. Beside, they reason that Hamon must not have liked Hollande 's platform in 2012 and he participated in the campaign till Hollande was elected, only then did he speak his mind, and so Valls and all others should do the same.

Anonymous said...

"Vote citoyen"! LOL Participation in the primaries wasn't very high. Hamon won only because few socialists bothered to vote. The only vote citoyen is a vote against Le Pen. Valls is right. When the Republic is in danger, who cares about Hamon?

Myos, your relatives sound a bit confused...

Alexandra Marshall said...

Hang on though, if it's all about the urgency of a vote citoyen then why sign the pledge in the first place? The landscape as pertains to MLP hasn't moved but a few inches. I don't buy it.

What blows me away with this move is Valls puts a giant knife in the back of the PS (which, fair enough, it may deserve, but not from someone who was claiming to be its "realistic" savior) and he gets insulted by Macron for his troubles! Macron seems to hate Valls more than Valls hates the PS. Where is the upside for Valls with this move? Once again: if it's to make a claim for the vote utile, then he never should have signed away his vote during the primary.

Anonymous said...

When Hollande chose him as Prime Minister, Manuel Valls thought his moment would come this year. Hollande's disaster has been Valls', too. I'm reminded of the joke about the crocodiles who found a lawyer swimming in the swamp. The "crocs" all parted to let the man swim to shore. Astounded, onlookers asked why? "Professional courtesy", was the answer. Valls wants to swim to shore, not drown or be eaten alive amid the chaos in the PS. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. "L'audace! Toujours l'audace!", as they say. I'm also reminded of Winston Churchill explaining his defection to the Liberal Party and return to the Tories: "It takes a big rat to 'rat', but it takes an even bigger rat to 're-rat'." And Churchill was right --If you want loyalty in politics, get a dog. --Defeating Marine Le Pen is all that matters this election cycle. There will be plenty of time for ideological purity and score-settling during the legislative elections.

Anonymous said...

I think most people left of center are.
My relatives will vote for Macron but still they disapprove Valls' move since it goes against what he pledged he'd do. As a man is only good as his word, they say stuff like 'IL aurait mieux fait de se taire' 'quel minable ', they feel angry at Valls 's behavior, whatever reason he may give.

In my opinion, at this point, vote utile applies to the second round, not the first round. Fillon cannot catch up on Macron. There's an 8-point spread between them. A month before the election and with a downward trend,Fillon will not catch up.

Anonymous said...

Valls should pay back the money he got from the primaries.
I don't buy that Valls really thinks MLP can win. With this move, he may want to dissolve the PS or he may want to become the new boss of the party but MLP has always been high so his rationale doesn't ring true.
Now, ideologically he's probably closer to Macron than hamon. Or he may hope for a position in a Macron cabinet (Macron was right to crush that right away.) Finally, all these people who join Macron to keep their positions may hurt Macron. You can't represent renewal if your allies have been in politics for ever. On the other hand, macron (or anyone) can't govern without a few experienced people so they're all throwing their hat in the ring...

bernard said...


What money??? Not that I especially like Valls, but I was not aware that the PS primaries were a money making device...LOL.

As for looking for a position with Macron - I support him -, I doubt very much that Valls - I never liked him - could be looking for anything: both hated each other since both covered pretty much the same political ground and there is only one slot at the top. BTW I was quite surprised to see Valls run in the primaries as it was obvious to me that he would remain unpopular in the party as he has always been (piece of advice from a long time - very long - Mitterrand fan: you do not win the party coming from the "deuxième gauche", period.)

More seriously the idea that Valls might want to organise a group of parliament members of a certain size post-presidential and thus weight in on policy looks a more serious proposition to me. Unfortunately for this project, much of the space is likely to be occupied by En Marche parliament members and the "certain size" is likely to turn into a "small size" for the time being.

A thought for those who have been (eagerly?) waiting for the inevitable Macron collapse based on th fact that 40% of his electors are not sure of their choice. I am personnally surprised that only 40% aren't certain of their choice: this is the first time by definition anyone will be voting for Macron, none of his electors can be assessed as long-time or steadfast supporters in the "I voted left - or right - all my life, I am not going to change now" vein. This is what we call in French a "lapalissade" and in reality doesn't suggest at all that they will change their mind contrary to what the press writes.

On the other hand, the 17% preparing to vote Honest Fillon are hard core right supporters and certainly will never think, now or in the future, of voting anything but conservative or fascist. Same of course for the SozNat MLP.

As for the Hamon and MLP electorates, contrary to what some suggested and which provoked my hilarity, they are to a large extent interchangeable and their only uncertainty is whether to vote for one or the other in the interest of expediency(the uncertainty is of course resolving in favour of MLP as he is way more experienced and effective in this "hard left" imbecile utile competition, with the PS a collateral victim of friendly fire). This electorate is also shown in the polls as quite uncertain of their vote, which shows how silly the notion is: they are only uncertain which to vote for.

As for the vote utile which you claim should be confined for the second round, I believe you are profoundly mistaken. It is very useful to make sure that the SozNat FN cannot claim to be the first party of France and Macron is about to do just that. That is why voting Macron in the first round is useful and a very attractive proposition: cream MLP in the first round, cream MLP in the second round, let her face justice afterwards (as well as her niece of course).

bernard said...

Correction : In the penultimate paragraph above, I meant Melechon of course not MLP. Ach, Freud!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Valls got money to run, did he not? I thought French candidates couldn't be bankrolled by companies or wealthy individuals like they can in the states.
I'm not saying he made money off of the primaries, but that he received money and didn't hold his end if the deal, so he should give it back. It's be fairer than kicking him out (as some people in the PS have asked for.)

Bernard said...

sorry, you are simply wrong.

Anonymous said...

^ It was myos.
I'm wrong because...
You think it's better to kick him out?
He didn't receive any money and bankrolled his own campaign?
French politicians aren't covered by public and party funds?
You don't think paying back money used for the primaries is a fair punishment, not enough, too much?

Jorge Kahwagi said...

nice blog

Lapinot said...

Since there's no chance of Melenchon supporting Hamon and presumably no chance of Hamon supporting Melenchon, does anyone think that Melenchon might get enough wind in his sails to convince enough PS voters to support him to rival Macron and Le Pen?

Recent polls are putting him about 50% higher than Hamon (the latest Odoxa poll puts him at double, although that's probably just an outlier.)

Or are there (as I expect) enough PS voters who simply won't vote for him to keep him from the second round? It would only need to be a small group to scupper any hope.

Anonymous said...

Based on the PS voters I know, they could vote anything : Macron for vote utile/because he's young/because he's moderate; Hamon to support him against the things done to him/to support his platform/because he's the primary winner/because a PS at 12% means the death of the PS and nothing between Melenchon/Macron; Melenchon because he's climbing/because of his stance on Europe/because he could push Fillon down to 4th place.
Many, many people tell me they'll decide at the last moment, during the last week, during the last days.

FrédéricLN said...

Well, I'm a Bayrou-supporter and now a Jean Lassalle staff member, I voted for Hamon at the second turn of the primary. Something like a matter of decency. Valls has since a long time turned down any concern for real life and works at the only level of party-political arguments. Brain eaten by what so many French politicians call "sens de l'Etat", and which is only capitulation to the "deep State", loss of progressive motivations. Of course he can be back some day, maybe he needs the same one-year move to Canada that Juppé did. But recent record shows this is not a sure way to Elysée.