F L A M B Y F L A M B Y 17 April 2012


  • no-user-image.gifnoseyflynn

    17 April 2012 12:45PM

    Why is it surprising that Hollande would get 37% of Bayrou's votes? Hollande is clearly a centre-left candidate while Sarkozy has long given up any pretence of being centre-right.

    If you look at what Bayrou says, he seems much closer to Hollande than to Sarkozy. See this article in yesterday's Liberation from three senior members of Bayrou's party, urging the Modem candidate to explicitly endorse Hollande for the second round:


  • 60x60.pngRedHectorReborn

    17 April 2012 1:38PM

    Its a foregone conclusion that Hollande is going to win in May. Hollande has been ahead for months and its seems very very unlikely there will be a swing of over 10% in the final weeks for Sarkozy. The more interesting story is how the Left have cut the ground from under Le Pen's feet and hopefully pushing them into 4th spot. Watch the markets try and destabilize France after the elections.

  • no-user-image.gifKat42

    17 April 2012 2:01PM

    Melenchon's the man to give power back to the people against the corrupt world financiers. He wants to establish the 6th Republic and send a wind of change blowing throughout Europe. Greece and other countries now have totally unelected leaders foisted upon them. Britain's not much better; no-one voted the LibDems into government as Tory enablers. France has led the way before and it's high time for change. Fingers crossed. We could be in for interesting times.

  • no-user-image.gifchrish

    17 April 2012 2:07PM

    Alternatively you could put Le Pen's weakness down to Sarkozy moving to the right and note the failure of Hollande to retain left wing votes as voters have flocked to a far left candidate as they are disenhanted with Hollande's centre left offering and establishment politics generally.

  • 60x60.pngcontractor000

    17 April 2012 2:13PM

    The most interesting thing in this election: Mélenchon.
    Both his performance, and the interesting things he's been saying.

    And the grimmest: The press' treatment of Le Pen.
    Le Monde's coverage on Friday last was ... surprising. She's managed to shed a lot of the toxic baggage inherited from her dad, without changing her insular and racist politics one jot.

    And Hollande - looks significantly better than first impressions of a John-Major figure. The man's got a good sense of humour, and some good policies. Especially reducing the rich-poor chasm that's opened up under Sarko.

    All in all, Melenchon's showing might help Hollande deliver. All good.

  • 60x60.pngIkonoclast

    17 April 2012 2:23PM

    And the grimmest: The press' treatment of Le Pen. Le Monde's coverage on Friday last was ... surprising. She's managed to shed a lot of the toxic baggage inherited from her dad, without changing her insular and racist politics one jot


    The "grimmest" issue is that such a grimey politician, with abhorrent policies, could obtain such a huge percentage of the opinion poll vote thus far...

  • 60x60.pngdaboiy

    17 April 2012 2:26PM

    going up quite a bit*

    Fu*k me, I can never type a full sentence. it pisses me off big time!

  • no-user-image.gifwoodlington

    17 April 2012 2:28PM


    I wouldn't quite say a foregone conclusion, partly because Hollande doesn't have history on his side. For all the rhetoric about France being full of socialists, Miterrand is the only socialist president there's been since the War. And partly because there's not a lot of enthusiasm for Hollande (never even been a minister); just an anti-Sarkozy sentiment.

    But I agree it's likely, and I certainly agree with your last sentence. Living and paying taxes in France, I'm a bit scared about what a Hollande government means (and no, I don't earn €300k per year...).

    I'm in a minority, but I actually feel sorry for Sarkozy. Like Obama, he picked a really crappy time to get elected. He's done very little (and he hasn't always helped matters by spending the first year concentrating on his private life rather than carrying out the reforms he promised), but he's had one hand tied behind his back the whole time with the economy he inherited.

  • 60x60.pngShrekII

    17 April 2012 2:47PM

    Sympathy for that rogue Sarkozy! The man's an amoral king of bling-bling. He will sell his own grandmother to stay in power. All he cares about is Sarkozy. He has screwed up France and must go!

  • 60x60.pngmoossyn

    17 April 2012 2:49PM

    I hope you're right RHR, let's face it if the PS can't win this time they might as well give up.

    Mélenchon has been the only interesting thing about the campaign so far, let's hope the fact that he got more people to his meeting in Marseille at the weekend than Sarko did is a good omen.

  • 60x60.pngGordonbnt

    17 April 2012 2:58PM

    Latest polls in my household show the Guardian's coverage of the French Presidental's to be inane, puerile and patronising in the extreme.

    Take today's gem:

    Mélenchon, who has vowed to tax earnings over €360,000 (£300,000) at 100% and rails at "Anglo-Saxons" and their "stinking money", has been the most pugilistic.

    Which attempts to show Jean-Luc as some kind of xenophobic, brutalist, Neanderthal.

  • 60x60.pngGordonbnt

    17 April 2012 3:04PM

    For the Guardian, any candidate who is from the working-class ( Poutou ) or represents the working class, can be, at best described as a simpleton or at worse as some kind of bar room thug. Other coverage might touch on subjects the Hampstead=based editorial team might consider relevant to its reader's, or, more pertinently, its advertisers, such as Carla Bruni's arse, Nicolas Sarkozy's TV viewing habits, what someone said about The Queen, how this all relates to Gerald Depardieu with a magic baguette and accordion in his hand. And, of course, Amelie.

  • no-user-image.giffrenegonde

    17 April 2012 3:18PM

    I'm not sure how Mélenchon is going to finance his promises. Raising minimum wage, suppression of 800,000 casual jobs in the public sector to make them permanent contracts, retirement at 60, basic necessity level of gas, water and electricity free, schooling obligatory from 3 to 18 years, 100% reimbursement of health costs, etc etc.

    He doesn't say where the money to pay for this is going to come from, nor whether things like 100% health costs covered will apply to everyone, rich and poor alike.

  • no-user-image.gifangryboy

    17 April 2012 3:19PM

    "Watch the markets try and destabilize France after the elections."

    If investors decline to purchase French government debt at prices offered as a result of an election result that is not an attempt to "destabilize" or "attack" France any more than if I view a property and decline to make an offer on it based on what I see; if I think it is overpriced, that is not an "attack" on the vendor. Investors may decide that the policies that are promised by Hollande will make France a riskier bet and expect a larger risk premium, that is all.

  • 60x60.pngdanpan

    17 April 2012 3:31PM

    At least he managed to win the vote as the most unpopular president in the history of France before getting booted out of office. Bravo!

  • 60x60.pngKingCnutCase

    17 April 2012 3:37PM

    Hollande will win.

    And then the fun will start.

    Yields on French government debt will rise, which will put further pressure on Spanish yields.

    Hollande will have a big bust up with Merkel over the ECB and the Fiscal Treaty.

    The Euro crisis will be back with a vengeance by the summer holidays.

    And house prices in Kensington and Chelsea will surge as rich Frenchmen do a runner from Hollande's barmy tax policies.

  • no-user-image.gifweiming

    17 April 2012 3:41PM

    I wouldn't quite say a foregone conclusion, partly because Hollande doesn't have history on his side. For all the rhetoric about France being full of socialists, Miterrand is the only socialist president there's been since the War. And partly because there's not a lot of enthusiasm for Hollande (never even been a minister); just an anti-Sarkozy sentiment.

    True, however it would be the first time that a left-wing president would also have:
    - a left-wing National Assembly (not done yet but quite likely to happen)
    - a left-wing Senate (a major change of last year)
    - left-wing local administrations (all but one)

  • no-user-image.gifbernardcrofton

    17 April 2012 3:53PM

    I agree. They ate much closer than Bayrou/oyal were.
    The guardians own interactive summary says these things about their policies

    Hollande Levy tax of 75% on incomes over €1m, and 45% rate for those earning over €150,000. Limit bosses of public companies to a salary no more than 20 times the average wage Reverse tax breaks and bring in new taxes to help balance the budget by 2017 Bring in an international financial transaction tax

    Raise 41% tax threshold to 45% and bring in a 50% income tax threshold for salaries above €250,000. Aim for a balanced budget by 2016, partly by raising VAT one percentage point in 2012 and one percentage point in 2014 International financial tax to be imposed.

    Partly its because Hollande has been very cautious and partly because Bayrou has been moved a little to the left, due to "Events, dear boy, events" as a UK PM once said.

  • 60x60.pngMrdaydream

    17 April 2012 3:56PM

    Interesting to know that you can win a presidential election with the firm support of only 27% of the population. Is this what they call 'democracy'?

  • no-user-image.gifMumacass

    17 April 2012 4:04PM

    I'm not sure how Mélenchon is going to finance his promises.

    But that's the beauty of the French electoral system Frenegonde. He can say what the hell he likes because he can't win. And Hollande will kick that wish list into touch pronto if he tops the poll in the 2nd round for the simple reason that France cannot afford it. I wonder how many of the Guardianistas drooling over Mélenchon's manifesto, the likes of which the UK hasn't seen since Michael Foot's "suicide note" in 1983, actually pay their taxes here in France. It all looks great, I agree, as long as you're not the one who has to help pay for it.

  • no-user-image.gifMumacass

    17 April 2012 4:06PM

    Interesting to know that you can win a presidential election with the firm support of only 27% of the population. Is this what they call 'democracy'?

    No, it's what they call the first round.

  • 60x60.pngmontfleury

    17 April 2012 4:20PM

    Well, in Chateau Montfleury last night we watched the various debates on the internet. Mélenchon up against Le Pen was a beauty. He demolished her, took her to bits.

    I was getting a bit misty eyed listening to him - trying to imagine if there could ever be a Scottish Mélenchon. (I think we can rule out there being an English one for the foreseeable.) I liked the sound of what he was saying - in power of course he'd come up against forces we can only guess at - I suppose the thugs from the piscine would actually kill him if he tried to expropriate income over 360,000 euros a year, but it is a lovely vision - a society based on people and their needs rather than fiscal browbeating as a means of manipulating people's relationships.

  • no-user-image.gifnoughter

    17 April 2012 4:38PM

    Looking at the comments it's clear that only the Brits should vote in France.

  • no-user-image.gifbernardcrofton

    17 April 2012 4:42PM

    I view a property and decline to make an offer on it based on what I see; if I think it is overpriced, that is not an "attack" on the vendor.
    That's a bit naive. What we have seen has been labelled as "attacks" by the world bank etc. People sell existing stock as well as buying new issues (which I agree was Spains problem was this week). But where medium term bonds are offered at extremely low prices you can see it is not a general market mood, becasue if you look at Forewx volumes actually very little is being traded at these prices, they are just designed to "spook" the market.
    In all the hysteria over euro bonds a few month back, actual trading in euros against Yen and Dollars was actually extremely low.

  • no-user-image.gifCifFinanceGuy

    17 April 2012 5:10PM

    Would be very interesting to see Hollande win.

    Who said Turkeys don't vote for Christmas?

  • no-user-image.gifyvesferrer

    17 April 2012 5:53PM

    Dear Mrdaydream,
    I am not sure where the 27% figure comes from but one thing is for sure: the winning candidate in the second round must have a clear majority.
    Now, compare this with FPTP and MPs elected indeed with a minority of the voters in the UK and tell me which is the better system?

  • no-user-image.gifInfinitebluesky

    17 April 2012 6:19PM

    To answer to your question, it is as follows (but I found it only in french, sorry) :
    "Le programme du Front de Gauche et donc de JL Melenchon en chiffres :
    Les recettes :
    Suppression des niches fiscales inefficaces : 80 Milliards
    Monetisation des charges d'interets : 42 Milliards
    Fin des exonerations de cotisations sociales : 30 Milliards
    9 nouvelles tranches d'Impots sur le Revenu : 9 Milliards
    Taxe sur les transactions financieres : 6 Milliards
    Taxation differentielle des exiles fiscaux : 5 Milliards
    Taxe sur les revenus financiers : 4 Milliards
    Lutte contre la fraude fiscale : 3 Milliards
    Augmentation de l'ISF : 2 Milliards
    Modulation de l'IS : 0,5 Milliards (avec baisse pour les entreprises vertueuses en matiere d'environnement, d'emploi et de formation)
    = +192,5 Milliards €
    Les depenses :
    Remboursement a 100% des frais de sante : 40 Milliards
    Retraite a 60 ans pour tous : 27 Milliards (aucune retraite sous le seuil de pauvrete)
    Doublement du budget de la Recherche : 13,9 Milliards
    Charges d'interets sur nationalisation : 9,8 Milliards
    Promotion de la Culture, des sports : 5,5 Milliards
    Revalorisation de minimas sociaux : 4,9 Milliards
    Aides publiques a la planification ecologique : 4 Milliards
    Construction de 200 000 logements par an : 3,5 Milliards
    Soutien des Universites : 3,1 Milliards
    Valorisation de l'enseignement professionnel : Milliards 2,4
    70 000 postes dans l'Education Nationale : 2,2 Milliards
    Reforme de la dependance : 2,1 Milliards
    Renforcement de la Justice : 1,2 Milliards
    200 000 places de gardes d'enfants : 1 Milliard
    = - 120,6 Milliards"

    You can read his/their platform called "L"Humain d'abord" (Human First), and even better, "Nous on peut" (We can) written by Jacques Genereux, a brilliant economist who is leading and has written with others Melenchon/Front de Gauche economical platform.

  • no-user-image.giffrenegonde

    17 April 2012 6:34PM

    Thanks for the information. The bit that worries me is 'monétisation des charges d'intérêts' - I'm not sure what that means in this context. It sounds suspiciously akin to quantitive easing. I trust I'm wrong!

  • Contributor

    17 April 2012 6:47PM

    Sorry, but you are a tad naive. The speculative/hedge fund/major banks take a long term view of finance, and manipulate all markets as much as they can. If they take the view that their long term interests will be best served by screwing France or the Euro or whatever, they will act to do so. They will sell France short, not subscribe to new French bonds and take a small loss now, but make huge profits in the next few years. The pricing in financial markets is all a matter of opinions, not values. France will not become a greater risk in any way; it will always be able to repay loans. The profit comes from persuading others that the prices will drop as a result of the new government, and buying when they do.

  • 60x60.pngRayNoble

    17 April 2012 6:52PM

    Yes, well you see that was the problem with the recent UK referendum on AV. The Liberal Democrats settled for the wrong system and it was rejected. But I think one reason the case was not made effectively was because it wasn't offering a system like that in France with a second ballot. The advantage in France is that they can vote strategically in the first round knowing they can transfer their allegiance in the second.

  • no-user-image.gifyvesferrer

    17 April 2012 6:59PM

    Dear RayNoble,
    thanks for your response; I could not agree more!
    If there is one thing that really puzzles me about politics in the UK, it is the fact that every government in living memory has been put in power with a minority of the vote, yet with a majority of MPs; this is accepeted by the vast majority of the electorate: incredible!
    Add to the mix the various grumpy posters who ramble about 'no mandate' when the mood takes them and there you have it: democracy applied to one of the greatest nations on the planet! did anyone say 'idiosyncratic'?

  • 60x60.pngjekylnhyde

    17 April 2012 7:15PM

    If Sarkozy gets back in I'm coming back to England. Here, there will be cuts to the health system, the environment sold to the frackers, education peddled of to the private sector, bankers allowed free rein to rob everyone........... Oh.......... Wait a minute. Here we've got sun and enough water.

  • no-user-image.gifyvesferrer

    17 April 2012 7:54PM

    Quite! The elected MPs have a majority of the vote: the second ballot ensures that there is some negotiation to accommodate most people rather than polarise them.
    The nonsense of an MP elected with 35% of the vote (for instance) anf therefore 65% not wanting him is breath-taking; but here we are...

  • no-user-image.gifdropsy

    17 April 2012 8:34PM


    You're perfectly right. How undemocratic we must seem to the outside world. The 'landslide' victories of 1945 and 1997 would have ended in coalition governments if PR had been in use.

    However the FPTP system was not introduced to be fair; it was intended to provide stable government, which has been the case since the prime ministerial system first developed in the 1740s.

    Surely there must be some compromise? The Scottish system sounds like it marries stability with greater representation. Am I correct?

  • 60x60.pngTrollopean

    17 April 2012 8:41PM

    @ non-French readers!

    For the French presidential elections only the first two candidates can stand for election in the second round. However, for the legislative elections several candidates can stand (from memory candidates in the second round must obtain at least 12.5 percent of the votes cast to be eligible) and the winner is the candidate with a simple majority. Usually there are agreements between, say, Greens and Socialists or Modem and Centrists to present a single candidate, three is not uncommon, but I have seen resultts from electorates where there have been four and once five candidates.

  • no-user-image.gifstilt

    17 April 2012 8:44PM

    I think that you have a point. In 1992 the Tories said that the Shadow Chancellor John Smith's tax policy would not only affect nurses but teachers too who although well qualified were not highly paid and it seems some or many of these, then, natural supporters of Labour to have second thoughts and this and other factors meant that the gutsy Kinnock who took on the Militancy Tendency did not become prime minister.

  • 60x60.pngTrollopean

    17 April 2012 8:45PM

    P.S. I should have added "...in the second round" after '...four and once five candidates'.

  • no-user-image.gifDixiesMayor

    17 April 2012 8:55PM

    A key election for all those tired of the Right's stranglehold on Europe.

    If Hollande wins it will have the efffect of rejuvenating the socialists and other left wing political parties all over this massive continent and will shift the Labour Party to the left irrespective of whatever the Blairite/New Labour rump and even Newsnight thinks.

    I still have my little metal badge depicting a red rose held by a clenched fist given to me when I was made an honorary member of the French sociatist party.many years ago.

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