Macron has lost control of the National Assembly and, as les yanquis would say, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. But neither Manny’s political future nor even, to be honest, France’s political present concerns me very much.
What does terrify me is the dire threat these election results pose to European and global security. And I don’t scare easily.
If you add the seats gained by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s watermelon coalition (red and green) to those won by other left-wing parties and Le Pen’s fascisoid National Rally, you’ll see that the extremists are only two behind Manny’s Ensemble.
‘Others’ hold another 26 seats, which gives them an inordinate weight in the balance of power. Nudge them a bit, and a few of those ‘others’ could swing political control towards the lunatic fringe. Isn’t proportional representation wonderful?
For France to retain a semblance of sanity, Manny will have to get into bed with the Gaullist UDI (64 seats). However, that party feels about Manny the way a lamppost feels about dogs, and for similar reasons.
On the other hand, the extreme parties have much more in common than one would think. A Mélenchon-Le Pen coalition is eminently possible. Even chromatically, brown is a combination of red and green, which points to the compatibility of all these colours.
And politically, red and brown are much closer to each other than either is to the traditional European social democracy, whatever it calls itself. This kinship was demonstrated to a devastating effect in the German elections that brought Hitler to power.
The three main parties in Germany were the Nazis, Social Democrats and Communists. The Nazis emerged as the largest single party, but a bloc of the other two would have won. What happened next gave the lie to the simplistic binary notions of Left and Right.
One would have thought that a bloc between the Social Democrats and Communists was a marriage made in political heaven. One party was moderate Left, the other extreme Left, but both were Left. The Nazis, on the other hand, were regarded as Right in contemporaneous mythology.
The future not only of Germany but of the whole world was in the hands of Ernst Thälmann, head of the Communist Party. One step towards the Social Democrats, and Hitler’s name would today be known only to history buffs and collectors of recondite trivia.
But, taking his cue from Stalin, Thälmann shunned the SDs. Thereby he signed his own death warrant – he was killed at Buchenwald in 1944. Much worse, so were millions of others on either side of the war into which the combined efforts of Hitler and Stalin plunged the world.
After Hitler came to power, whole herds of ex-communists joined NSDAP and went about its satanic business with singular ardour. It wasn’t just naked self-interest. Those ex-communists also sensed that the substantive differences between their two affiliations were slight.
Both parties supported state control over the economy. The Communists were in favour of de jure nationalisation, the Nazis of the de facto kind, but that was a distinction without a difference. Even their flags were the same hue of red, if with different superimposed symbols. (For that reason, Soviet war films meticulously avoided showing Nazi flags in true colours.)
Both parties worshiped at the altar of unlimited violence, largely directed against similar targets. This they proved when the Nazis and Soviets joined forces to rape Poland in 1939.
The two predators immediately started murdering exactly the same groups in the territories they occupied: priests, officers, businessmen, intelligentsia, administrators. The only difference was that Stalin hadn’t yet come around to the idea of murdering Jews – that had to wait another 10 years.
Today’s relationships may appear different in many respects, but fundamentally they are eerily similar. The reds, greens and browns are driven by identical resentments and destructive impulses, even if they camouflage them with divergent slogans.
All three detest Western civilisation and dream of its destruction. They take different paths to that destination, but the destination is the same. And if Western defences are only manned by Macron types, the extremists must rate their chances as fair to good, especially if they act in concert.
A tri-colour coalition is possible, even likely. And, contrary to the laws of chromatics, the colour resulting from this mix can only be black.
That the combined efforts of the reds, greens and browns would produce an economic disaster is so self-evident that I won’t even bother talking about it. Just look at their proposed policies, and you’ll get the picture. Yet the inevitable geopolitical disaster merits a few words.
France has been at best a reluctant member of Nato since de Gaulle’s presidential term (1959-1969). With this black-hearted coalition ruling the roost, a complete break isn’t so much possible as guaranteed. This would deprive Nato of its only nuclear-armed member on the European continent.
All marginal parties in France (and quite possibly a few major ones) are at least passive Putinistas. This explains to some extent Macron’s overtures to Putin. He began leaning that way when he realised that his main challenge in domestic politics came not from the Republicans, but from Le Pen and Mélenchon, both active stooges to Putin.
A France effectively governed by the nightmare coalition would be Putin’s unreserved ally. The West’s capability to resist Russia’s aggression would be severely compromised, spelling bad news not just for the Ukraine but for all former Soviet colonies. Since some of them are now Nato members, the consequences are impossible to calculate, but believe me – few Europeans will be turning cartwheels.
Add to this the kneejerk anti-Americanism that’s de rigueur in French politics, and chaos beckons. The problem isn’t that the outcome is predictably catastrophic, but that it’s unpredictable, which may be even worse.
Globalism offers many advantages, but one potential problem is that it turns all major countries into upright dominoes, ready to fall if one of them does. “Therefore,” as John Donne wrote, “send not to know/ For whom the bell tolls,/ It tolls for thee.”