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The French Presidential Runoff

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, April 26th, 2017 - 79 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Europe, International - Tags:

Why is it so hard to conceive of a radical alternative to the kind of government on offer?

The French Presidential runoff, like the recent Dutch election and others, brings to mind the question of German sociologist a century ago when he asked: Why is there no socialism in America? Some of that is to do with the size of the country: shared purposes are hard to sustain on an imperial scale without a major loss of freedom. Then there’s their inherent cultural suspicion of government.

It is not by chance that social democracy and welfare states have worked best in small, fairly homogenous countries, where issues of mistrust and mutual suspicion do not arise so acutely. A willingness to pay for other people’s services and benefits rests upon the understanding that they in turn will do likewise for you and your children: because they are like you and see the world as you do.

Where immigration and visible minorities have altered the development of a country, we typically find increased suspicion of others and a loss of enthusiasm for the institutions of a welfare state. It is incontrovertible that welfare states face serious practical and political challenges today. Their survival is not yet in question, but confidence is weakening.

The French Presidential runoff between Le Pen and Macron is now starkly lit by the hard right populist – and failing – President Trump. He has been our best reminder that deeply radical governments are deeply unstable. The degree of instability is what people are voting for when they choose the degree of radicalism.

Macron, fully in the mold of Clark and Key, Gordon Brown, Hillary Clinton and Merkel, is a centrist who seeks to strengthen civic institutions and retain the push of global free trade. He’s pretty to look at, fresh within his own political party, and interesting. But he won’t change much.That is the best to hope for.

In this world where many democracies are sliding to the very hard right, we get to conceive radical alternatives in power. Right now that small c conservative position is a good thing.

79 comments on “The French Presidential Runoff”

  1. Fustercluck 1

    A Rothschild banker is a good thing?

  2. Glenn 2

    “I feel I am to the left of Obama”
    Marine Le Pen
    http://www.visualcapitalist.com/french-elections-macron-le-pen-eu/

    Comparing Macron and Le Pen is interesting. While Le Pen has been labeled hard right many of her policies are left of centre.

    Advocates 10%tax cut for lowest income tax brackets.

    Keep the 35 hour working week.

    Lower retirement age to sixty.

    Make overtime tax free.

    Advocates a bonus of 1000 euros per year for low wage earners and pensioners.

    National plan for equal pay for women.

    Calls for a move to zero carbon economy.

    Referendum on Europe Bring back Franc.

    Macrons policies.

    Keep the 35 hour week.

    Limit wealth tax to real estate.

    Cut government spending to 50% of GDP

    Cut 120,000 state jobs by not replacing state servants on retirement.

    Extend unemployment benefits to entrepreneurs, farmers, self employed and those who quit jobs voluntarily

    Implement universal pension.

    Close coal fired power plants.

    Stay in Europe.

    Hard decisions for the French Voter.

    • Bill 2.1

      The same was noted as regards the broad economic sweep of Sanders and Trump. the choice is more to do with breaking from that discredited centre in a direction of increasing democracy, or to break in a direction of authoritarianism.

      Neither of these French hopefuls offer up anything other than an opportunity for financial interests to consolidate their power at the expense of ordinary people and society at large.

      I’d bet Shauble is still nursing a hang-over from his celebrating of this result.

    • mikesh 2.2

      It is said that France’s departure from the eurozone could lead to a collapse of the euro; other countries, notably Greece, would probably follow suit. This would not be good for financial institutions.

      • Phil 2.2.1

        This would not be good for financial institutions.

        I’m sure there are plenty of people on this site who would not see that as a bad thing… I guess that’s exactly what you’re going for.

        But seriously, Greece and other smaller countries get relatively big EU-subsidies while their in the EU. The countries with the most to lose from Brexit and a potential Frexit are the larger nations with higher GDP per capital (i.e. the ones mostly footing the EU bill) like Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

        • KJT 2.2.1.1

          You mean the countries that are borrowing to buy German manufactured goods. I doubt if they have a net benefit from the EU. Greece certainly does not.

    • D'Esterre 2.3

      Phil:”Compared to a racist monster?”
      Say what? The racism epithet is just name-calling. As pointed out below, her policies lean to the left-wing.

      • peterlepaysan 2.3.1

        Please stop confusing mob populism with the left wing (whatever that term means).

        Le Pen is both a fascist and a racist.

        VIVA the Vichy Government! I do not think so.

        • Fustercluck 2.3.1.1

          Hey Peter.

          Ya got any citations for that fascist/racist thing or are you just re-labeling nationalism there, bro?

          • peterlepaysan 2.3.1.1.1

            Citations?
            Where precisely would I, or you, find, such citations.
            Which academic journals publish research papers on the conflation of racism, fascism and nationalism?

            The best known publication that conflated those ideologies was a (non academic) book called Mein Kampf.

            Obtw, what justification exists for nationalism?

    • Richard McGrath 2.4

      Both pleasingly have some smaller-government policies – tax cuts, reining in spending and putting a lid on the bloated public sector. Unfortunately, there are some stupid ideas such as a zero carbon economy (unless they beef up nuclear power and find some other way to power and lubricate machinery that doesn’t involve oil). To me, Macron seems the better choice. He’ll win in a landslide.

  3. Bill 3

    Macron is Hollande on steroids – Thatcher risen.

    Macron was Hollande’s finance minister and Hollande’s Socialist party died a death because of the liberal policies that were being enacted.

    The centre is collapsing in France just as elsewhere, but the sad and frustrating thing is that the right wing factions from within the so-called leftist parties that constituted that centre, are successfully heading off genuine left wing possibilities and, at least in the short term, getting away with promoting right wing individuals and policies.

    Of course, msm lends all the support it can by ignoring left wing aspirations and throwing up xenophobic bogey men to frighten people into voting for these radical centre candidates who are emerging from the corpses they’ve made of the sold out, washed up (once were) parliamentary parties of the left.

    It won’t last.

    A few short years back, there would have been no possibility of a Mélenchon or a Sanders or a Corbyn or any of the social movements and new expressions of politics we’ve seen in Spain, in Greece…

    In a few short years from now, those genuine and (mostly) social democratic expressions of leftist thought, will have broken through and be the new normal.

    Meanwhile, things are probably going to get quite ugly

    • ropata 3.1

      A few short years back, there would have been no possibility of a Mélenchon or a Sanders or a Corbyn or any of the social movements and new expressions of politics we’ve seen in Spain, in Greece…

      So true, we were in the grip of Blair / Clinton neoliberal “Third Way” BS

      In a few short years from now, those genuine and (mostly) social democratic expressions of leftist thought, will have broken through and be the new normal.

      I really hope so. Might be a decade or two, when the current generation die off and Millennials finally take power. Max Planck said (paraphrase): “Science advances one funeral at a time”

    • Ad 3.2

      Trump is the best illustration of the kinds of disruption that occurs when extremists get in.

      The hard right extremes are proving better at getting major chunks of electorates to vote for them than the hard left is. But there is now very little time for any remaining centrist democratic government to show that it can redistribute wealth sufficiently to put faith back into the functioning of ordinary government. It’s a decade since the GFC and class mobility has got worse every year.

      I can’t see how your trajectory of left radicalism could happen.
      But then, I’m sure the Commander of the Battleship Potempkin couldn’t see it either.

      It’s beginning to look like the years around Martin Luther.

      • Bill 3.2.1

        There is no such thing as a ‘hard right’ or a ‘hard left’ – just a left and a right (both authoritarian and non-authoritarian) that has abandoned the dying centre.

        Bankers are extremists (Macron).
        Trump used the rhetoric of Sanders and is no extremist (he’s an arse of an authoritarian).
        Neither Corbyn nor the SNP are expressions of ‘left radicalism’.

        This centre that you want to see preserved is inhabited only by the worst expressions of liberalism, peddling the most dangerous of radicalism and so far, successfully gaining power and simultaneously stymieing the left through fear-mongering.

        It and they can’t be dispatched quickly enough

        • Ad 3.2.1.1

          I just don’t get your taxonomy there.

          Bankers are extremists, Macron was a banker, therefore Macron is an extremist?

          Trump is not an extremist, but is an authoritarian?

          Corbyn is part of a ‘soft centre’?

          Is Melenchon ‘soft centre’ or ‘left’?

          Can you be ‘left’ and from an old party?

          What are your thresholds from ‘soft centre’ to ‘left’?
          Or from ‘soft centre’ to ‘right’?
          Or from democratic to authoritarian?
          When is an authoritarian not an extremist?

          • GregJ 3.2.1.1.1

            Perhaps Political Compass helps?

            US Presidential Election:

            https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2016

            French Presidential Election:

            https://www.politicalcompass.org/france2017

            UK Political Parties 2015:

            https://www.politicalcompass.org/uk2015

          • Bill 3.2.1.1.2

            I was originally going to suggest with your terminology that you must have eaten a dogs breakfast, thrown it up and then stirred it around on the carpet before scooping it into a bucket and throwing it into a comment box.

            It’s all over the show.

            Most of what is bubbling beneath the surface on the left is simple, non-threatening, social democracy.

            This centre you seem to want to hold to is the extreme. Some call it neo-liberalism. And your banker fella is very much a neo-liberal.

            I suspect “The Troika” will be looking to beat a jubilant path to the door of the French National Assembly real soon – right after Macron has laid in the ground-work.

            Like I said above, Shauble will have been celebrating this result.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        Trump is the best illustration of the kinds of disruption that occurs when extremists get in.

        He’s also an example of what happens when governments stop listening to the people and only implement policies that the corporations and rich people want.

        But there is now very little time for any remaining centrist democratic government to show that it can redistribute wealth sufficiently to put faith back into the functioning of ordinary government.

        True but if we don’t then society collapses. of course, that may be what’s needed as part of the necessary evolution of societies.

        • Ad 3.2.2.1

          What kind of collapse would you like, and for how long?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1.1

            Who said I would like one?

            To put it another way: Death is as much a part of life as being born.

            • Ad 3.2.2.1.1.1

              “Of course, that may be what’s needed …”

              What would this death of society look like to you?
              Any major change in world history that you could compare it to?
              The Black Death?
              The decline and fall of the Roman Empire?
              The Russian Revolution?
              The French Revolution?
              World War 1?

              Which of those societal deaths were “as much a part of life as being born”?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Any major change in world history that you could compare it to?

                The collapse of:
                Ancient Greece
                Ancient Egypt
                Ancient Rome
                The British Empire
                The Ottoman Empire
                And the empires in Latin America

                https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

                It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

                “The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

                By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

                These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

        • Bill 3.2.2.2

          Trump has caused bugger all disruption. The markets shot up. They’re happy. Business will continue as normal and they get a bit of banking deregulation into the bargain.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.2.1

            Trump has caused bugger all disruption.

            Of course he hasn’t:
            1. Individuals don’t have that sort of power even if they are ‘the president’
            2. He made it look like he was listening – doesn’t mean to say that he was listening

  4. You want to know why the French are sliding to the right?

    Because Hollande completely ruined it for progressives. You simply cannot have a 75% income tax – which Hollande did, and there were numerous articles showing he was as much as cause of the corruption and the problem the French have with their establishment as he railed about it. Smoking gun two faced hypocrite.

    This one from Der Spiegel is about a scandal in 2013

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/corruption-scandal-puts-hollande-and-france-on-their-heels-a-892965.html

    And this from the Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/29/francois-hollande-flopped-france

    I know nothing about Macron, but I hope he thrashes Marine Le Pen. Because if she is anything like her Daddy, she probably wants nuclear testing to resume in the Pacific – the elder Le Pen did when he won in 2001.

  5. In this world where many democracies are sliding to the very hard right, we get to conceive radical alternatives in power. Right now that small c conservative position is a good thing.

    Yes. This one makes Clinton v Trump look trivial. The question of whether or not you should vote for an investment banker rather than a neo-fascist shouldn’t be a difficult one. There’s a good opinion piece on it here, by a descendant of French Jews.

    The bit most relevant to the people dubious about Macron:

    The hard-left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has, as yet, refused to endorse Macron. This is because he needs – in a move that further reduces the hard-left to its own self-parody – to consult the wishes of his supporters first. Yes, that’s right, he absolutely must have a collective debate about whether or not to endorse the candidate who has, as two of her closest advisers, associates of an unrepentant former SS member. Way to maintain the socialist dream!

    • Bill 5.1

      Why should he endorse either of them?

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.1

        Two reasons:

        1. If the question arises as to whether you’d prefer an ordinary conservative or a neo-fascist to run the country and you abstain, you’ve effectively said you don’t distinguish between conservatism and fascism, which declares you lacking in judgement and not fit to run a school gala, let alone a country.

        2. There’s a real danger of France getting a neo-fascist as President. An influential figure who won’t endorse the neo-fascist’s opponent clearly has no problem with that prospect. Not what I’d look for in a leader myself, but each to their own.

        • KJT 5.1.1.1

          Vote for an ordinary conservative and get poor slowly, or vote for a Fascist, get poor fast and recover again with the backlash.

          • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1

            unless there is no backlash, or you fail to survive it.

            • KJT 5.1.1.1.1.1

              We are not going to survive the “sane” conservatives.

              You know. The ones that responded to the Paris accord, on AGW, by issuing more oil exploration licenses.

              At least Le-Pen thinks we should do something about it.

              • McFlock

                Thing is, you’re weighing fewer people surviving in the longer term against the likelihood of more people surviving in the shorter term.

                It’s an interesting theoretical question as to whether murdering a few people for the greater good is justifiable (which is what we’re talking about when we’re talking about voting for the far right because their carbon plans are nice).

                But in reality, I’m not sure there’s been any real life occasion that it was the correct thing to do. At best there might be one or two occasions where I’d be inclined to say “I hope I’d have the strength to avoid doing that”.

          • Psycho Milt 5.1.1.1.2

            “Nach Hitler, uns!” That worked out so well for the left…

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.3

            I don’t know that people would necessarily get poor under fascism KJT. Roosevelt got the basic framework for the New Deal from Mussolini’s Italy.

            I think a more accurate comparison is that you get to choose to be free to be living under a bridge with financiers running the show, or you get to have basic social provisions and a bucket full of fear under the fascists.

            It’s all shite.

        • DoublePlusGood 5.1.1.2

          Or Melenchon can refuse to endorse either of them, and soundly criticise both of them at every opportunity. This builds Melenchon’s position for the parliamentary elections, and shows the electorates that both candidates in the second round are terrible for France, for different reasons.

          Basically you are saying that if you had David Seymour and Colin Ansell as the two candidates for president of New Zealand, then Sue Bradford should endorse David Seymour. A stretch of an analogy for sure, but I do it to point out the ridiculousness of expecting a socialist to endorse free market economics.

          • Psycho Milt 5.1.1.2.1

            Or Melenchon can refuse to endorse either of them, and soundly criticise both of them at every opportunity.

            He could. And if doing that discouraged a large proportion of the left from voting in the second round, the likelihood of a neo-fascist running France would increase dramatically. He’s either opposed to a neo-fascist running France and willing to do something about it, or he isn’t.

            Basically you are saying that if you had David Seymour and Colin Ansell as the two candidates for president of New Zealand, then Sue Bradford should endorse David Seymour.

            Nope. More like John Key vs Colin Ansell. If there are only two options, one of the options is fascism, and you refuse to take the other option, it means you’re not fussy about whether the country’s run by fascists or not. It amazes me how many people supposedly on the left fall into that category.

            • DoublePlusGood 5.1.1.2.1.1

              People will all know that the left will hold their nose and vote for Macron. That does not mean Melenchon has to endorse anyone.

              • Bill

                I agree.

                He could reasonably condemn both in those areas that they deserve condemnation. To endorse would be to self censor.

                Liberals might not like that the lesser of the evils is getting it in the neck along with the greater of the evils, but meh.

              • Will they hold their noses and vote for Macron? More to the point, will they do that if their preferred candidate makes it clear he wouldn’t? Actively working to suppress the vote for fascism’s opponent is actively supporting fascism as far as I’m concerned.

                • Bill

                  Actively working to suppress the vote for fascism’s opponent is actively supporting fascism as far as I’m concerned.

                  See that? We agree on something. So what to do with these establishment types and their ploy of talking up fascism while simultaneously working to marginalise left candidates before, they hope, hoovering up the vote off the back of the fear for a candidate they’ve hyped?

                  Endorse them because “lesser of two evils”? Vote for them because “lesser of two evils”?

                  edit – if you harbour doubts on that front, go back through the articles relating to the election and compare the coverage of Le Pen and Mélenchon – both in terms of sheer volume and content.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3

          1. Is there a difference between conservatism and fascism? Because from where I’m sitting I’m not seeing any real difference.
          2. Why should we continue to ‘believe’ in leaders when they’ve shown that they’re incapable of leading?

          • McFlock 5.1.1.3.1

            1: seriously?

          • Enough is Enough 5.1.1.3.2

            Why don’t you lead then us Draco? You can be the answer – offer us an alternative?

          • One Two 5.1.1.3.3

            1. The same mentality and ideology has the levers of power today, that was in control the past few hundred years..let’s say

            They fund, train, supply and coordinate fascists of today, the same way they did business and funded , then extracted them out of Europe and placed them around the globe, starting Nasa and the CIA with nazis and fascists..

            No difference..

          • Psycho Milt 5.1.1.3.4

            Is there a difference between conservatism and fascism?

            Why am I not surprised?

            They fund, train, supply and coordinate fascists of today, the same way they did business and funded , then extracted them out of Europe and placed them around the globe, starting Nasa and the CIA with nazis and fascists..

            NASA and the CIA? Wasn’t it the lizard people?

              • Ah yes, the belated attempt to prevent the Soviet Union, that bastion of anti-fascism, from hoovering up all the top German scientists. At least we got a few of them, I guess.

                • McFlock

                  although the abwehr/ss crowd the CIA picked up turned out to be a dead loss.

                  But I guess by the measure of “how many nazis did we use”, the soviets were also conservatives. Hell, Peter Fraser might have picked up a couple for NZ for all we know.

                • One Two

                  ” at least WE got a few of them”

                  Just which war do you fantasize being part of?

                  Not widely read, and not very bright. No wonder you used the lizard people comment (again) and was not aware of ‘open secrets’ such as paperclip..

                  The ‘we’ you snuggle up to are fascists of the most sinister variety…they’ve managed to change colour so many times, most believe they are anything other than what they are!

                  Dupes and dumb people are harvested for energy in supporting the blood lust of ‘the neauvau fascists’

                  • I was aware of Paperclip, having read “Operation Paperclip” by Annie Jacobsen many years ago. That’s how I know it was a belated effort to prevent the USSR from getting all the top German scientists. I just hadn’t recognised that attempt to attract German scientists to the West in your bizarre comment about fascism being a conservative plot.

                    And “we” refers to “us, the members of those societies making up the group of allies that benefited from Operation Paperclip.” Sometimes “we” covers a pretty broad range of humanity, up to and including all of it.

  6. SpaceMonkey 6

    It is no longer a left vs right thing. It’s now an establishment vs anti-establishment thing. Macorn represents the establishment and if the French want more of what they’ve been getting for the past whatever years then they will vote for Macron. If they want change they will go Le Pen, irrespective of how unpalatable that might be.

    This was the same dynamic that saw Trump elected. But as we’ve seen after his first 100 days that it makes little difference overall as the Deep State has lots of leverage to ensure whoever is elected toes the line.

    The system is rigged.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      +111

      • In Vino 6.1.1

        Agree. Hate to quote the Daily Blog, but on a graph they had, Macron was more right-wing than Le Pen. Both were authoritarian, if I remember rightly. The site seems to be down at the moment. But the worrying thing is that we are so unclear about what Macron stands for.

    • peterlepaysan 6.2

      Who rigged the system?

    • peterlepaysan 6.3

      Who rigged the system?
      Why?
      If we follow the money where does it lead?

      Is the rigged system the same all over the world, rigged by the same people?
      Some evidence would be useful.

      • One Two 6.3.1

        Evidence. ..

        Take a closer look Peter, use your own mind and resources before asking others to do it for you..

        Goodness me, it’s not rocket science

  7. Ad 7

    Main Macron policies:

    • Local housing tax exemptions worth 10 billion euros ($10.6 billion)

    • Merger of myriad public- and private-sector retirement pension systems as well as a merger of unemployment benefit systems, which currently differ for regular wage-earners and the self-employed.

    • Broad financial targets include keeping France’s budget deficit below the EU-mandated 3 percent of GDP, lowering the jobless rate to 7 percent by the end of his potential five-year term from around 10 percent now, an investment plan of 50 billion euros and public spending savings seen reaching 60 billion annually by the end of the mandate.

    • Corporate tax would be cut from 33 to 25 percent.

    • The CICE tax credit system for firms would be converted into permanent payroll tax breaks for low-wage workers.

    • 35-hour legal work week would remain but negotiation of real work hours would be left to company level.

    • Low-wage earners would be exempted from certain social welfare levies, a measure that would put an extra month’s wage per year in the employee’s pocket.

    • 50 billion euros of public investment over five years, of which:

    – 15 billion for training/changing skill-sets to find jobs.

    – 15 billion on energy/environment targets: exit within 5 years from coal-based energy
    production, shift towards alternative, renewable energy sources, rise in carbon tax.

    – 5 billion in farm sector financing for environment-friendly projects, local production cooperatives and aid during price crises.

    – 5 billion for transport and local infrastructure, with a focus on renovating old train lines rather than building new ones.

    – 5 billion euros on health sector, including better reimbursement of glasses, dentures and hearing aids, plus move away from wasteful medicine packages that contain more pills than a patient needs.

    – 5 billion on modernization, computerization of public administration.

    • Halve number of early primary school pupils to 12 per class in 12,000 low-income zones, with teachers given a bonus of 3,000 euros a year to work in such areas.

    • All 18-year-olds to get a 500 euro “culture pass” to spend on cinema, theater and concert tickets.

    • Strict application of secular policy in public life. No ban on Muslim veil for university students, as envisaged by some candidates.

    • Asylum requests processed within six months.

    • State subsidy of 15,000 euros over 3 years for firms that hire people in 200 low-income neighbourhoods.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-election-macron-programme-fact-idUSKBN17G19H?il=0

    • McFlock 7.1

      well, that all just sounds like far right neoliberal insantiy, lol 🙂

      • Ad 7.1.1

        We have forgotten how far our social welfare system has shrunk, and how far the French one has expanded.

        With Macron, if I lived in France, I’d be able to get all my uncles fitted with new false teeth and hearing aids for free, and get my nephews to see some real culture for free to the tune of 800 Euros!

        Plus, work for 35 hours a week.

        Sigh.

      • Richard McGrath 7.1.2

        Partly: there’s nothing neo-liberal about paying people to go to concerts and manipulating the energy, labour, education and transport markets. But his other policies sound quite good.

    • Jesus, could we swap our neo-liberal extremists for French ones ASAP, please?

  8. adam 8

    This is why La Pen is going to win.

    Rather than work to offer somthing better, go for conservatism. That is not a winning formula.

    I think like trump, brexit and the rest – you are missing the point. People have had enough of this liberal experiment. Especially the failed free-market liberalism of the last 40 odd years.

    I’m very afraid that authoritarianism will win. Because no one is offering people any other chance.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    He has been our best reminder that deeply radical governments are deeply unstable.

    I’m pretty sure that the First labour government was, at the time, considered a deeply radical government. And I know the Fourth one was.

    The problem is, as you imply here:

    Where immigration and visible minorities have altered the development of a country, we typically find increased suspicion of others and a loss of enthusiasm for the institutions of a welfare state.

    is that the country is unstable due to poorly thought out policies by supposedly centrist governments.

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Has anyone described it as a “toxic runoff” yet?

    The toxic runoff of centrism, for instance.
    The toxic runoff of Neoliberalism.
    The toxic runoff of globalisation.
    The toxic runoff of the Sétif and Guelma massacre.

    Vive la revolution!

  11. peterlepaysan 11

    The NZ mmp system has blunted the edge of the volatile politics in the democratic secular states. Angela Merkal has survived under a similar system.
    What both Germany and NZ have lost has been a very active voting electorate. The number of non voters is a worry and the number of non voters has been increasing, sharply.
    This is only storing up trouble for the future.
    National and its parasites are cruising.
    If the opposition parties cannot galvanise the apathetic we will never build enough prisons gulags.

    Le Pen and Macron represent the disaffected non voting electorate. So did Trump and sanders, so did Brexi (and the Celtic states).

    We live in interesting times. (Curse it!)

  12. DS 12

    We’re actually extremely lucky it’s Macron vs Le Pen. Macron is a dull, inoffensive centrist. The true worry was Fillon vs Le Pen – an actual Thatcherite (and a corrupt one to boot) against a neo-fascist.

  13. millsy 13

    Macron = Blair.

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    17 hours ago
  • Govt supports King Country farmers to lift freshwater quality
    Healthier waterways are front and centre in a new project involving more than 300 King Country sheep, beef and dairy farmers. The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “Yesterday ...
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    2 days ago
  • Support for arts and music sector recovery
    A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package in a crucial economic boost to support the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Legislative changes to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has welcomed the First Reading of a Bill that will make legislative changes to further improve the veterans’ support system.  The Veterans’ Support Amendment Bill No 2, which will amend the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, passed First Reading today. The bill addresses a number of ...
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    3 days ago
  • Christ Church Cathedral – Order in Council
    Views sought on Order in Council to help fast track the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Hon Poto Williams, will be seeking public written comment, following Cabinet approving the drafting of an Order in Council aimed at fast-tracking the reinstatement of the ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders’ human rights better protected in new Bill
    The law setting out New Zealanders’ basic civil and human rights is today one step towards being strengthened following the first reading of a Bill that requires Parliament to take action if a court says a statute undermines those rights. At present, a senior court can issue a ‘declaration of ...
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    3 days ago
  • Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong. “New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government invests in New Zealand’s cultural recovery
    Thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. “The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda ...
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    3 days ago
  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
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    3 days ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
    Setting higher health standards at swimming spots Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health Ensuring ...
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    3 days ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
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    4 days ago
  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
    The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister and Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has today announced the appointment of Tristan Gilbertson as the new Telecommunications Commissioner and member of the Commerce Commission. “Mr Gilbertson has considerable experience in the telecommunications industry and a strong reputation amongst his peers,” ...
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    4 days ago
  • Historic pay equity settlement imminent for teacher aides
    The Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa have agreed to settle the pay equity claim for teacher aides, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This will see more than 22,000 teacher aides, mostly women, being valued and paid fairly for the work they do. “Teacher aides are frontline ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt delivers security for construction subcontractors
    Subcontractors will have greater certainty, more cashflow support and job security with new changes to retention payments under the Construction Contracts Act says Minister for Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa. A recent review of the retentions money regime showed that most of the building and construction sector is complying with ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today. The Enhanced Partnership, signed on 17 May 2019, provides the framework for cooperation across the four main areas of trade, defence and ...
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    4 days ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTERS OF NEW ZEALAND AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE ON THE FIRST AN...
    On 17 May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore established an Enhanced Partnership to elevate our relations. The Enhanced Partnership – based on the four pillars of trade and economics, security and defence, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people links – has seen the long-standing relationship between our countries strengthen over the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters has welcomed KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing. “This Government is committed to restoring rail to its rightful place in New Zealand. Bigger, better ships, with new technology are yet another ...
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    4 days ago
  • Better protection for seabirds
    Better protection for seabirds is being put in place with a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.   The National Plan of Action for Seabirds 2020 outlines our commitment to reduce fishing-related captures and associated seabird ...
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    5 days ago
  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
    Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved Average loan approx. $17,300 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
    Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill earlier today. “This law makes it ...
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    5 days ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
    New Zealanders will be better protected from online harm through a Bill introduced to Parliament today, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin. “The internet brings many benefits to society but can also be used as a weapon to spread harmful and illegal content and that is what this legislation targets,” ...
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    5 days ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
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    6 days ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
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    7 days ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
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    1 week ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
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    1 week ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
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    1 week ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
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    1 week ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
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    1 week ago
  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
    A $35m boost to financial capability service providers funded by MSD will help New Zealanders manage their money better both day to day and through periods of financial difficulty, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “It’s always been our position to increase support to key groups experiencing or at risk ...
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    1 week ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Dunedin barrister Melinda Broek has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Rotorua, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Broek has iwi affiliations to Ngai Tai. She commenced her employment in 1996 with Scholefield Cockroft Lloyd in Invercargill specialising in family and ...
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    1 week ago
  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
    The Coalition Government has approved a business case for $206 million in upgrades to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The investment will be made in three phases over five years, and ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today released the Ministry of Transport’s review of the organisational culture at the Civil Aviation Authority. Phil Twyford says all employees are entitled to a safe work environment. “I commissioned this independent review due to the concerns I had about the culture within the CAA, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
    Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw. The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
    Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick of Auckland has been appointed as the Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed an Environment Judge in February 2014. From December 2013 to July 2016 he was Chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. Prior to appointment he ...
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    2 weeks ago