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French election — the centre lets the right thrive

The centre is a presented as a sensible choice but it opens the door to the right
Issue 2801
A picture of Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May

Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May

Most politicians and commentators tell us that the way forward faced with war, economic crisis and corruption is a politics of the centre. In reality, centrist politics offers protection for the elite and more of the same misery. 

We arrived where we are because of the actions of politicians such as Tony Blair, David Cameron and Theresa May—who are all now lauded as decent and sensible. In France, the threat from the fascist Marine Le Pen emerged from decades of failure by the centre, the traditional right and left and now the neoliberal Emmanuel Macron.

Stepping outside the narrow establishment focus is presented as stepping into the terrain of anti-vaxxers, wild right wing Brexiteers and the politics of Donald Trump. Such forces exist and are boosted by the racism and division that comes from the centre. But there is also a left wing challenge that needs to be fanned rather than extinguished. 

The forces outside the establishment include millions of ordinary people who want to go much further than any mainstream media or politician. The establishment sighs about Johnson’s crimes and his roughness. But the same forces defend a system that allows him to escape and offers no real accountability.

Johnson is our enemy, and so is the establishment that chafes at him but won’t bring him down.

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