In a live radio interview this evening on LBC with former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen thanked UK voters for their Brexit referendum vote.
“We had been told that it was not possible to leave the EU, and the UK has just demonstrated that, when the people want it, we can set up the conditions to exit the EU. So thank you for showing us the way out of this huge prison.”
The FN leader criticised her main rival in the presidential contest – left-liberal Emmanuel Macron – for his stance on immigration, and expressed disappointment at Theresa May’s decision to meet with Macron but refuse to meet her.
“I find it difficult to understand the consistency of ideas and convictions in this approach. He went to Algeria and he explained it was necessary to build a bridge as it were between Europe and Algeria for even more immigration which is the opposite of what Brexit stands for and the choice made by the British people. I don’t understand this inconsistency this contradiction between what Theresa May stands for today because she has decided to be the woman who will implement Brexit.”
Establishment media commentators are increasingly panicked by the prospect of Marine Le Pen being elected President of France on May 7th. The Financial Times today reports: “Marine Le Pen has a better chance in France than you think”. The venerable Andreas Whittam Smith in The Independent speculates: “This is what would have to go wrong for Marine Le Pen to win the presidential election”. New Statesman correspondent Stephen Bush suggests that Marine Le Pen can still win the presidency. While Sky News Europe correspondent Mark Stone has just posted a report on “Why Marine Le Pen’s message resonates across France”.
Let’s be clear – the odds remain heavily against Marine Le Pen winning (this time) because of the French electoral system. Probably around ten candidates will qualify for the first round of the presidential election on April 23rd, and opinion polls have for some time been almost unanimous in showing that Marine Le Pen will be ahead in this first round, with something like 27% of the nationwide vote.
But she would then have to win a second round against the runner-up.
For some time this looked likely to be a Thatcher-style conservative – François Fillon of the Republicans, who under the former name UMP were led by former Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.
But following financial scandals it looks likely that Fillon might be overtaken by the ex-socialist Emmanuel Macron, who created his own centrist party last year and has enjoyed a surge of media-fuelled support (similar to the SDP over here in the early 1980s).
Macron’s chances have been boosted by today’s endorsement from François Bayrou, a relic of the more “moderate” conservatism which ruled France in the 1970s under President Giscard – the type of politics which founded and still dominates European Union bureaucracies. Bayrou split his own party in 2007 to form the “Democracy Movement”: by supporting Macron this year he has effectively declared the death of “moderate” French conservatism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose politics are similar to Bayrou, must be looking on nervously as she faces her own struggle for re-election on September 24th this year.
Meanwhile in fourth place are the ruling Socialists. Though incumbent President François Hollande decided not to stand for re-election, and his party opted for the most far-left alternative candidate Benoît Hamon, polls suggest that Hamon has in a matter of weeks doubled the pathetic vote that Hollande would have polled. Hamon (15%) seems to be no longer too far behind Fillon and Macron (each on around 20%).
However there are candidates even further to the left than Hamon, such as former minister Jean-Luc Mélenchon (12%) and an assortment of Trotskyists and Greens (about 3% combined). Only if Mélenchon quits the race does it seem possible for Hamon to qualify for the second round.
And – realistically – this would be the most obvious chance for Marine Le Pen. Regardless of “anti-fascist” demonisation, would French conservatives really elect a President from the far left to defeat her? (The only presidential challenger to her hegemony over the non-conservative right is perennial traditionalist candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who though a long-term ally of Nigel Farage and UKIP only polls around 3%.)
More interesting (especially in the longer term) is the alternative scenario. Increasing numbers of working-class French voters (including former socialists/communists) see Marine Le Pen and her party as champions of the worker against the pitiless, international and cosmopolitan values of the “free” market. She has achieved this – remarkably – without suffering too many damaging splits within her own movement.
Marine Le Pen has long recognised this trend. While trying to “de-demonise” the party in some areas, such as her (so-far fruitless) attempts to appeal to Zionist/Jewish opinion by stressing a common front against radical Islam, she has in terms of economic/financial policy been far more radical than her father, who at one time was aligned with Reaganites and Thatcherites in an anti-communist, pro-capitalist stance.
Even if Hamon makes it into the second round, the French left is surely bankrupt. Marine Le Pen and the FN have a great chance of reaching the Elysée Palace – if not this year then in 2022.
A Paris court on Tuesday this week gave Prof. Robert Faurisson – an 87-year-old half-French, half Scot who was Professor of French Literature at the University of Lyon – a four-month suspended jail sentence and a €4,000 fine. Judgement on a further charge will be given later this week.
The circumstances of Prof. Faurisson’s trial were explained at a meeting of the London Forum in July 2016 by Lady Michèle Renouf, who was the sole defence witness alongside Prof. Faurisson at his Paris trial.
In September 2016 Prof. Faurisson was convicted under the French “racial hatred” law for the 60-word sentence translated below: the Paris court taking the extraordinary view that his reference to “the State of Israel and international Zionism” amounted to an illegal attack on Jews as a “race”.
For this “offence” Prof. Faurisson received a 4 month suspended prison sentence and a fine of €4,000. He was ordered in addition to pay €5,000 in compensation and costs to LICRA, a French association combatting “racism and anti-semitism”.
Two additional charges under the French “Gayssot Act” prohibiting “Holocaust denial”, which related specifically to Prof. Faurisson’s Tehran conference speech, were set aside.
Prof. Faurisson immediately announced his intention to appeal against this latest conviction: an appeal which is of the highest importance for historical and political researchers worldwide, and in particular for anyone campaigning against the policies of the Israeli Government. It would seem that the latest judgement opens the way for any robust criticism of Israel to be criminalised in France as anti-Jewish “racial hatred”, even if neither Jews nor Judaism have been mentioned!
Further reports and analysis of this case will appear in the next edition of Heritage and Destiny.
An earlier interview with Prof. Robert Faurisson can be seen below (including English subtitles), in which he explains the background to his famous 60-word French sentence summarising his research conclusions. Prof. Faurisson’s words (again criminalised by the Paris court this week), read in English:
“The alleged Hitlerite gas chambers and the alleged genocide of the Jews form one and the same historical lie, which has permitted a gigantic political and financial swindle whose main beneficiaries are the State of Israel and international Zionism and whose main victims are the German people – but not their leaders – and the Palestinian people in their entirety.”
A desperate effort by the French establishment parties of the old left and right prevented Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) from winning control of any regions in today’s second round elections, despite the astonishing success of the FN in topping the poll in six regions of France last weekend.
The party leader celebrated “the inexorable rise, in election after election, of the national movement. By tripling the number of our regional councillors, the FN will from now on be the primary opposition force in most of France’s regional councils.”
Marine Le Pen added that the true division in politics today was “not left versus right, but globalists versus patriots”.
The FN leader was defeated in her Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region by conservative candidate Xavier Bertrand who polled 57.2% to Marine Le Pen’s 42.8%. One positive effect should be that over the next couple of years Marine Le Pen will be able to remind working-class voters in her region that its conservative rulers were put into power by the “socialist” leadership.
An even closer result was achieved in the FN’s old stronghold of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, where the leader’s 26-year-old niece Marion Maréchal Le Pen also lost to a socialist-backed conservative by 54.8% to 45.2%.
In the new eastern region of Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, another conservative defeated a strong FN campaign despite the fact that (unlike in the two regions just mentioned) the socialist candidate refused to withdraw. Here one of the FN’s five vice-presidents Florian Philippot remained in second place with 36.1%, ahead of the socialist’s 15.5% but behind the conservative’s 48.4%.
Conversely in another three-cornered fight in the southern region of Languedoc-Rousillon-Midi-Pyrénees, fellow FN vice-president Louis Aliot lost to a socialist by 43.1% to 35.6%, with the conservative trailing in third place.
And in the closest result of the second round – another three-cornered fight in the Burgundy region – local MEP Sophie Montel of the FN slipped from first to third place with 32.4%, behind the socialist victor on 34.7% and the conservative on 32.9%! The socialist came from third place last week to win the second round. The explanation (here as across the country) was partly a rise in turnout, in this case from 48.2% to 58.2%, with previously apathetic voters responding to the media and establishment’s appeal to block the FN, and partly the transfer of votes from those who had backed small leftist or green parties in the first round.
Similarly in the Central / Loire Valley region (which includes the town of Dreux where the FN had its first electoral breakthrough in 1983), FN candidate Philippe Loiseau slipped from first to third place, with 30.0%, and the socialist again won the second round after a third-place last weekend.
Across the whole country (with 97% of votes counted) the FN polled more than 6.8 million second round votes (up from 6.1 million last weekend) – roughly 27.5% of the nationwide vote. Turnout rose from 49.9% in the first round to 58.5% in the second.
FN leading party nationwide
Marine Le Pen leads first round with 40.6% in Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie;
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen also leads first round with 40.6% in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur ;
Florian Philippot leads first round with 36.1% in Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardenne
First results from the French regional elections indicate that the National Front (FN) is now the country’s leading party, with party leader Marine Le Pen on course to become president of the region around Calais – an area with a population of six million which also includes many depressed former industrial areas.
It appears that in Calais itself Marine Le Pen won more than 50% of the vote, and around 60% in the FN stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont.
The two-round system used in the French regional elections will undoubtedly prevent FN victories in next week’s second round in many of the six regions where the party was in first place today, but Marine Le Pen in the north and her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen in the southern region around the Côte d’Azur have probably built up such a strong lead that they cannot be stopped, even by an alliance of the establishment parties.
Moreover there are signs of dissent within that establishment, some Socialists saying that they will withdraw in favour of conservative anti-FN candidates in the second round, while former President Nicolas Sarkozy says that he will oppose any conservative withdrawals.
Across the whole of France (with about 98% of first round votes counted) the FN vote averaged 28.0% making them the largest party, more than double their 11.4% vote in 2010, and ahead of the conservatives on 26.9% (up 0.9%) and the governing socialists on 23.3% (down 5.8%). Most of the remaining votes were scattered among various far left and green parties, though UKIP’s ally Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and his DLF party polled around 3.9% nationwide (scoring best in their leader’s home base near Paris).
DLF polled around 2.4% in Marine Le Pen’s region and 2.0% in Marion Maréchal-Le Pen’s region, so if their votes transfer solidly this could push the FN closer to regional victories next week. This would be the first time that the party has held power at regional level – and is especially significant because several regions are now even bigger following boundary changes. Marine Le Pen’s region, for example, is larger than Denmark.
Aside from the two Le Pen regions, the FN also led in the north-east region of Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardenne, where the party list headed by Florian Philippot (one of the FN’s vice-presidents who has been targeted in a homosexual scandal) managed a first round vote of 36.1%. Support from the left would probably have been enough to allow the conservatives to overtake M. Philippot in the second round, but latest news is that the third-placed socialist candidate will stay on the ballot (unlike his counterparts in the two strongest FN regions) – so M. Philippot has a great chance of winning a three-cornered fight next weekend.
In the region around Burgundy the FN’s Sophie Montel (also an MEP) leads the first round with 31.5%; while in the Central/Loire Valley region (which includes the town of Dreux where the FN had its first electoral breakthrough in 1983) the FN ‘s Philippe Loiseau was in the lead with 30.5%. Each of these will remain close three-cornered fights in next weekend’s second round, as will the southern region around Languedoc, where the FN’s vice-president Louis Aliot (leading advocate of the party’s closer relationship with Israel) led the first round with 31.8%.
So in total the FN was in first place in six giant regions of France. In addition the party was a close second with 27.7% in Normandy, where its list was headed by Nicolas Bay, a former leader of the party’s youth wing who joined the breakaway MNR during the FN’s split in 1998 but was accepted back into the FN in 2009.
For the first time the turnout in a French regional election fell to barely 50%, in a further sign of the crisis of confidence in mainstream politics. We can expect a week of solid ‘anti-fascist’ propaganda in a last desperate effort by the French socialists to get their vote out next Sunday.
While the British nationalist movement approaches its weakest electoral performance for almost thirty years, the French National Front of Marine Le Pen seems ever more credible as a potential government.
The BBC’s Robert Peston last week presented a surprisingly fair assessment of the FN’s progress. The programme can be seen in the video link below.
After what is certain to be a disastrous general election for British nationalists in May, Heritage and Destiny will play its part in the discussion of where we go from here: how and what can we learn from the experience of fellow nationalists in Europe?