Coffee House

What François Hollande’s latest crisis means for Westminster politics

3 January 2014

12:42 PM

3 January 2014

12:42 PM

Beyond the slew of amusing ‘No man’s hand’ photos of the beleaguered François Hollande trying and failing to find support from other European leaders, there are a number of implications for the British political scene of the beleaguered French leader’s latest crisis, in which he has been forced to admit that taxes have been too heavy while watching his country’s manufacturing sector fall behind that of Greece and borrowing costs rise.

The first is that David Cameron has a perfect case study of what happens when you stick your fingers in your ears and repeatedly say there is an alternative. He’s already deployed that case study this year in his op-ed for the Times earlier this week:

‘If you doubt how disastrous a return to Labour-style economics would be, just look at countries that are currently following that approach. They face increasing unemployment, industrial stagnation and enterprise in free fall. The opposite of what’s happening here. Our recovery is real, but it’s also fragile, and there are more difficult decisions ahead. A return to that economic madness would devastate this country.’

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The Prime Minister is using this as a warning against voting Labour. But he can also use Hollande’s difficulties to mock Ed Miliband in a different way. Cameron and George Osborne enjoyed reminding Ed Balls at the Autumn Statement of all the incorrect economic predictions made by the Shadow Chancellor: now they can remind Labour of its incorrect allegiances. When Hollande was first elected, Miliband made a great point of saying:

‘I congratulate François Hollande on his election as President of France. I know from our conversations in London earlier this year and from his victory speech tonight of his determination to help create a Europe of growth and jobs, in a way that is responsible and sustainable. This new leadership is sorely needed as Europe seeks to escape from austerity. And it matters to Britain.

‘In his own campaign, he has shown that the centre-left can offer hope and win elections with a vision of a better, more equal and just world. I look forward to working together with him in the months and years ahead.’

The Conservatives can teasingly remind Miliband of his great enthusiasm for working with Hollande now that the president’s policies seem to be offering a little less hope. And in doing so they can weave a narrative of poor judgement at the top of the Labour party.

P.S. As for what Hollande’s continuing slide means for France, you can do no better than to read Daniel Hannan’s cover piece in this week’s Spectator on the rise of far-right parties across Europe. This makes all those awkward failed handshakes seem a little less amusing.

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Show comments
  • Terry Field

    France still has assets britain would love to have.
    If you lot vote for Billimand, he will do for Britain a Holland has done for France, but it will be MUCH worse for britian. Much worse.

  • justejudexultionis

    Let France destroy itself…

    sic semper stulti…

  • Tom Tom

    France will go Fascist as it did when Leon Blum went downhill……it is logical that Italy too with its wave of Forconi (Pitchfork) Protests at present will go Fascist too and probably Spain. Fascism is really what these countries have at present with .Government and Bankers united in looting the public purse, but it will need to broaden into a populist movement to survive

    • dalai guevara

      What a tragic vision of the future. The French red caps on the streets only recently gave you that impression? Protest is not any old protest.
      What you ought to ask yourself is why since some student tipped a fire extinguisher off the roof of CCHQ, nothing, absolutely nothing happened here since.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Gibberish as always.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Street protests – ordinary peoples protests are not enough, never enough, especially as they too have been largely captured by vested interests (fracking, occupy, etc). In England they are now constrained by law and a politicised police. Until there are champions in parliament courageous enough to speak against the “conventional wisdoms” now being peddled nothing will happen. Except more top down oppression and groupthink to reduce its chances. And they won’t speak out because A. they no longer truly represent the people but have become a political elite and B. because to do so elicits the full ‘disapproval’ force of the minority agenda lobby and ultimately leads to apology, resignation or rustication.

        We are France after the revolution with a rotten, tyrannical establishment which has both surrendered its sovereignty and lost its way on the one hand and the ‘mob’ which influences almost all of its activities on the other. And the ‘mob’ is not the people but the vociferous, minority agenda cabal of the collective left. The revolution was not sudden or bloody, but a subversive cultural revolution the consequences of which we have not even begun to deal with yet. The ‘mob’ certainly needs a whiff of grapeshot but I can see no Napoleon brave enough to do it.

        • Tom Tom

          Spain is imposing EUR30,000 for insulting policemen and EUR 600,000 for demonstrating near the Cortes. It will simply push Catalonia towards independent and reignite the situation in 1936.

          “Until there are champions in parliament…..” As Karl Marx said the English would first buy a platform ticket before starting protests

          • dalai guevara

            It just occurred to me – perhaps there really is a direct link between national obesity levels and the willingness to hit the streets (not high streets).

            The reintroduction of long lost chippy culture with its saturated goodness and £1 apple pie deals in your local superstore appear to have fully appeased the fuel poor.

  • AnotherDave

    I don’t accept that the current government has departed from “Labour style economics”.

    Government overspending has continued since the 2010 election. The only effort at reducing the budget deficit has been to increase taxation.

  • Smithersjones2013

    P.S. As for what Hollande’s continuing slide means for France, you can do no better than to read Daniel Hannan’s cover piece in this week’s Spectator on the rise of far-right parties across Europe.

    Poor Izzy should have bothered to read the article because one of the main points is that most of the parties discussed are not ‘far-right’ (FN for example are further to the left of Hollande) but anti-Euro which of course makes them ‘extremists’ in Brussels eyes.

    Clearly Dizzy Izzy is one of the countless bien-pensant journalists, who apply the blanket term ‘far right’ to anyone they disapprove of that Hannan refers to.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9108492/here-come-the-pirates/

    Tut, Tut, Tut

  • Wombeloid

    When is the 4 Jan Kindle edition going to be available on Amazon?

    • HookesLaw

      The 4th jan?

    • telemachus

      I guess you highlight just another inefficiency of our Coalition Society

  • Colonel Mustard

    It means that Michael Foot Mk 2 looks an even bigger d***head.

    And I seem to recall some braying troll calling himself telemachus boasting about the Hollande effect and how it would demonstrate Ball’s policies were correct all along.

    What say now, telemachusallvomit? French Hollandaise sauce not a patch on a good soaking of gravy to lubricate the Roast Beef of Old England with a big dollop of English mustard to get right up your nose.

  • telemachus

    We need 75% tax here

    • Andy

      We need a Guillotine and you can be first to feel her blade.

      • telemachus

        You have forgotten Pierrepoint (I guess he sounded French)

        • Andy

          Perhaps we’ll give you a choice: the Guillotine or the Gallows. So which will it be ??

    • Holly

      Course we do sweety.
      And who better to give it to us than Ed Balls.

      Now go and have a lie down, there’s a good chap.

      • telemachus

        Your second sentence is pertinent

        • Holly

          Your sentences are p*ss funny.

    • David

      You must be a Labour moderate. Obviously not willing to commit to the full 98% of the last ‘great’ Labour government?

  • Jez

    The entrenched establishment elites could do with looking at their long term interests having these clowns running about like headless chickens for them.

    They want to make money- but any leader worth their salt would advise back that present plans of obliterating any national identity / independence could be a long term investment disaster for them.

    • telemachus

      Cameron should be careful in his smug trashing of France
      Osborne’s bottom line may look good
      But the cost of living may yet lead those in Tower Hamlets to rise up

      • HookesLaw

        There is no cost of living crisis. There is more disposable income.

        • telemachus

          Not what the folks feel in Hartlepool, Skegness and Wigan

          • Alexsandr

            how do you know? when did you go further north than Cockfosters? You are the worst type of Westminster bubble wazzock.

            • telemachus

              As you may glean I am humble Northerner who only occasionally forays South

              • Colonel Mustard

                What rot. There is nothing humble about you chum.

      • Fergus Pickering

        I don’t thik he is trashing France, unless Hollande can say, like Louis XIV ‘The state – it is myself!’

      • David

        Everything telemachus predicts doesn’t come true, so we should all be fine, then…

  • Lussac

    Well, his policies have failed spectacularly. Where we live in France the nearest town has a whole street of boarded up shops and it’s dying by the week, even the local weekly market is almost a non-event now. Almost all the locals that I speak to are going to vote for the Le Pen candidate in the next national elections, this is somewhat surprising as the area is commonly regarded as a far left/communist area but the farmers around here have had enough and my own next door neighbour recently died of a heart attack supposedly brought about by the stress of trying to make ends meet, he was only in his late 50’s.

    • telemachus

      Spoken like a true Le Pen supporter
      No doubt a Nick Griffin admirer too

      • Lussac

        Err, no. I’m not registered to vote here but do pay my taxes like a good boy. As far as politics are concerned here in France I have no axe to grind and was only passing on what the locals are saying. You only have to mention Hollande around here to get a stream of vitriolic swearing and thumbs down actions. I used to be on the sidelines of politics in the UK but was very glad to leave all that far behind and now have no allegiance to any party at all, they are all as bad as one another and, from experience, are only out for themselves and what they can get out of it or are egoists of the first order.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          You are obviously not familiar with team Telemachus our resident left wing troll and rebuttal service for the Labour Party. You made a series of objective and uncontroversial statements and then immediately labelled a fascist. This is what Telemachus does on behalf of Labour the party of lies, lying and liars. Ignore the swine is my advice.

          • telemachus

            I think you should leave others to make their own judgements
            They will be very different from yours

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              The aggregate disparity of 54 between my ‘up ticks’ and your ‘down ticks’ would seem to prove otherwise.

            • David

              He did! And he’s reporting those judgements of others. Not that you’d notice because it’s unacceptably anti-Labour, and therefore cannot be tolerated!

            • zakisbak

              I doubt it troll.

        • telemachus

          Pray
          What takes you to live in that dreadful country with haughty neighbours who forget Poitiers, Crecy, Agincourt and Waterloo

          • Lussac

            I came here because I wanted space, peace and quiet. I have all that and rather good French neighbours to boot, I help them and they help me. In the UK did I have space – NO, I am not rich and only have a modest income so could not afford space. Did I have peace and quiet – NO. Did I have good neighbours – a few but others were a complete nightmare. You seem to be deliberately antagonistic or are you just a nasty person by nature?

            • HenryWood

              “You seem to be deliberately antagonistic or are you just a nasty person by nature?”
              Nailed him! Well done, Lussac.

            • David

              It’s certainly one or the other – or both!

            • Rocksy

              On behalf of Telemachus, yes and yes.

        • Smithersjones2013

          Take no notice of our local Tellytubby. he’s harmless really, if distinctly deranged.

        • Rocksy

          In order to be ‘out for themselves’, they have to try to keep the electorate happy. Their purpose is to remain in power. Which means not driving the country into the toilet.

      • Tom Tom

        Don’t be an idiot. (Do try !) Facts are not opinions but you confuse the two

      • MikeBrighton

        Have you actually visited France recently? From my conversations in Paris where I expected much support for Hollande I conclude that the Front National will win the Euros by a landslide

      • global city

        Yes, both believe passsionatley in the state dictating the commanding heights of the economy, transferring revenues from ‘the national effort’ to finance state dictated national programmes and suchlike. You should consider voting for the BNP?

    • HookesLaw

      late 50’s is the classic age for a heart attack

    • Count Dooku

      Le Pen is a communist in all but name only so I’m not suprised she’s doing well in your area. She would have fit in very well in Stalin’s party.

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      Yes social media are full of derogatory cartoons, photo-shopped gargoyles and fluently-crafted insults targeted at the ineffectual president. The mother of his children (whom he abandoned for a flapper) let it be known recently that “Francois never took a decision in all the years we were together,” a habit he appears to have carried into high office. The Bretons in their red bonnets are likely to have plenty more to say (and do) as the New Year rolls out further disasters.

  • zanzamander

    As for what Hollande’s continuing slide means for France, you can do no better than to read Daniel Hannan’s cover piece in this week’s Spectator on the rise of far-right parties across Europe.

    If you’re honest, on closer examination, you’ll find that these parties are more to the far-left.

    • telemachus

      For all your pouting France is becoming more egalitarian as our own society becomes more divided between the poor North and rich South

      • http://www.facebook.com/martin.adamson.75 Martin Adamson

        Yes, Hollande has certainly found the recipe for the perfect egalitarian society – if you drive the talented, ambitious and exceptional out of the country what remains must, forcement, revert to average.

        • HookesLaw

          Yes its good to see them paying UK taxes.

          • Smithersjones2013

            What supporting tax avoiders? How hypocritical of you Hooky….

        • telemachus

          A few high profile selfish elite are better out of any Society

          • Smithersjones2013

            So when are Miliband, Balls, Cooper, Alexander and all going to be exiled then?

          • saffrin

            With Bliar and Mandelson being prime examples.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Scum Brown and Filth Balls being perfect examples.

      • Smithersjones2013

        A case of :

        Poverty For One, Poverty For All

      • David

        That’s true – everyone’s now poor instead of just some…

      • Rocksy

        All are equally poor.

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