Some people in Britain may be somewhat confused by Emmanuel Macron, leading candidate in the French presidential election, now just days away from the first round of voting. Who is he? What does he stand for? As polls claim that the former economy minister in the government of François Hollande is likely to be the next president of the republic, it is time for a wider audience to understand the fundamental beliefs that underpin Macron’s candidacy. Is he a man of the left, or the right? Or neither? Or both? Is political and economic liberalism a fundamental value of the left? What is his view on French culture? On trees and fish? Does money eat? Or breathe? Devote just a minute and a half to this captivating video and all will be perfectly clear.
Most of the French is accessible even for those with an O-level command of the language of Molière. Except perhaps for one baffled interviewer’s reference to Raël and illuminé, which emerges after Macron delivers a revelatory discourse on the meaning of life and the transcendence of politics. His interviewer, Guillaume Durand poses a reasonable question: is Macron Raël? Even well-informed readers may need some help here. Raël is the founder of the eponymous religion of Raëlisme, which proposes that all life on earth was introduced by Objets Volant Non Identifés – Unidentified Flying Objects. An illuminé is someone who believes to have been enlightened by a flash of light to the soul, and is often used as a cognate for Buddhism. Macron says he is neither. Whew!
Do enjoy this video in which Macron dispels any lingering doubts about what he believes. As our French friends might say: C’est stupéfiant!
— Jean Neymar (@jpstar22) April 13, 2017
Jonathan Miller is the author of France: A Nation on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Gibson Square).