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Coffee House The Spectator Podcast

The Spectator Podcast: Macron’s vanity fair

27 July 2017

1:04 PM

27 July 2017

1:04 PM

On this week’s episode we discuss whether Macron is losing his gloss, ask if the Brexit talks are heading in the right direction, and recommend how to get the best out of the Edinburgh festival.

First, it’s been just over two months since Emmanuel Macron became President of France, and already cracks are starting to show. Swept into the Elysee Palace by a sea of young voters rejecting Marine Le Pen and the National Front, those same voters are beginning to turn on the centrist former banker who they reluctantly championed. So says Gavin Mortimer in this week’s magazine, where he laments the new President’s vanity, and he joins the podcast from Paris along with the political journalist, Marie Le Conte. As Gavin writes:

“But are the French sold [on Macron]? The polls suggest not. This month, Macron’s approval rating has plummeted ten percentage points the biggest drop for a new leader since Chirac suffered a 15 percentage point dip in 1995. Macron would do well to remember that he was elected as much by default as by desire. Polls have revealed that more than half of his 20 million voters in the second round of the election were motivated more by a determination to block Marine Le Pen than by his policies. Even in the first round of voting, Macron benefited most from the disastrous campaigns of the Socialist party and the centre-right Republicans; a survey in Libération disclosed that only 58 per cent of his voters supported him out of conviction, compared to 81 per cent of Le Pen’s and 84 per cent of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s, the far-left candidate.”


With Parliament adjourned for recess, political eyes are turning to Brussels, where the Brexit negotiations have begun in earnest. In his column this week, James Forsyth worries about how exactly the UK will make their departure, whilst, on Coffee House, Ed West, a Leaver, advocates for a second referendum, now that the deal seems to be going south. They both join the podcast. As James writes:

“Debate over the Brexit deal will, understandably, dominate British politics over the next few years. But however important an agreement with the EU is, it is less important than what the UK does afterwards — do we embrace innovation and free trade, or just try to maintain the status quo? The challenge is to avoid being pushed into signing any long-term pact that so restricts our freedom of action that it negates the whole point of quitting the EU.” 

Whilst Ed is worried that Brexit may be heading off course:

“We can’t see how things will pan out but any minister who feels that leaving would seriously damage our economy has a duty to inform the public and to stand down rather than go ahead with it. Whatever last year’s vote, to do otherwise would be a betrayal of the public.”

And finally, culture vultures from around the world will be descending on the Scottish capital in the next few weeks for the Edinburgh festival. In the magazine this week, Lloyd Evans previews the carnival of comedy, theatre and music, but condemns the official, non-fringe, element to obscurity. He joins us now along with the stand-up comedian Matt Forde, who is performing A Show Hastily Rewritten in Light of Recent Events – Again! at the festival. For a taste of Matt’s comedy, listen below:



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