We’re off to the bear-flag republic to study the natives, after 3 months of puzzling and mercurial new presidentPosted: April 20th, 2017 | No Comments »
This coming Saturday morning the entire staff here (except for Dominic Berry, who has a big date with his current squeeze at a local sporting event) will be boarding an airplane at YYZ, bound for our regular seminar with technical support staff currently residing in the land of the Golden State Warriors.
(They are now, for the somewhat longer term they say, headquartered in Mill Valley — “about 14 miles [23 km] north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge” — with additional offices in Jerry Brown’s beautiful downtown Oakland.)
We’ll be back in our old streetcar-suburb editorial offices here in Toronto, north of the Great Lakes, at some point during the first week of May. And someone among us will report on our latest California adventures then.
Meanwhile, we leave parting thoughts for the time being on four (and a half) subjects, that may or may not be somewhat related :
(1) FRENCH ELECTION APRIL 23, MAY 7. The first round of the presidential election in France will take place this coming Sunday, April 23, just as we are settling into Mill Valley.
If the helpful Wikipedia site “Opinion polling for the French presidential election, 2017” is any guide (and of course it may not be!), the extreme right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen might actually finish first among the 11 official first-round candidates.
But don’t get too worried just yet. The centre-left candidate Emmanuel Macron (vaguely Justin Trudeauesque in Canadian eyes) is at least likely to finish second (and may even be first). And he will go on to defeat Le Pen handily in the second round of voting between the top two first-round candidates on May 7. (While many may still wonder : what exact array of forces in the Assemblée nationale will Macron’s new movement try to govern with after he wins?)
Even the polling that may well be wrong, or at least misleading, also allows for some possibility that the scandal-plagued centre-right candidate François Fillon may finally do better than Macron (or Le Pen?). And even the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon — “who can make fools of his rivals in debate” — has been polling strongly. (In one survey from April 13–15 he actually beats Le Pen for second place on April 23, only two points behind Macron in first!) Marine Le Pen herself claims she will defy the polling altogether and finally win everything!
The eloquent Jeremy Harding had an engrossing April 10 piece on the London Review of Books Blog called ‘The Outsiders‘. It drew attention to certain similarities between Le Pen on the far right and Mélenchon on the far left. They share “the ideological confusion that Europe is experiencing, with the new hard right and an older left refraining from objections to the Trump ascendancy, and to Brexit, on the grounds that the real enemy is liberal market ideology and the European behemoth that drives it.”
Whatever else, “It’s going to be a very interesting election” — as the puzzling and mercurial President Trump himself has prophesied, in an interview with the UK Financial Times.