Macron slammed by panelist for labelling Johnson a ‘clown’
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In a speech in Paris, Mr Macron openly condemned an attempt by the European Commission to promote “nonsense”. He was referring to its initiative, now disbanded, to fight a woke war by banning gendered words and phrases, such as “man-made” and “ladies and gentlemen”, and replace them with neutral and supposedly inoffensive terms like “human-induced” and “dear colleagues”. The president openly criticised the Commission, stating that “A Europe that comes to explain to people what words they should or shouldn’t say is not a Europe to which I totally adhere.” He said: “It’s nonsense, basically”.
Yet this is the same individual who has openly called for closer fiscal and political integration between member states, who champions “the integrity of the single market”, and who has repeatedly attacked Brexit Britain.
Mr Macron faces presidential elections next year and is trying to undermine the campaigns of Right-wing candidates Éric Zemmour and Marie Le Pen.
Both far-right candidates have emerged as serious contenders to Mr Macron’s rules in the Elysee Palace.
Political scientists however suggest that Mr Macron will easily secure a second term, with many opposing far-right rule voting for him, in collaboration with a split of the far-right vote with two candidates fighting for electoral support.
By openly taking sides in this conflict and opposing the march of wokeness across our cultural battlefields, Macron is challenging not just its failed bid to alter terminology, but the EU’s very foundations.
Writing in The Telegraph, RT Howards says: “He [Macron] is inadvertently siding, for example, with the governments of Hungary and Poland, which have accused Brussels of imposing its ‘wokeness’, especially on LGBTQ rights, and openly defied it.”
He added: “Yet only recently, at an EU summit in June, he urged the EU to fight a “cultural” and “civilizational” battle to stop the rise of illiberal ideas, which he alleged threatened core European values.”
Macron’s divided loyalties – between the EU and his own electorate – have become clear before.
After a French school teacher was beheaded by Islamists in October 2020, his government championed free expression, even “offensive” views like those supposedly held by the Hungarians and Poles.
The stance taken by Mr Macron resulted in a furious backlash by French Muslims, a problem particularly important for the President as the country hosts Europe’s largest Muslim population, and people mean votes at this crucial time.
Mr Macron also came close to challenging one of the sacrosanct principles of the European project – freedom of movement – when he promised to step up police surveillance of French borders to tackle the “growing threat” of terrorism.
This is something that Mr Macron has turned into a political rather than humanitarian battle as the far-right surge led by Ms Le Pen and Mr Zemmour appeals to the conservative French voters who are disillusioned at France’s diverse, yet unintegrated migrant communities.
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Suggesting that Mr Macron learns from his arch-enemy Boris Johnson, Mr Howard said: “He could do worse than emulate the very man he has recently picked out for fierce criticism – Boris Johnson.”
He added: “Over the years, our own Prime Minister has proved highly adept at appealing to many opposing strands of opinion.”
Speaking of Mr Johnson’s handling of Islamophobia, he said: “Although he infuriated the woke by referring to veiled Islamic women as ‘letterboxes’, his article never condemned them. And he was always liberal about immigration even though it was central to the Brexit campaign.”
As the elections fast approach, he ended by saying: “In fact, over the next few months, we must expect French presidential rhetoric to become increasingly Johnsonian.”
Mr Macron now faces a battle on two fronts.
On the one hand, he must deal with an upcoming Presidential election that promises to be closer than ever.
His handling of certain internal issues will not be forgotten by the electorate, ranging from the handling of the Covid pandemic to the yellow-vest movement which rocked the nation.
On the other hand, Mr Macron is keen to fill the void as Europe’s main leader following the departure of Angela Merkel.
Yet, with Olaf Scholz now sworn in as German Chancellor, Mr Macron may have to act fast before it’s too late.
The first round of the Presidential elections in France is due to start on April 10.
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