The surge of “populist fever” in France, “déjà vu” in several countries

Like Barack Obama, Matteo Renzi and even – to some extent – ​​former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Emmanuel Macron is a highly talented leader: honest, brilliant, surrounded by hand-picked collaborators, a good speaker, gifted with vision. Like them, he is clearly narcissistic. Like them, he is incapable of deciphering the deep moods of his country and of speaking to the broadest layers of society; incapable of giving them hope, at least for the past few years. And therefore incapable of stemming this populist fever that is spreading relentlessly.

Because the period that France is currently going through has an air of déjà vu for those who have already experienced it in Italy, Great Britain, Greece or the United States. One fine day, a new force or figure emerges from the margins of the system and flourishes by proposing simple solutions to complex problems. Syriza, the party ofAlexis Tsipraspromised Greece its withdrawal from the European program associated with the hundreds of billions of credits that his country desperately needed.

Boris Johnson managed to convince millions of Britons that Brexit would refinance the health system to the tune of £350 million a week (the same amount the UK paid to Brussels each week) and thus make people forget its humiliating (and for some deadly) waiting lists. Donald Trump wanted – and still wants – “make it great again” to America with walls and border taxes, even though he is well aware that a good part of the growth of the United States depends on immigration. And the 5 Star Movement knew how to overcome poverty while all the Italian right-wing parties were hammering home – until a few years ago – that the problem was the euro, and that it was enough to get out of it.

Generous promises

All of this obviously fizzled out once they were in power. All that remained were crumbs, more or less recyclable. And an irrepressible desire for hope in the ranks of society – or at least the desire to punish those who deprived you of it. The populist fever therefore continues to spread. It is in France that it is currently experiencing a surge. The National Rally (RN), led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardellapromises to cut taxes for businesses and the middle and working classes, and even taxes on energy, including fuel, in theory thanks to a cut in social assistance for foreigners (including those with legal status).

To help young people become homeowners, he is promising zero-interest state loans, which families will not have to repay if they have at least three children (Fratelli d’Italia’s programme ahead of the 2022 elections provided for the use of a “State guarantee fund” for loans to first-time buyers). The RN also talks about total exemption from income tax for those under 30 (in 2022, Fratelli d’Italia made the same promise for those under 30 “who start their own business”

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