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Macron vs Le Pen. Two Different Visions Of France.

J.N. PAQUET photo
Macron vs Le Pen. Two Different Visions Of France.
When Le Pen goes fishing, Macron meets the youth in the suburbs… Two very different visions of France were on display today in the French Presidential Election campaign. It tells a lot about what the two candidates actually stand for.

Le Pen Goes Fishing.

On one side, Far-Right candidate Marine Le Pen went fishing with one of her only MPs, the lawyer Gilbert Collard, to show to the French voters how much she cares about the Fishing industry and that she intends to take the fight to Brussels. The fishermen were all smile.

(Twitter, Marine Le Pen)

Le Pen stands for protectionism and anti-EU policies. She stands for this old idea of a France that never actually existed. The mythical almighty white France that does not need Europe.

“Too many European regulations prevent our fishermen from working. I will free them from these absurd constraints!”Ms Le Pen tweeted.

In a somehow comical video in which Marine Le Pen seems to be a contestant of Stars in Their Eyes in which she would tell the presenter “Today, I’m going to be… a fisherman!”, she and Mr Collard started behaving like real tourists when they saw a couple of dolphins nearby.

Well, she actually missed them… Only her friend saw them!

Mind you, she might decide to try being a farmer for a day next...

Transcript of the video:
Gilbert Collard: "Oh look, look! We saw a dolphin!"
Marine Le Pen: "No! Where?"
Gilbert Collard: "There!"
Marine Le Pen: "Oh, no way! We must see it again!" [Calling the dolphins and sounding like one of them] "Dolphin!! Call him! I talk dolphin!" [Second dolphin call in a different style]
Gilbert Collard, to a third person: "You just miss a dolphin, there!"

Macron In The Rough World.

On the other side, independent candidate Emmanuel Macron went to meet the youth in the suburb town of Sarcelles today.

“Les banlieues” is a bad word for some right-wing and nationalist politicians. La banlieue is a place where life is far from easy. Where people are told by some politicians that they are not even French because their parents or grandparents weren’t born in France. Where people know more about racism, sexism and inequality than in any other part of the country. Where people live with little hope too.

A warm welcome for Emmanuel Macron in Sarcelles (Reuters)

And there he was. Emmanuel Macron. A politician welcomed as a hero. He received a very warm welcome (as the picture shows), listened to the residents and then talked about his vision and plans for the French suburbs. He even played some football with the kids (for the journalists to have something to show tonight. Fair enough!).

Of course, he attacked Marine Le Pen: “In the deprived neighbourhoods, people are stranded, under house arrest. Madame Le Pen wants them to stay there or to go away.”

Emmanuel Macron today in Sarcelles (Martin Bureau / AFP)

He also said: “In the Priority Education Zones, I want the number of pupils to be reduced to 12 per class.”

On the topic of discrimination, he recognised that “what is unbearable is to see that someone with the same talents can not get a job because he comes from a deprived neighbourhood. I want to penalise companies that discriminate according to someone’s address or name when they are hiring.”

“We managed to create mobility through sport, but athletes are not the only models of success in deprived neighbourhoods!”

Emmanuel Macron playing football with the kids in Sarcelles. (BFMTV)

Sarcelles has about 40,000 residents from 40 different backgrounds, the majority of which are people who immigrated to France in the 1960s from Northwest Africa. A very multicultural town.

It's A Draw.

No doubt Ms Le Pen will prefer a photo opportunity with the fishermen or a tour in the countryside to a visit in the French suburbs. Sarcelles, for instance, is the kind of visits she will try to avoid because of her very controversial nationalist policies on immigration.

There aren’t many ‘selfie’ opportunities there for her.

Marine Le Pen scored some precious points yesterday with her ‘selfie operation’ on the car park of a Whirlpool factory in Emmanuel Macron’s hometown of Amiens. She met with the employees of the company that is closing to relocate in Poland, whilst Mr Macron was meeting the unions’ reps at the Chamber of Commerce.

Today, however, the Centrist candidate fought back and took complete advantage on Marine Le Pen being at sea to score some important points too. Mr Macron’s communication style has certainly been modified overnight to avoid another setback in the week to come.

In football as in politics, one would say 1–1… for now!

(This article was first published on the politics magazine

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J.N. PAQUET is an author, journalist and political writer. He is the editor of His book series on populism and nationalism “The Tip of The Populist Iceberg?” is available in print, eBook and audiobook worldwide.

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