AFTER being down in the dumps over Trump, we can raise a cheer for Emmanuel Macron. That may be simplistic – but not as simple-minded as Nigel Farage’s reaction to his old pal on the far right, Marine Le Pen, failing to secure the presidency.
First up, the Twitter account of Leave.EU – Farage’s pro-Brexit pressure group – spat out a spittle-flecked tweet saying that the French “rolled over in 1940. This time they’ve saved Germany the fuel and bullets”.
God, at least no one can accuse Farage of looking forwards. Instead his lot view the world through a rose-tinted lens smeared with the grease of old hatreds. How telling that his reaction to a president elect cast from a modern mould should be to drag the war up again. And just in case you missed the point, the tweet included a picture of a newspaper headline from 1940 reporting the surrender of France to the Nazis.
Under his own account, Farage tweeted: “A giant deceit has been voted for today. Macron will be Juncker’s puppet.”
On television yesterday, he also praised Le Pen, saying that she had lost weight and was “looking pretty fit”. Of course, ‘fit’ can have different connotations, but if you imagine Farage raising his fist and pumping his arm, you will probably arrive at his intended definition. That man is so far beneath contempt he must have moles for company.
And should Farage’s foul Twitter scribblings not be enough for you, there is always Katie Hopkins, who mocked the 24-year age difference between Macron and his wife, Brigitte, tweeting: “Macron’s wife has promised him a special new toy from the shops tomorrow for being such a clever little boy.”
Yup, she’s down there with Nigel and those moles. Well, their woman lost and the right are rarely magnanimous in defeat. Most of the papers this morning either ignore the result altogether – just imagine the front page of the Mail if Le Pen had won – or see the result purely in terms of how it will affect Brexit.
Some, including The Times and Financial Times, offer straight reports on Macron’s landslide, while the Guardian goes with “Macron wins French presidency – but a country remains divided.”
That sounds about right, because Farage’s political girlfriend did win 30 per cent of the votes in the run-off – a big result for the far-right. Many complications and compromises will follow, but at least France had the sense to turn against a party based on old hatreds and the exploitation of those who feel left behind in the modern world.
As for Donald Trump, he had previously declared that Le Pen was “the strongest on borders” and the “toughest on radical Islamic terrorism”. But not the strongest on winning elections, thank heavens. Trump would no doubt have been disappointed by the result, but he did tweet on Macron’s victory, saying: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!”
How disappointingly unDonald-like was that: no howlers at all, just that exclamation mark at the end. Sometimes it is possible to see Trump as a fencer who swordfights with exclamation marks. His whole world seems to be one of exclamation, childish superlatives – note that “big win” – repeatedly tossed on a wind of his own making.
Anyway, the narrative that the right is sweeping all before it has not been repeated in France, so that’s a relief. But Marine Le Pen and her Front National won’t be going away.
The lovely Nigel thinks she’ll win next time round. Perhaps by then the former Ukip leader will have disappeared and we will be spared his rancid wittering. As for my wittering, that is over for another day.