French policy has had some tough times recently. It all began with the terrorist attacks three years ago followed by the introduction of a state of emergency, its extension, yet more terrorist attacks followed by the customary suburban riots.
The crisis, in fact, began during the presidency of François Hollande, but the complaints of the police syndicates – insufficient staffing, lack of equipment – have simply been ignored. Last year sixty-six officers committed suicide.
The troubles police are faced with in France are just the symptoms of a systemic crisis that has been plaguing France for years and to which no government was able to find a workable solution. Yes, of course the French love to protest. They love strikes, they hate to go to school, and defend their 35-hour work week to the last.
But as an explanation this is clearly inadequate. The recent riots are way past just being about fuel taxes: they are about a general increase in housing costs, high unemployment, a widening gap between rich and poor, immigration and the difficulties of integration.
And Emmanuel Macron is not the solution, but part of the systemic crisis. He is himself a symptom. He is the symbol of a division characteristic not only of France but of the entire Western world.
Let us not forget that should the satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné not have exposed the corruption scandal of François Fillon, Macron wouldn’t even merit a footnote in the history books. Macron navigated the election process quite well and in the second round of the presidential elections it was either him or Marine Le Pen.
His real problem is that he still only enjoys the support of about 20-22 percent of the population, but there is no second round of voting any more, there is no more 66 percent support for fear of having Marine Le Pen instead.
Recent opinion polls show that 84 percent of the population supports the cause of the “yellow vests”. Meaning that Macron has lost his voter base.