Emmanuel Macron, the bogus “outsider” who has just become President of France, has confirmed he is really an insider by the very first important action he has taken as French President. This is to nominate Edouard Philippe as France’s Prime Minister.
Philippe is said to be little known in France. The key point about him is however that he is a member of France’s main mainstream right wing party the Republicans, and that he is widely seen as close to Alain Juppé, who was François Fillon’s rival for the Republican nomination for the French Presidency.
I have long believed that Juppé was the French establishment’s preferred choice for French President, and that Macron’s original role was to keep the seat warm for Juppé whilst the concocted ‘fake jobs’ scandal brought down Fillon. In the event Fillon proved more resilient than expected, making it impossible for Juppé to stand, so the French establishment was left with no choice but to throw its weight behind the inexperienced Macron.
This is of course my own personal speculation, though it is one I have discussed previously (well before the election) and is consistent with the highly manipulated nature of current French politics. Macron’s nomination of Juppé’s henchman Edouard Philippe for the post of Prime Minister strengthens my belief in it.
Needless to say Philippe is as much an insider as Macron. Not only is he close to Juppé – a former Prime Minister of France previously convicted for abusing public funds – but he is a member of the mainstream Republicans, the mayor of Le Havre and – like Macron – is a graduate of the École nationale d’administration, the traditional training school of the French elite. Like Macron he is a beneficiary of the existing system, and can be relied upon to defend it.
Truly today, as France looks forward to more of Macron’s “change” – his “revolution” – it is case perfectly summed up by the famous epigram coined in the nineteenth century by the French journalist and critic Jean-Baptiste Karr:”plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“.