Pondering Macron’s mojo

Catherine Fieschi on why a bout of national optimism can resemble a teenage crush

The World Today Updated 8 February 2021 Published 27 July 2017 2 minute READ

Catherine Fieschi

Director, Counterpoint

Within the established narrative of the West’s long crisis – call it adjustment, decline or transition – it is fascinating to examine the political mood swings that have characterized recent European and North American politics.

The Americans have, at least on the surface, swung from proponents of liberal values and resilience in the face of financial crisis to harbingers of protectionism and narrow nationalism; the British, formerly identified with Cool Britannia, have been overtaken by demands for withdrawal and parochialism.

Meanwhile, across the Channel, the Republic’s youngest president re-ignites France’s European passions and has the military band play Daft Punk on Bastille Day. Such was the fever pitch of ‘Macronmania’ in June that L’Express mocked up its cover as a teenage fan magazine: ‘He walks on water!’ As though the past few years of terror attacks and dwindling confidence in government and in Europe were swept away in a moment.

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