Liberté, égalité, fraternité

As a conversation thread starter, here are some links to help understand the recent election in France. I will avoid all but one of the obvious “This isn’t the end of Macron or France’s problems” articles, of which there seem to be at least a thousand.

Firstly, it is interesting that the polls moved to Macron between the first and second round, and his final vote slightly exceeded his best final poll, which might be partly accounted for by the fact that there is no last day polling by law. As with the 2017 election, I think some who don’t like Macron and who love to complain about the way things are, admit to themselves in the last week or even the last day that they will still vote to block the one they like even less. This 2021 post on french performative miserablism and polling on vaccination partly covers what might be a national political and polling tendancy.

The below by John Lichfield from before the vote is a good read, he argues that the old French Right-Left system has mutated into a muddled pattern of three broad tribes: the scattered Left and the Greens; a pro-European, consensual Centre; and a nationalist-populist, anti-migrant and anti-European Right. No winner will ever be really popular with more than a third of the country.

Late last year Manu Saadia wrote a series of Substack posts on the French election for the benefit of the non french, explaining the basics and background really well. He stopped well before the vote, but they are still a good read.

In particular I draw your attention to the one on why the Presidential vote matters so much, “Camembert President.” He writes “France is a monarchy that undergoes a succession crisis every five years, by way of an election. It is by design. Under France’s current constitutional arrangement, the so-called Fifth Republic, the sole real seat of power is the office of the presidency. It is therefore unsurprising that all civic and political life would revolve around it.”

Another good read, “Eric Zemmour and the long shadow of France’s defeat in Algeria”

The amazing mechanics of an election that spans the entire globe

Finally, I recommend to you the recently launched Le Monde english language edition. Why read US and UK takes on European news when you can now get the news direct? Most of the best European newspapers are only in the local language, so this is a good development for us. Some articles are subscriber only (although you can usually still read good chunks of those), but many are free to read. Worth bookmarking the site for french news.

Two articles to start…

Jean-Luc Mélenchon devises plan to become Emmanuel Macron’s main opponent

The leader of the radical left hopes to win the legislative elections in June. Labor Day protests on May 1st will be the the left’s first show of strength against President Macron.

Quarrelling French far right struggles to unite for legislative elections

Marine Le Pen has already set her sights on the June 12 and 19 elections, hoping to induct a significant far-right group to the Assemblée Nationale. Eric Zemmour called for an alliance while criticizing her defeat, fueling their rivalry.

107 Years Ago . . .

One of the more of the many appalling – things – incidents – catastrophes of WW1 that happened:


Australia and New Zealand and the UK and – we should NEVER forget – Turkey – were embroiled in this utterly futile and destructive stretched-out battle. So many young men – teenagers, on both sides, were doing their best to kill each other, probably without any idea of the politics behind that war.

So many young lives wasted.
So many parents and siblings mourning.
So many families grieving forever.

Now the wannabe warlord/tsar of the world is wreaking his hubris on Ukraine – a place fought over for centuries. Who’s next? Poland, aka the battleground of Europe?

When I was a child, my family and I often visited the War Memorial in Canberra. For me, it was an important way of learning part of our history, and I learned so much from those visits: respect, sorrow, and – hey – let’s NEVER do that again.

Now I completely and utterly deplore the Australian War Memorial’s morphing into being a celebration of war. I don’t see anything in their glorification of war that supports the amazing efforts of the people of Ukraine. That is so sad.

I want the AWM to return to what it used to be: a memorial.

It’s not a memorial or a museum now. Instead, it’s – under its current leadership – a glorification of endless war.

My father served in the RAAF throughout WW2. He would be appalled by the current state of the “museum”.



It is the time of the major Christian festival, Easter. Its name is said to come from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring and fertility. This was a time in the ancient Britannic world when the new season was welcomed. After the dark Winter, people enjoyed festivals to mark the new life of Spring. This also explains the giving of eggs for Easter, to signify the new lives to come and the celebrations of hope, joy, and fun. The bunny celebrated fertility.

 Are there themes that the non-religious or those from other faiths, take from the Christian Easter? What can voters in the next Australian Federal election take from Easter?

The Christian festival is wrapped up in the story of Jesus rising from death, to proclaim new life for all people. Most cultures and religions have a festival to celebrate the shedding of the old and welcoming the new. We are now in Ramadam, the period of fasting and giving in the Moslem faith, which is followed by the family celebrations when it is finished and a new cycle of faith begins.

We can go back to the pagan ceremonies, taken over by the Christians for convenience, which looked forward to a new spring, new plants, fruits, new wildlife, and new humans being conceived.  It was a time when there would be plenty to eat, the weather was nice and the daily grind of survival was easier than during the dark and cold, often frozen Winter. Old straw mattresses were tossed out and new, fresh beds made up.

Easter also says it is never too late to take a better path or live a different life.  The despair of Easter Friday is lifted on a joyous Easter Sunday. Although from then on, the next day or week may still be difficult, and the next month and the next year, and even the next decade hard, that bright day when the Ancients hoped for nothing more than another good season, can be our inspiration as well. 

Sometimes to survive until your time comes is enough.

In the Southern hemisphere, we go into Winter after Easter but we can always look to the Spring beyond. Those who plant our Autumn bulbs know that the plants are absorbing energy and growing, quietly, out of sight. They bloom gloriously when our side of the Earth reaches the part of our orbit around the Sun which gives the flowers their time in the sun. 

And so the world turns.

We also may think our lives will never see the sun, that we are in a perpetual Winter.  I am certain the grief-stricken victims of the wars in the world think that, too, with very good reason. We can only hope they get a time when they can safely sit in the sun with memories that comfort them. 

 This is also a time when those who bring Winter into the lives of others can step back, and just stop doing it. They can count the cost to themselves as well as others, and realise that at the end of it all, it just is not worth it. All the energy, resources, and time spent to make others unhappy is a lost opportunity to gain their own happiness. Does the dictator sleep well without guards, locks, and alarms? Does their power bring them anything but their own self-imposed prison? Can he or she just sit in the sun, with their memories, without dragging Winter into the seat next to them?

Can a President or Prime Minister, or any leader who lets only some select few sit by the fire in Winter while leaving others outside to bear the cold as best as they can, expect his or her Springs to last forever?

 The Story of Easter says not, unless they cast aside their destructive ways forever and make good, and atone for their past behaviour and the consequences of their actions.

During this festival of giving eggs and chocolate and celebrating happiness, we can look at ourselves and see if our choices are bringing Spring to others and ourselves. 

In Australia, we do that every time we vote, for we are fortunate that we do not have to do it with weapons. The vote we make is critical, so I say, vote to bring in Australia’s Spring, the new life we need. Wave off our long Winter, and those who brought it to us. Bring in new talent, new ideas, and new hope. 

How does Easter help voters?

In my opinion, in Australia the current government has given us a nine-year social and economic Winter. I see the most vulnerable left out in the cold, and also many others kicked out into the cold with them, judged worthless.

If we want a new Spring in Australia we have to make sure the political world turns towards the sun, and new life is breathed into our Parliament.  Change the government.

Give our people their Spring. 



Our best wishes go out to Moderator Leone2, who is in hospital with a broken hip. Her son Steve kindly informed The Pub. I must say to be thinking of other Pubsters at such a traumatic time is going beyond expectations. We will organise a Gold Echidna With Bar for Leone2 and her son Steve to thank them and recognise Leone2’s valued contribution to The Pub.

Puff, the Magic Dragon.