It was reported this week that the new French President, Emmanuel Macron, spent 26,000 Euros on makeup during his first three months in office. This is concrete evidence of a political culture in the West which values the superficial – and that is why the modern phenomenon of “Fake News” is so un-surprising. People see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and read what they want to read. The Macron Delusion preys on exactly this.
A country lacking in leadership and suffering economic and social problems turned to an articulate and purposeful man who said what the majority of people wanted to hear. In that sense, Macron is not that different from Napoleon – or Hitler. Of course, Macron’s record in government is still to be proven; but doubt has already been expressed as to why exactly France elected him. That much is clear from his approval ratings which have plummeted ever since he took office. Now he is even more unpopular than his woefully incompetent predecessor, Francois Hollande.
Fortunately, as of yet, Macron’s centrism seems more in line with that of JFK or Tony Blair than Hitler or Mussolini. But while their brand of politics is far less harmful, it is not harmless: their dynamism, youth and attractiveness in a business seemingly predestined for ugly people is also a fatal flaw. They are supreme political campaigners – martialling charm, charisma and clean-shaven optimism unlike any other. But their crucial mistake is to think that they can govern in poetry, when, in fact, it requires prose.
Inevitably, this proves immensely frustrating for voters. People grow tired of playboys who offer the world; hard-hitting bruisers talk less and do more. It was not a coincidence that Kennedy was replaced by Lyndon Johnson or Blair by Gordon Brown. For France’s sake, they should turn to less manicured hands next time too. For if Macron can win a landslide with a makeup bill that large, so can someone more sinister.