Article in English about Melenchon

As you may or may not have heard, Greece is now on the road to a Weimar republic situation with a Nazi party on the rise. France has some way to go yet, but Hollande could get us there quickest. This could affect even those of us who are above French politics. So here, as food for thought, is an article - in English no less - about an interesting alternative, France's answer to Lula and Chavez:

Let's hope the right choice is made this time. Otherwise, the situation may be past saving in 5 years time.

capitalism is at its worst point ever, there is now more money going into private than state hands. that undermines the ability of legislators to make real reforms and the few global big players are playing two games: small employee base at high salaries where human are there to run/maintain the machines who do the 'clever' stuff and then the massive 'factory floors' using cheap labour to mass produce high demand commodities. Of course, there are then the fuel sectors that are a different picture altogether but are highly important but governments have all but entirely lost the plot there. We are gradually moving toward anarchy in reality because when nothing functions any longer even money will cease to be useful. Mélenchon's idea is actually about as good as any but it needs a damned good social strategy for the rest of the population who will inevitably pay the bill and with that increased unemployment is part of the price.

Many economies are out of balance Brian. There needs to be cuts AND growth to fix the problem. Borrowing alone can't fix it and It would also be nice to know exactly how the increased borrowings are going to generate growth. Even if reform was a prerequisite to borrowing who would agree the scope and monitor the implementation and progress? As you've pointed out, politicians are unlikely to embrace deep reform. So, we'll end up with more borrowing and no reform. This needs a more fundamental rethink than throwing money at it. So M. Mélenchon's 1% ECB loans to countries isn't a solution. It might be part of the solution but I haven't seen rest of the strategy anywhere yet?

But it did bail them out, the morality is a lost cause and pragmatism counts for more. Cheap money is a myth, but in relative terms it would almost certainly be made conditional on reforms. The worst off would suffer most for the preservation of the wealth of those who have the resources to pay a bigger share which is the point philanthropists like buffet and gates are making...

Peter, Surely the objective wasn't to bail out shareholders but to prevent a banking collapse? Regardless of the morality of it though, what interests me is would cheap money work without social welfare and public sector reform?

Good argument Peter.

John, Melechon is actually arguing that the ECB be allowed to lend to states at the same rate that it used to provide money to bail out the criminal speculative investment banks, ie 1%. Why should the public money be used to bail out the shareholders of RBS, Santader and the like at below the market rate but not used to attempt to kick start the European economy?

Just how generous is social welfare? Most studies of clients of welfare are hardly in clover. Welfare is screaming out for reform for the good of its recipients. Who has the corage to take that on? France is in as much of a mess as everybody else.

Public service is a difficult one. Yes, too big and largely doing pointless tasks that no longer need human intervention. How does any state reduce? Lay people off and increase unemployment? Unless there is an economic upturn and people are 're-skilled' then what can any state do with them? France has some 40% of its workforce either employed by or closely tied to the state. Political hara kiri for its 'reformer'...

Many European countries, including France, are bogged down due to the cost of overly generous social welfare and an inflated and inefficient public service. The growth in these areas has to a large extent been funded by cheap borrowings. Over the years it was much easier for politicians to borrow than to address the unpopular structural reforms required for the long-term. Such reforms would have negatively impacted their re-election chances so nothing was done (except in Germany) and now we’re stuffed. This debt has brought Ireland (with a double whammy of the criminal Irish banks), Portugal and Greece to their knees. Debt is also clobbering Italy and Spain. So, if I understand correctly, Mélenchon’s solution to this disaster is for the ECB to print more money and lend it even more cheaply to countries so that they can increase their indebtedness even more. I don’t think that’s Keynsian, I think it’s populist lunacy. I’m all for investigating spending our way out of this mess but the money must be spent on the right things, things that generate growth and not just shore up the status quo. For it to work, cheap ECB money would have to be matched with real and deep structural reforms in social welfare and public service and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Sure, but expressing my political preferences knowing that. Mélenchon is just what you call him - a Keynsian, hardly radical politic. Lutte O are not even standing here, so wishful thinking although locally there is a lot of obvious EELV support that I would perhaps consider if I had a cross to put in a box. I agree too on the comparative of PS to New Labour which in its way scares me because there we go again an entire social class betrayed because of the ambitions of colourless politicians whose only objective is power. Did the Blair phenomenon teach the rest of the world nothing at all?

Er Brian, Nathalie Arthaud is on 0.5 %, where as Melechon is on 17%- which hardly makes Lutte O a mass people's party

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the closest thing to a modern social democrat, but even he is not a 'traditional' socialist. Chavez is not a socialist, what he has made of Venezuela is a mockery of any socialist principle. Luiz Inácio da Silva who we know as Lula is to the left of centre but hardly a hard line socialist. Comparing Mélenchon is scaremongering, which seems rather a strange thing to do considering the vast majority of us do not have voting rights. In real terms the distance between Hollande and Sarkozy is hardly worth measuring, however of the two it is the little Nicolas who has a Napoléon complex and sees himself as above all other politicians in Europe by far. However, his dream of making France the European USA type economy is in tatters, what he is doing to 'ordinary' French people is shocking and thus, as this article that I read in the Guardian a few days ago says, it is Mélenchon who is offering some kind of hope. He is very highly unlikely to get enough votes to be in a run-off in May but perhaps his party will give support and exert enough influence to improve the lot of fiscally stretched French voters. As for Hollande taking France where Greece has arrived, what on earth is the basis for imagining that. If Hollande is president then nothing much will happen of any great note. Never be taken in by parties like PS or Labour who had roots in socialist notions several generations ago.

Just for the record, if I had a vote I'd be putting my cross down for Nathalie Arthaud's lot, they are a couple of cat's whiskers closer to being a real people's party. Philippe Poutou and Eva Joly have strong principals but little support, so...

Actually if you look at the key targets of the Hollande manifesto is is barely radical, yes there are a few noises about higher taxes for the hyper wealthy, but the essence of his campaign is more New Labour than pre-war DKP. Melechon on the other hand is much more radical, both his environmental agenda and his essentially Keynesian economics would have a major impact on the country, he has effectively grabbed the Green Vote, cut the legs off the Trotskyist parties and made major in-roads into the Left of the PS. But, sadly, he has no chance of getting into the second round, despite this mornings polls putting him at 17% he would still need at least 26-27% to beat Sarko or Hollande and he just can't rise that fast in the last few days of the campaign short of a complete meltdown of one of the top two runners.

What will be interesting to see is how the FdG does in the legislatives, whether the PS decide to dump their agreement not to run candidates against 60 EELV candidates, and whether the PS if they win can govern alone or will they need the votes of the FdG? That part is all up in the air.