On 6th February, Marine Le Pen launched her campaign to become the next president of the French Republic. She is currently out in front in the polls, on course to win 27% of the vote in the first round with her closest rival Emanuel Macron currently polling (at best) 22%. This being said, it is still a difficult path to the Élysée Palace for Ms Le Pen, as the establishment parties are set to rally behind which ever candidate is against her in the second round (despite many of them being closer ideologically to Le Pen than said opposing candidate). The polling currently has Marcon winning 60-40% in a hypothetical second round head-to-head scenario, but as we saw in 2016, polling does not necessarily translate into electoral result.
The day prior to the official launch of her campaign, Marine Le Pen’s team published an 144 point programme which detailed the key policy areas that she will pursue upon taking office. These cover many issues from the European Union to national security and law and order – the president of France holds much more power than the largely ceremonial roles of the presidents of other European nations such as Germany and Austria.
France’s Membership of the European Union
Marine Le Pen’s presidential promises on the European Union fall into the context of a general theme of governmental restructuring. She wishes to amend Article 11 of the French constitution in order to give the president greater powers to consult the people directly – bypassing parliament – in the form of referendums and the like. This would enable her to carry out another major policy area which is to consult the people via a referendum on France’s continued membership of the European Union.
The restructuring of governance would also see the size of parliament reduced (there are currently a massive 925 elected officials in the French parliament) as part of a ‘drain the swamp-type’ reform of how the nation is governed. Le Pen prefers a more efficient system whereby the people’s voice is heard directly, as opposed to the current system that allows politicians to debate abstract concepts with very little accountability (much like here in the UK).
Law and Order
Unlike the establishment candidates who take a liberal approach to criminality, Marine Le Pen promises to restore law and order to France’s streets, something which is long overdue. 15,000 new law enforcement officers would be recruited to this end, whilst the police would have much greater backing than they currently enjoy and greater protection from false allegations of abuse. This will be welcomed by the police who are currently attempting to calm riots in Paris that stem from a false allegation of abuse by a young black criminal.
Marine Le Pen’s plans for law and order have the backing of the police, with a recent poll showing that over 50% of French police officers intend to vote for her come election season.
To further ease the strain caused by repeat offending, Le Pen will introduce tougher sentencing guidelines and increase the capacity of French prisons by 40,000, as to avoid criminals being let out early simply to free up space. Furthermore, a life sentence will really mean life under a Le Pen presidency, although she has rowed back on previous suggestions at reinstating the death penalty.
The media like to make a big deal of the French National Front’s opposition to immigration, as if its somehow racist to say that the whole world and his wife don’t in fact have a God given right to enter your country. Marine Le Pen’s immigration police is actually common sense considering the ridiculous numbers that have entered France since the second world war. She proposes to reduce net migration to 10,000, down from the 140,000 that it is currently running at.
Ms. Le Pen proposes to achieve this by hiring an extra 6,000 frontier police. Furthermore, she will bring in a series of measures that will make it more difficult for immigrants to secure French citizenship, as well as making it more difficult for third world migrants to bring their entire extended families to France as is currently happening today. As well as these measures to tackle regular immigration, asylum seekers will have to make their applications outside of France at consuls and embassies before they can enter the country.
Contrary to the conventional, libertarian centre-right, Marine Le Pen and the French National Front do not worship at the alter of unfettered free trade. Instead, Le Pen advocates state-led re-industrialisation based on protectionism and using a ‘France first’ policy to bring manufacturers back to the country. Her economic policies are essentially Keynesian, similar to those of President Trump or, going back a bit further, President Roosevelt. An idea she has proposed is to place a 35% import tariff on French car manufacturers who build vehicles outside of France, to encourage them to bring production home.
In other areas of the economy, a doctrine of national performance would be written into the constitution to enshrine certain policies to put the French people first. French farmers, for example, will be given preferential treatment in the context of obtaining public contracts. Furthermore, French companies will be made to hire French people first ahead of migrants. Her policies would drastically reduce unemployment and reduce trade disputes, of which there have been many under the current socialist president.
Her policies would be a big step away from the current establishment policy of unrestricted globalisation. Ms. Le Pen wishes to take France out of the European single currency and return to the French Franc.
Nationalism and Family Life
Marine Le Pen is above all else a nationalist, and to this end she would ensure that the protection of French cultural and historical heritage is enshrined in the constitution. An official French history will be reintroduced into the school curriculum so that every child grows up with a sense of understanding of their heritage and what it means to be French.
To ensure that sovereignty is restored to France in full, after leaving the European Union Le Pen will take France out of NATO so as not to be drawn into unnecessary foreign wars. In other military matters, national defence spending would be dramatically increased to make up for the shortfalls of leaving NATO, as well as a promise of 50,000 new recruits across the armed forces.
Family life is a key nationalist area of Marine Le Pen’s ideology. As president, she would introduce measures to raise the dwindling birthrate of native French folk which would reduce the need to rely on migrant labour and exempt France from The Great Replacement™. To this end, surrogacy and same-sex marriage will be outlawed (not retroactively) and financial assistance will be offered to low-income families who wish to have more children. Finally, the number of French students studying medicine will be increased as part of a drive to reduce the demand for foreign doctors.
The French presidential elections this year will not only have significant ramifications in France, but also across the rest of Europe. Many view this year as France’s last chance to make much needed change before the demographic problems they are facing become too great to rectify democratically. The streets of Paris – a once beautiful city – are awash with criminal gangs and violent migrants, along with the almost daily protests or riots from the anti-police, anti-French communist elements. Only Marine Le Pen can solve these problems, or rather, only Le Pen has the courage to do what is necessary to solve them.
For us here in England, these elections in France are particularly relevant. This is because France is a major player in the European Union and will have an important say on negotiations surrounding the UK’s exit from the bloc. Should a pro-European, establishment candidate get elected, the UK’s position becomes weaker, but should Marine Le Pen get elected, it is unlikely there will be an EU to negotiate with making all our lives a lot easier. In the event that France does not leave the bloc, she would still be a major influence and having a pro-Brexit president at the negotiating table would be a stroke of good fortune on our part.
Therefore, it is not merely a natural alliance but something of an obligation for those of us back Brexit in England to also show our support for Marine Le Pen. It is in Britain’s national interest to have Ms Le Pen in the Élysée Palace by the end of the summer, so to that end it is crucial that those of us who still believe in the self-determination of nation states get behind this courageous lady in her quest to become the next president of the French republic.