Au Revoir, Monsieur Hollande

French President François Hollande wont seek a second term. His popularity was too low and unemployment in France has remained stubbornly fixed at 8 or 10 percent.He had stated that he wouldn’t stand again if employment didn’t move, and indeed we can say that this is the case. So at least he kept his word.

So lets take a look back at the mandate and try to see what Hollande did for France. Indeed, it is from this point of view that I will start: Many people shrug their sholders and say ‘What did he do’ to which my answer is “Well, what did YOU do?”

Holland started with some radical changes to society. He changed the law on gay marriage, and made it possible to get married if you are gay. This has proved unpopular with the traditional Catholic right, and very much appreciated with the liberal left, so 50/50. A dinner table topic of a few years ago, this now seems to be an established right and Hollande probably was right to do this early in the mandate to stop it being overturned when he left office.

Indeed, one could argue that the fruits of a politician’s labours are often seen only when they leave office and the plaudits taken by those who replace them, and I have a feeling that this could be the ultimate truth for Hollande , who has tried too hard to do too much and not given enough timeor been given enough time for the vast worksites to bed down.

Hollande has worked on reforming many many sectors: Education, Employment legislation, French legal and magistrial systems, the French regions, Health, international politics, the environment.. So much to do in so little time.

But at least he seemed to let his ministers get on with it.

And his idea of social democracy reminds us of Gerhard Shroder and his ultimate failures.

So Hollande wont run again and Socialism as a political force wanes. It probably isn’t possible to buy voters with promises of a better futurebut with cheaper taxes or whatever as France is broke. But public debt did fall from 7% in 2010 to 3% today.

However with over 90% dept to gdp rate, France has a dept on par with the UK, but above that of Germany

So Hollande is probably the last President of the 5th French Republic. If Fillion become President, France will become less social and much more religiously integrist, and indeed perhaps loose its famous laique status. A poorer future here.

The hope for France. Thanks Francois. Against a background of terror, indeed, Hollande gave us hope. Hope for climate change action, hope for action on social equality, hope for action against terror.

Yes, maybe he wasn’t a superb strong leader with buckets of charisma, and perhaps he wasted time doing things he didn’t need to at the beginning and the end… but don’t we all?

France will have an election in May to see who will be president and it is my personal wish that thos parties  and personalities on the extremes who seek to tempt people with a vision of quick fixes rather than solid foundations should fail.