Like many people in France today, I’m very angry:

against the President of the Republic, despite the friendship that binds us, for not having dissolved the previous National Assembly as quickly as he dissolved this one, which would undoubtedly have given him a real majority for five years; for not having been able to convince people of the importance of the European project, which he rightly holds so dear; for having led, through an uncertain policy, to his current rout; for having taken the suicidal decision to dissolve this National Assembly, which was voting on laws, at the worst possible time; for imposing himself in the electoral campaign that is just beginning, without understanding that the voters will vote all the more for the candidates of the Rassemblement National that he, the unpopular President, will impose himself in the front line; for still believing that “me or chaos” is a sufficient response to the anger of a people; and finally, for taking the risk of abandoning all power to the extreme right a fortnight before the Olympic Games, which were supposed to give the world such a beautiful image of France. And yet, I so hope I’m wrong, and that his crazy gamble will turn out to be a winner.

I’m also angry:

Against those on the cowardly right who rally to their extremes, just to save a few seats and hope for a few ministries.

Against the so-called majority, which, while spending lavishly, has failed to implement the bold, socially just reforms the country so badly needs, or to build alliances with those who might want to move forward with it on many issues.

Against those socialists who, to save their seats, are now allying themselves with pro-Russian anti-Semites.

Against the cynics of the far left and far right, who know perfectly well that their programs are absurd and unworkable, and that they have no intention of implementing them, prevented as they are, they say, by a cohabitation from which they hope to benefit, and by a European Union that serves as a screen for their hypocrisy.

Against myself too, no doubt. For a thousand reasons, which I’ll talk about later.

That said, we have to live with it. And act. At a time when war is on our doorstep, when Europe is threatened with being swamped by Asian products manufactured in violation of all human rights, when climate disruption is accelerating, when the anger of the French people (particularly those whose polling stations close at 6 p.m.) is at its height; a legitimate anger, in the face of insecurity, the inadequacy of the means made available for the integration of new French citizens, the collapse of public services, particularly in health and education, and the lack of affordable housing.

The French are also angered by the fact that their country holds the world record for taxes and public spending and, at the same time, is the only (yes, the only) major European Union country to accumulate a budget deficit, a primary budget deficit, a trade deficit and a balance of payments deficit! All figures which make it impossible to massively increase taxes or public spending (as all the candidates will promise), without rapidly driving the country into financial bankruptcy.

For it is to this anger of France and the French people that candidates in the forthcoming elections should respond. Not with empty slogans and empty promises. With serious, realistic, costed programs, compatible with the country’s international commitments and the reality of its resources.

And since the French, legitimately angry, seem to have the illusion of thinking that those who haven’t governed until now would do better than those who have governed for decades, there are only a few days left to explain that the far right in power in France would be Putin in Kiev, and the IMF in Paris; that, for lack of budgetary resources, it won’t be able to respond to the crying needs for public services, decent and affordable housing, security and purchasing power. To convince people that, if she implements her program, she will in practice drive France out of the European Union, damage the country’s image in the eyes of tourists, foreign investors and those who buy products emblematic of the country’s image. Finally, it will ruin the country and lead, as is so often the case, to an alternation with the extreme left. And if she decides not to implement it, as she is beginning to whisper, it would be absurd to vote for her.

The time has also come, and above all, to draw up and implement a radical program of national unity; to finally do what should have been done so long ago: give absolute priority to local public services, i.e. hospitals, schools, police stations, gendarmeries, in forgotten regions and neighborhoods. Restore social cohesion and secularism, two magnificent French characteristics. Take care of the most vulnerable, and in particular protect children. Put the country into a war economy. Work more. Restore balance to public finances. Redirect the economy towards the sectors of the life economy. Rethink urban planning and the commons. Raise taxes on the richest. Reduce taxes on the middle classes. Give much greater powers to local authorities, by streamlining them.

Let those who are not resigned to the decline of this great and promising country work on it. For now. And a little later. Anathemas are not the way to avoid the worst. It’s by showing what we risk, and what we can do.

Image: Pexels.