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François Mitterrand used to say that, in France, the left could only win a presidential or legislative election if it obtained at least 43% of the votes in the first round. Today, we are very far from this, since the total of the parties and groups competing for this space is around 25%.

Ideologically, the country seems to have clearly shifted to the right: more than 50% of the voters say they belong to the right, thus claiming to belong to a multiform movement (French historians, following René Rémond, identify at least three different rights: legitimist, Orleanist and Bonapartist; which today would be called reactionary, liberal and populist).

The ideology that is flourishing on the right today is a mixture of these three components: liberal in the economic field, reactionary in the moral field, and populist in the approach to politics. Many right-wing intellectuals today, and not only in France, make this their doctrinal corpus, glorifying the freedom of enterprise, suspicious of any excess in the demands of minorities, and intransigent about the means to ensure order and security for citizens.

However, if we look at the real demand of the people, and at the way it is translated into the practice of the different governments in the world, we see something quite different: when it comes to obtaining some benefits from the state, people are no longer on the right, they are clearly on the left:

Never, especially in France, has the demand for assistance and protection been so great; never have the States spent so much to ensure the survival of the poorest, the protection of the unemployed, of artists, of restaurant owners, of workers, of bosses, of companies; and the protection of all against this pandemic. The galloping public debt is a measure of this.

Never has the economy been more managerial and less liberal: everywhere, and in particular in France, the State has an increasing hold on the economy, by pushing companies to produce what is most necessary (masks, vaccines, medicines, food, and all the other productions of the life economy sectors) and by pushing for the reconversion of the other sectors, stricken by the current crisis.

Never has the importance of the long term and of planning been more necessary and better accepted, to fight against climate change, the loss of biodiversity, or any other issue in the interest of future generations; and to reorient the production of companies and the training of those who will have to work in them.

Never has the demand for democracy been greater: many people are no longer satisfied with a delegation of powers every four or five years to a parliament or a president; they want to be permanently associated with decision-making, in a thousand and one ways, in the State, the municipality and the company.

Never have the demands of minorities, be they cultural, ethnic, historical, social or sexual, been more demanding and better heard; right up to the American extremes of wokism and their echoes in other countries.

Never has the demand for a concrete globalism been greater, since it is obvious that it is only on this scale that the fight against pandemics, climate protection or tax harmonisation can be dealt with.

The most emblematic example of this domination of left-wing practices comes from the American administration; and it can be found practically everywhere else, where it sometimes translates into strange alliances, such as the one that exists in certain northern European countries and that could come to power next September in Germany, between ecologists and the security-conscious right, the “Black Green” alliance.

In France, if the left does not succeed in transforming its practical pre-eminence into an electoral perspective, some would say that it is because the parties that represent it are paralysed by their stupidity, their narcissism, and their boutique spirit; and because they are, as François Mitterrand would have said, “tragically bad”. Or even because they behave like right-wing parties, pure power machines, ready to pursue any policy that would ensure their victory.

One might naively hope that both the right and the left would soon return to more moral behaviour: act as you think, think as you act.  If this is achieved, the ideology of altruism and cooperation will oppose that of selfishness and competition. With practices in line with the rhetoric.

If this does not happen, we can expect the worst: a far-right ideology with a left-wing practice. A century ago, at a time when, like today, America was launching its New Deal, this led Europe to the worst. It should be time for a European New Deal.