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The world according to Éric Zemmour He is more interested in being himself than president

Zemmour launched his presidential bid on YouTube, even though he hates modernity. Credit: YouTube

Zemmour launched his presidential bid on YouTube, even though he hates modernity. Credit: YouTube


December 1, 2021   6 mins

Eric Zemmour has one undeniable quality. He is true to himself. He detests 2021. He wants to go forward to the past — frequently a past of his own imagination.

The far-Right French pundit and essayist finally launched his presidential election campaign yesterday with a bizarre YouTube video which lasted for ten minutes and 11 seconds.

His chosen channel of communication was pure 2021. His method of delivery was that of the early to mid-20th century. He sat at a polished desk with a 1930s’ radio microphone in front of him and leather-bound books behind him. He read from a script in a funereal voice to the sound of Beethoven’s seventh symphony. He wore an undertaker’s outfit of black suit, white shirt and black tie. In ten minutes, he looked into the camera, briefly, on only three occasions.

Zemmour was playing the role, one assumes, of General Charles de Gaulle making his first Free France radio address from London on 18 June 1940. He, like De Gaulle, was appealing to France to resist the invader. He actually came over (except in his lugubrious appearance) more like Colin Firth playing an emotionally-strangled George VI in the movie, “The King’s Speech”.

The Zemmour declaration was intended as an eloquent paean to a glorious but disappearing France: the France “of Voltaire” of “Johnny Hallyday; “of Charles de Gaulle and Charles Aznavour”; of Joan of Arc and Barbara (an excellent French-jewish pop singer who died in 1997). France, the true France, he said to be effaced by immigration, by Islam and by the European Union.

“This country which you search for desperately everywhere, for which your children are nostalgic without ever having known… that country is in the process of disappearing,” he said. “You have not left your country but it as if your country had left you. You feel like foreigners in your own country. You are interior exiles.”

The video cut frequently to scenes of random or political violence; muslims praying in the street; white footballers taking the knee against racism; young, white women with big curly hair being obliterated by veils or headscarves.

“It is no longer a question of reforming France but of saving it,” Zemmour said. “That is why I have decided to become a candidate in the presidential election. Vive la République and above all Vive la France.”

What on earth to make of such a performance? It was as if Zemmour was rejecting not just the politics of the last 80 years but every advance in political communication since the dawn of the television age (while posting straight onto the internet).

It was a performative performance. The medium was the message. He was saying, in effect: “You and I detest the normal talking-heads on TV (even though I made my reputation as one). You and I detest all the standard, glib paraphernalia and tropes of 21st century politics. I will bring you back to a purer, more sincere age, when France was France and politicians sat behind microphones on polished desks; when we had Edith Piaf not hip-hop and the France football team was all-white.”

A month ago, that might have appeared like a courageous stroke — a confident rejection of the advice of political strategists and focus-group obsessed pollsters. It might have seemed like a brilliant innovation by a journalist-turned TV pundit-turned politician who had grasped a public hunger for something bold and new, both in ideas and presentation.

A month ago — even three weeks ago — Zemmour was riding high in the opinion polls. He had come from 0% in August to 18-19% in voting intentions for the first round of the presidential election on 10 April next year. He was second in most polls, behind President Emmanuel Macron (on 24-25%) but ahead of his far right rival Marine Le Pen and well-ahead of the rest of the field of standard politicians of the centre-Right and Left. He achieved all of that without even declaring that he was definitely going to run.

In the past three weeks, the wheels have started to come off the Zemmour bandwagon. Seven opinion polls in succession, by different organisations, have shown his support melting. The most significant of all those polls — the seventh — was published yesterday by Harris Interactive, just before Zemmour released his “1940s-style” YouTube video. Harris was the polling organisation which first picked up Zemmour’s surge in September and which placed him at 19% on 8 November. Yesterday it gave him only 13% and fourth place — a six point fall in three weeks.

In those circumstances yesterday’s retro-political performance — even though recorded two weeks ago — will seem to many like an act of destructive stubbornness or even an act of desperation. A politician staring at his script rather than at the camera might have appeared bold and innovative a month ago. Yesterday it appeared uncertain and furtive.

The declaration had to be brought forward a few days because of Zemmour’s poll collapse. It was originally to have been released just before a big rally for 5,000 people at the Zenith concert hall in northern Paris on Sunday. It also emerged yesterday that Zemmour had not sought permission to use clips from classic French movies seen in the video — a piece of amateurism that could cost himself and his campaign dearly.

Several high-profile supporters and backers have distanced themselves from Zemmour in the last ten days: the multi-millionaire, Charles Gave; the ultra-Catholic campaigner, Philippe de Villiers; and the independent hard-right mayor of Béziers, Robert Ménard.

They did so because he had ignored their advice to broaden his campaign, to speak of the everyday concerns of French people — from purchasing power to Covid — not just focus on Islam and migration. He made a couple of fleeting references to such concerns yesterday but offered no clues on how — in the very unlikely event that he becomes President next year — he would actually govern France.

His fall in the polls follows a series of mis-steps and outlandish statements — but they should not for the most part be seen as mistakes. They accurately reflect who Zemmour is and what he is trying to do.

He used the anniversary of the Bataclan terrorist slaughter on 15 November 2015 to stand outside the concert hall where most of the murders occurred and criticise the actions of then President, François Hollande (breaking a taboo on using an anniversary of this kind for political campaigning). When insulted by a passer-by who raised her digit to home, in Marseille last weekend, he returned the gesture and was heard to mumble “and very deep too”. The following day it was revealed by Closer magazine that Zemmour’s campaign manager and girlfriend, Sarah Knafo, was pregnant. He is 63; she is 28.

Zemmour’s outlandish statements go far beyond his core argument that white France faces “swamping” and “colonisation” by migration and Islam. Those claims may be factually exaggerated but they represent a genuine fear shared by many. A recent opinion poll found that 67% of French people, including some on the Left, believe there is some truth in the theory of the “Great Replacement” espoused by Zemmour: that there is a deliberate attempt by “the elites” to substitute brown and black people for white ones.

But Zemmour goes much further. He is also attempting — without any obvious electoral advantage or any sense of response to genuine public concern — to rewrite French history to fit a long-standing, ultra-Right wing, nationalist narrative. Captain Dreyfus, the Jewish officer who was framed a spy by ultra-nationalists in the French army in the 1890s, may not have been as innocent as reputable historians now believe, Zemmour said. The collaborationist Vichy regime in 1940-44 was kind to French Jews, said Zemmour (who is himself Jewish). There is not a scrap of evidence for either assertion.

The allied liberation of France in June 1944 was partly an attempted American colonisation that was defeated only by the vigilance of De Gaulle, Zemmour said last month. At least he did not go to the US military cemetery above Omaha Beach to make the claim. He was speaking in Rouen, at the other end of Normandy.

Why make such claims? What on Earth do they have to do with France’s problems — real or exaggerated — in 2021? Why campaign on history at all? They are part of Zemmour’s attempt, already seen in three of his best-selling books, to change the memory tape of recent French history.

Zemmour rejects what he sees as an anti-French, defeatist official narrative created by the Left and by the cosmopolitan forces of Europeanism, globalism and anti-nationalism. France, according to the Zemmourian world-view, is not a wealthy, medium-sized country which was liberated by the allies in 1944. It is a great civilisation — even the greatest of all civilisations — which has been deliberately frustrated and cast down by, inter alia, les Anglo Saxons. The “great replacement” is therefore just the latest attempt by global elites to conspire against France and Frenchness.

These historical-cultural obsessions suffused yesterday’s 10 minutes and 11 seconds oration, even though it was intercut with more tangible facts and anxieties. Zemmour is, in that sense, a sincere man — unusually so for a politician maybe. No calculating politician would have made yesterday’s bizarre declaration in that form. Zemmour did so because it reflects accurately what he is and the way that he thinks.

Will it also prove to be good electoral politics? I doubt it.

It will certainly appeal to his core supporters, who are mostly concentrated in sections of the young and old within the well-off bourgeoisie. Surveys suggest that the Zemmour constituency straddles the better-off part of the ultra-nationalist or far right vote, a chunk of the conservative or Gaullist vote and some nationalist voters who have been lost to the electoral system for years. Unlike, say Marine Le Pen, Zemmour does not particularly appeal to the “suffering” France of white blue-collar workers and forgotten rural or outer-suburban towns.

To reverse his decline in the polls, he needs to expand his base support beyond the ultra-Catholic and ultra-nationalist bourgeoisie. Nothing in yesterday’s address appeared likely to so. Nothing appeared particularly calculated to do so.

Zemmour, at the end of the day, seems to be more interested in being Zemmour than in being President.

 

John Lichfield was Paris correspondent of The Independent for 20 years. Half-English and half-Belgian, he was born in Stoke-on-Trent and lives in Normandy.

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Janko M
Janko M
2 years ago

Yeah, as other comments point out, even I as a liberal centrist found the video to be a carefully crafted message one which should not be mocked nor dismissed. I watched it twice. If these messages had been taken seriously, there would have been no Eric Zemmour. I am always stunned by the lack of self-awareness of his critics.

It leads directly to the question of where liberalism went wrong, and as much as individual rights and rule of law have been important internally, the free movement of people has been naive. I am an immigrant myself who naturalised and I take my civic duties seriously, fundamentally integration is the responsibility of the newcomers. The alternative is the endless dilution of community standards and expectations, the consequences of which Mr Zemmour now addresses.

I don’t agree with Mr Zemmour’s pandering of “replacement theory”, nor the solutions he proposes, but pluralism itself warrants that he ought to be debated in good faith and with actual arguments, not empty derision.

Last edited 2 years ago by Janko M
Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Janko M

Nice comment!

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Janko M

“It leads directly to the question of where liberalism went wrong, and as much as individual rights and rule of law have been important internally, the free movement of people has been naive.”
Paradoxically, the seeds of liberalism’s destruction are sown by liberalism itself. It is counterintuitive, but a liberal society requires prohibitions and therefore certain limits on freedoms in order to survive. Our liberal societies went wrong when we forgot that, and the belief took hold that multiculturalism would all function marvellously without any basic rules of the game being set out and enforced.
“I am an immigrant myself who naturalised and I take my civic duties seriously, fundamentally integration is the responsibility of the newcomers. The alternative is the endless dilution of community standards and expectations, the consequences of which Mr Zemmour now addresses.”
Could not agree more. I am also an immigrant who naturalised in my current country of residence and I truly believe this experience strengthens one’s sense of civic duty and one’s own responsibility and obligation to integrate, i.e. accept and adapt to what I call “the rules of the game” but what you refer to as “community standards and expectations”. They refer to the same thing. It is not at all a contradiction to be an immigrant and be critical of other immigrants or want to restrict immigration.

Janko M
Janko M
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Thank you for that eloquent reply, particularly given we’re on the internet!

Concerning liberalism’s seeds of destruction, this is the question which does keep me up at night. I think as long as citizens are ready to uphold, enforce and defend the liberal rights and freedoms can it continue, but currently citizens who I would have expected to uphold liberalism are being consumed by wokeness and other fashionable madness. Multiculturalism in fact abandons the enforcement of liberal expectations such as freedom of religion, speech and civic duty. In my country, civic responsibility is still quite strong, but I have seen it eroded these past few years, something that worries me immensely.

The great irony is that integration works best when there are clear expectations, i.e. a strong cultural code – the more the code is diluted, the less integration there is. Therefore, the left basically prevents integration, rather than encourage it by insisting on uncontrolled migration AND cultural dissolution.

Last edited 2 years ago by Janko M
Emre Emre
ES
Emre Emre
2 years ago
Reply to  Janko M

“Multiculturalism in fact abandons the enforcement of liberal expectations such as freedom of religion, speech and civic duty.”

Indeed. I really wish everyone would stop substituting “left” (especially cultural left) with “liberal”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Emre Emre
Drahcir Nevarc
RC
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Janko M

I too am an immigrant, and completely agree. I have never understood why as an immigrant I am expected to be in favour of open borders. Why should I prioritise the interests of other guests rather than the interests of my hosts?

Charles Mimoun
CM
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago

It’s a very good news to know that there are still politicians interested to be themselves. And to be honest I think that every one spot it … and it could be a strong argument in his favour.
Time will tell.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Mimoun

Well said. The article complains, in the usual, angry, “progressive” way, that Zemmour hates 2021. Well, don’t we all? Just because of the date, are we supposed to like invasion, resettlement, crime, double standards, terrorism, ghettoes and assault? I daresay the majority of Russians hated 1921 and looked back ten years as to halcyon days. But for the left, if it’s now, it’s good – that is, until somebody starts repairing their damage.

Charles Mimoun
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I’m used to say that we live in a totalitarian intellectual world in which we are compelled to love our time or at least to prefer it than the past.
The most absurd thing is that all the democrats that admire the French Revolution forgets that it was a reactionary revolution that took its source in the Ancient Roman Republic. To be accurate, as Regis Debray say, all the revolutions are propelled be a historical inspiration.
A progressivist aberration among so many….

Last edited 2 years ago by Charles Mimoun
Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Mimoun

I can see the point and respect your view. But I feel that the comments so far have a very large helping of ‘wishful thinking’. UnHerdians make up (I guess) 0.001% of the population and must have a high average age. Don’t forget the new greenish alliance in Germany, the idea of extending the voting age to 16, the number of Algerians in France. Not everybody today is worshipping the past.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Why is objecting to the present “worshipping the past”? It is surely more an attempt to improve the likely future. And are you so sure that all those Algerians in France are so loyal to Algerian ways that they are happy to see them reimposed by latecomers? And isn’t the sheer number of Algerians in France one of the reasons that such a reimposition might be taking place? It’s all very well offering tactical defeatism to the right; but we all know it is no more than a ruse to assist the left.

Last edited 2 years ago by Simon Denis
JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Yes. Worshipping the past is actually much saner than chasing after a utopian future, I think. And, in my experience, many of the people most dedicated to republican values have an immigrant background. This is only logical because they are more acutely aware of the stakes.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Utopian is the word – in other words empty; no more than a self-serving hypocrisy. The goods proposed by the left are bloated phantoms – “multiculturalism”, “Utopia”, “equality”. The authentic goods of mankind are those offered by the right – home, homeland and freedom.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

And almost any barbarity can be justified in the pursuit of utopia. There is something very scary in this kind of progressive zeal. It reminds me of the jihadists, frankly.

Charles Mimoun
CM
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The etymology of utopia shows the “emptiness” of this word : it means “out of nowhere”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Charles Mimoun
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Chasing a utopian future is stupid. Worshipping the past causes a reaction which is equal and opposite to the original action.

Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I am like you in that I object to the present but my only point of comparison is the past. I can’t compare something – with any certainty- to the future.

The present is made up of thousands of ideas about being nice to minorities and being nice to each other in every way. It is a sort of continuation of religion without the superhuman stories, maybe a humanist approach. People, especially young people are feeling their way through this and making all kinds of mistakes. I think I can see a lot of these mistakes but I am not important, just me.

So, we have a choice. We can spit out a vituperative Left in every sentence. We are then happy and can relate to each other after another good day of putting the world right. In doing this, maybe, we actually help this Left by forming a target: “If we listen to all those old people we won’t be able to clear away the mess they’ve made. They’ve already destroyed the world once.”

Or, as I advocate, we can remove the Left vs Right labels and argue everything from the point of logic in a calm way, thereby not providing a target to shoot down.

Charles Mimoun
CM
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I am 21 years old 🙂

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Mimoun

And therefore more anxious to save France and Europe from the horrors correctly identified by M. Zemmour, than are the clapped out panjandrums of the establishment.

Last edited 2 years ago by Simon Denis
Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Mimoun

Congratulations. But you are just one person. How does this help with a majority in an election?

Charles Mimoun
CM
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

If you see pictures of Zemmour’s team you will realize how many young peoples support him. I think that the new cleavage is between reactionaries and (neo-)ecologists, and that, in all the layers of society no matter the age, the gender or the origins.

R S Foster
R S Foster
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

…the new “greenish” alliance in Germany is an incoherent (and pretty desperate) cobbling together of people and parties with practically nothing in common, bar an overwhelming desire to maintain “politics as usual” in the face of growing but as yet disparate insurgent forces. Not unlike the situation here in the UK up to the Brexit Vote. The question being if it’s 1982, when Nigel Farage fell out with the Conservatives over Major’s support for Maastricht…or 2015 when Cameron was boxed into offering a referendum that he hoped to avoid because he expected to keep his ramshackle coalition with Clegg in business…
…not one I’ll try to answer, because I don’t know enough about election cycles in big EU states…although my sense is the French system can deliver very big shocks…

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Yes, 100% agree. Maybe the shocks come from the separation of power at the top. We are used to a benign Head of State so everything is very predictable.

Maybe there will be more shocks with King Charles in the future.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago

The “bizarre video” is long but it was watched nearly two million times in less than 24h and liked more than 120.000 times. From this bizarre article, my conclusion is that Mr Lichfield is constitutionally incapable of understanding Éric Zemmour or his appeal.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I watched it twice and I don’t even speak French!

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Some tears were shed watching this video. It was very powerful.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I just found an English subtitled version (link is in the top comment on YouTube). Extraordinary stuff! I can see why it would make a Frenchman cry. Beautiful, accurate and brave. I hope he succeeds. Vive la France!

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

My Portuguese colleague told me that she cried too.

Rob Britton
RB
Rob Britton
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

The video may have been long but it was a damned sight shorter than this rambling, spiteful, vitriolic article.

George Wells
GW
George Wells
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Read the comments on the video, they are more informative than this journalist’s personal attacks on Zemmour.
This is indeed a bizarre article.

Charles Mimoun
CM
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago
Reply to  George Wells

An article in which the border between admiration and sincere detestation blur.

George Wells
GW
George Wells
2 years ago
Reply to  George Wells

Vive la France!

Rob Britton
RB
Rob Britton
2 years ago

Eric Zemmour is trying to turn back the progressive tide presently engulfing France, like other countries in the West. John Litchfield is clearly willing him to fail, as one might expect from a progressive loving, EU loving, Macron loving, ex-Independent hack.

Peter Francis
PF
Peter Francis
2 years ago

The reason that I subscribe to Unherd because it is supposed to present us with viewpoints that are not to be found in the mainstream (i.e. liberal) media. The author is entitled to promote any view that he chooses (obviously), but if the author’s view coincides with mainstream then I expect some alternative approach to promoting that view. This article fails totally. It is a mainstream conclusion backed by mainstream reasoning that could be found in any mainstream media.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Maybe Lichfield is UnHerd’s own kind of control sample, like in a scientific experiment. You have to keep it so you can compare all other content against the benchmark. Or you can just see the name “Lichfield” and walk on by – which is what I do a lot of the time.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

So Lichfield is the equivalent of being given the placebo in a clinical trial. That’s interesting, but I think that you are being a little too charitable.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Francis
Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

It was a performative performance.”
What a sentence. What performance is not “performative”? Isn’t the essence of a “performance” that it is “performative”?

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
2 years ago

Oh how they laughed when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the American Presidency.

Tom Watson
TW
Tom Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

My thoughts too. “Some nationalist voters who have been lost to the electoral system for years” can be a surprisingly powerful force.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

The subtext of this article is that Litchfield is bricking it. Angry with the world around him and clinging to antiquated 20th century globalist shibboleths. His fantasy, {{anywheres}} France is so degraded that it looks like it will fall over, and that France will yield to a cultural Brexit. Wonderful.

Last edited 2 years ago by David McDowell
Joy Bailey
Joy Bailey
2 years ago

I’ve just watched and understood most of it. I thought it was very powerful and I wish we had some politicians here who would stand up and start defending the UK.

Bruno Lucy
BL
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago

Dear Mr Lichfield,
When was the last time you watched television in France ?…….although you live there.
I did…..last night and was amazed by the number of very young people cheering him at his campaign headquarters.
Have a look at the polls…….Marine Le Pen is right behind him, or just a little bit ahead depending on which poll you look at……and we are not talking a lame 6 % Mrs Hidalgo is “enjoying” but a whopping 16 %. Together with Le Pen, they make over 30 % of the votes……..of the people…..because he is addressing issues no politicians has wanted to address in over 30 years.
Yes…..these young people want France to look like France again and not like what General de Gaulle said of his village Colombey the deux Églises……I don’t want Colombey to become Colombey le deux Mosquées.
I am sick and tired of what this country has become and trust me, I do not give a hoot about grandeur…..I just want to live in a country where simply being French, speaking French, thinking French and accepting our common historical roots, is not viewed as a capital sin.
I do not want to see like in Cologne, our towns riddled with mosques and having to endure the call for prayer.
The old fashion elite and the media are so much at a loss that they gratify him with a barrage of insults and simply dismiss him as non relevant.
But…..the fact is that in doing so…..the problems they have ignored for all that time won’t magically go away.
Will I vote for him ? No……it is worse than that. I will not vote at all.
Mr Zemmour has the balls to address issues that have been ignored too long and we do not have an elephant in the room…….but a huge mammoth.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Bravo, Bruno. Very well said. The Litchfields of this world are no more than the dated, blinkered Blimps of left-liberalism, incapable of realising either the irrelevance of their prescriptions or the responsibility of the same for the appalling situation we face.

Aldo Maccione
AM
Aldo Maccione
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Mr Lichtfield sounds like a typical democratic enthusiast, cheering for inclusivity and new ideas, as long as they are his owns.
One of the dangers of democracy is that people might disagree with you…

Gordon Black
GB
Gordon Black
2 years ago

” … bizarre You Tube video?” I would use the Spanish adjective ‘bizarro‘ meaning courageous, bold, brave, heroic.

Patrick Fox
Patrick Fox
2 years ago

Well another empty masterpiece rag of the infatuated woke,petit bourgeois,anywhere,none French Parisian Macron illuminati Lichfield who believes he can understand the non Parisian French psyche because he owns a cosy place in rural Normandy and drives an electric car which is too expensive for the people living around him to afford. Gauche caviar” as we say in France.

His pieces are getting even more boringly repetitive as time goes by and I believe he will never get it The Independent should rehire him so he can concentrate on it and stop polluting Hunherd.

So if according to Lichfield “The TV pundit is more interested in being himself than president”.

Then I would say that “ the has been “The Independent” pundit is more interested in listening to himself writing than being a true journalist ”.

I would go as far as borrowing from Brendan Bean: Lichfield is like a lighthouse in the middle of a bog ,illuminating (when it comes to us understanding what pseudo intellectual wokes are) but f…..ing useless.

Sarah H
SH
Sarah H
2 years ago

Could someone tell John Lichfield he isn’t writing for the (in its later incarnation) Guardian wannabe Independent. His output is a series of Guardianista fact trashing Aunt Sally tirades with little contact with reality.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

Large parts of the woke leftist media will do anything, including lie, and misrepresent to halt ” perceived” as opposed to the real progress of Zemmour: their aim and mission is to actively discourage support for him with the implication that his popularity is waning.

Britain desperately needs a Zemmour to tell the massive silent majority, paralysed by fear of the cancel culture and racism/global warming Gestapo, that they CAN speak out in what is left of our free society, now ever more a mirror of a cross between Ceacescu’s Romania and the old DDR

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
2 years ago

I stopped reading the article at this “..when we had Edith Piaf not hip-hop and the France football team was all-white.”
This comment replicates the mistakes of the commenariat since Trump, attacking the messenger and remaining silent on the message. The populous listen to the message. Throwing-in the unfounded suggestion that “whiteness” was a theme (it’s dog whistle) is guaranteed to stop people listening; well at least I did.
As long as the commentariat continue to use their old approach, the population will continue to return the same election results – Brexit, Trump. Now it is France’ turn. Pass the popcorn.

Andrzej Wasniewski
AW
Andrzej Wasniewski
2 years ago

Looks to me like another “progressive” dismissing very legitimate concerns of French people. Great. Remember 2016? That’s exactly how Trump was elected.
By the way was it The “Independent” telling us few weeks ago that Kyle Rittenhouse shot three black people?

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrzej Wasniewski
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

Thre author is not from Stoke-on-Trent you know

Patrick Fox
Patrick Fox
2 years ago

Obviously he does not know that himself reading his short bio !!! Although he wrote a piece on being from there sometime ago in 2019 probably wanted to show his humble background and say to people “ See I know” ( Ref in Hunherd is “Stoke, the city that Britain forgot” by the ineffable J Lichfield, an eye opener on the guy as he could not even understand why the people from his birth place voted for Brexit !!!! I would have if living there in such conditions.

I guess it must be difficult to be attached to a place when you are half brit but hate Britain, half Belgium but would never go near it to live, married to an Irish and certainly not French as he seems to want to be.But he is definitely a Parisian woke by adoption. A sort French people outside Paris despise so in Normandy he plays his Brit in France bit victim of Brexit so people feel sorry for him . He even bragged on getting a hamper from the maire of his village because of his age I hope he had the decency to give it to the charity les “Restos du Coeur” for the needy as he does not really need this himself.

In other words a perfect anywhere who cannot understand and thus demonises the attachment of people to their country and culture and calls them right wing populists with whom you cannot discuss because they are not on an intellectual par with him from his infatuated stand point.

Last edited 2 years ago by Patrick Fox
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Patrick Fox

“Obviously he does not know that himself reading his short bio !!”
That is why I feel the need to remind him.
It is really galling to have someone purport to give a native’s perspective about the place you come from when you can immediately see they do not really know the place and they caricature the people because the real ones would not fit the narrative

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

The word “right” appears six times in this article. In five of the six instances it forms part of a conjunction like “far right”, “hard right” or “ultra right”. I’m sure there’s no significance to this.

Joe Holder
JH
Joe Holder
2 years ago

<malcolm mcdowell>Not the 7th! Not the 7th!</malcolm mcdowell>

Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

This reminds me of the time I worked in Italy for six months. In the mornings groups of older men used to meet in the cafes and talk in very loud voices. Before I understood Italian I used to ask my colleagues what they were talking about.

The answer was always the same. “They are old men talking about the old world, a time when things were always better than they are now, atime when men were men and women cooked the meals.”

It doesn’t matter about your politics because Zemmour looks so old that he couldn’t possibly understand the complexity of life today. Hence we have President Macron who has the right image to appeal to people. Politics doesn’t even come into it.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I honestly don’t think Macron appeals to people. I think most look at him and think “urgh” but know that he’s the least worst option.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yep. We had that conversation last week when you called him ‘smarmy’ and I countered with ‘yucky’. But everything I see today suggests that ‘s’ and ‘y’ are in vogue. Everybody has to be nice. People I speak to can think of all kinds of reasons not to vote for somebody who is ‘too’ something – too old, too young, too inexperienced, too angry, too aggressive, etc. And what is left behind but ‘s’ and ‘y’?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You keep trying this tack – “It’s just nostalgia! Get with it, oldies!” – but you have already seen that one of your antagonists is just twenty-one. This deranged assumption that because it’s now it must be good, coupled with the equally ludicrous axiom that anything “left” is “progressive” means a flat refusal to understand either Zemmour’s message, or his appeal or the appalling conditions which he identifies.

Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

OK, I won’t bother again. Does a handful of people spitting at The Left Monster actually do anything at all? No. Is it constructive? No. Does it help to guide young people today? No. It is just a total of nothing.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Glad to hear you won’t bother. Your contributions amount to nothing but defeatism in any case. What is the use, in a forum designed to discuss ideas, of constantly sniping that they are “irrelevant”? Fine, so we’re a minority – says you; so were the followers of Gallileo, at first. The point is the pursuit of truth, not popularity. Forget that and you end by doing the work of your enemies, like Boris Johnson. So go on with your pragmatic concessions and easy going collapses – they please nobody and get us nowhere – especially not in the realm of disinterested thought.

Last edited 2 years ago by Simon Denis
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Aiming for Truth is a big thing. Are you sure you can achieve by a single discussion? The Truth is there if we can kill The Left Monster is a little limited in the sense of having ‘ideas’.
Kill The Left Monster! Go back to the time before it came to life!

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

This reply represents no more than sticking your fingers in your ears, repeating what you said before and screaming “Can’t hear you!” Try to take on board new developments in the dialogue before bothering to reply again. In any case, you said you had “given up”. Why don’t you? As for your puerile sophistry that one cannot “attain truth” in a single discussion – well, as readers will know, there is a distinction between attaining and aiming. I repeat, on this site we aim for truth, regardless of popularity. If you can’t take this on board; if your response is mindless taunting, hadn’t you better do as you say and withdraw?

Last edited 2 years ago by Simon Denis
Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Please bother; don’t let this site become another bubble, we all need to hear different views.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

Ok. Appreciated.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There are 2 people Macron appeals to…..himself…..and Brigitte.
Macron is a free loafer just like a few presidents before him. The real issues do not interest him and these real issues are in the province made of ugly roundabouts and industrial zones where people work for a pittance.
Zemmour understands very well what these people want and it looks like you know very little about France to be able to understand what is going on right now.
Macron will be re-elected but he will not be able to sweep all the issues Zemmour is addressing under the carpet….unless he wants another round of yellow vests.
Just to be clear….I would hate to see a frenchxit……. but to see like this week end a young man being stabbed in a Paris shopping center for defending his girl friend is just plain and simple …..enough. What saved his life was that he was a cop and was carrying his service gun identifying himself as a police officer. Had he been John Doe….he would be dead. Instead of that he has multiple deep wounds to the chest, lungs and kidney. Do I need to tell you to what demographic his assailant belonged to ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruno Lucy
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

I’m not sure he appeals all that much to Brigitte, to be quite frank – nor she to him…

Peter Allen
PA
Peter Allen
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

It’s no surprise to see Rightist Brits gagging for Zemmour to become president of France, because he scratches so many of their political itches. But they should be careful what they wish for. I have no time for Brit-bashing EU federalist Macron, but at least he has (mostly) honoured the Le Touquet treaty and tried to restrict the migrant hordes on the Pas de Calais from setting sail for Blighty on their rubber boats. But the fact is that Zemmour hates <i>Les Anglais</i> even more than Macron. He has repudiated that treaty more than once and one of his first acts would be to abrogate it.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Allen

Indeed, just as Vox coming to power in Spain would lead to a crisis over Gibraltar. In both countries there is an obsession with the Anglo-Saxons, a constant supperating wound of an inferiority complex about the last two or three centuries. Read ABC in Spain (an old Francoist magazine) and you’ll see a ton of articles about the Anglo-Saxons aren’t really militarially invincible and diatribes against the black legend – a centuries long conspiracy of English speaking intellectuals to denigrate Spain. Many ultra right Spaniards resent how Portugal was never unified into Spain permanently so as to rebuild the old Visigoth kingdom because of ‘English gold’ not to mention the obsession with Gibraltar. Or how the USA – in Latin countries the UK and US are seen as part of the same cultural plot – humiliated them in 1898 and drove them out of Cuba, the Phillipines and Puerto Rico. Naturally the independence of the American colonies was part of Britain’s plot, taking advantage of the chaos left by the Napoleonic intrusion into the Iberian peninsula – and blocking a response by the concert of Europe to intervene afterwards – and of course (re-)bagging the Falklands while they were at it. Despite of course Spain’s support for the nascent USA in the War of Independence which was fine.

I remember reading a speech by Mussolini against Churchill who suggested 50 generations was too short to remove the barbarian culture of ‘painted Britons’ and turn them civilized beyond a superficial patina of culture. This I fear gets to the heart of how many in the Latin world see the Anglosphere – resentful of how their superior culture that dominated Europe for 2 millenia until the 17th century could have been overtaken by pale skinned barbarians and assigning it to dark and malevolent forces.

Ironically many in the Spanish and Italian side would regard France as a fake Latin country – one which tries to wear the garb of their culture without the underlying social values, their language a front for Gaullish and Frankish coldness and vulgarity against which they protest too loudly.

I would also add here Zammour’s historical vision seems far more grounded in Bonapartism than that of the Ancien Regime, which is also discordant with Tory royalism in the UK.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit