Piss off the unvaccinated: for the foreign press, Emmanuel Macron takes up some codes of extremes

Verbal slip-up or pure political calculation? After setting the National Assembly on fire on Tuesday, January 4, blocking the debates on the vaccine pass again,

TheEditor
TheEditor
09 January 2022 Sunday 00:00
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Piss off the unvaccinated: for the foreign press, Emmanuel Macron takes up some codes of extremes

Verbal slip-up or pure political calculation? After setting the National Assembly on fire on Tuesday, January 4, blocking the debates on the vaccine pass again, Emmanuel Macron's words in an interview with the readers of Le Parisien, saying he wanted to "piss off" the unvaccinated to the point of making them give in, igniting in turn the foreign press.

"The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so we're going to keep doing it, all the way to the end. That's the strategy," the French president said in the interview. He added:

"When my freedom threatens that of others, I become an irresponsible. An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen. 

Read also Article reserved for our Covid-19 subscribers: Emmanuel Macron's thoughtful offensive against the unvaccinated

For Il Tempo, these raw words, translated into Italian by a no less vulgar "Voglio farli inc ... tutti" ("The unvaccinated, I really want to break their ..."), are less a calculated entry into the campaign than the president's feverish response to the fifth wave of Covid-19: "The the war against Omicron is also putting a strain on politicians," the Italian conservative daily writes, estimating that Mr. Macron is "losing his cool " while France has recorded more than 270,000 cases of Covid-19 in twenty-four hours on Tuesday.

"Elitist-populist strategy"

This is not the analysis of the Swiss daily Le Temps, for whom Emmanuel Macron knows very well what he is doing: "The French president chooses the offensive and contributes to antagonizing the political climate," it reads. "With in the background his conviction that he is, anyway, hated by this part of the voters. (...) Basically, and as was seen in 2017, Macron assumes an elitist-populist strategy, which uses in language certain codes of extremes, relying on his record to present himself not as an agitator, but as a president who responds to attacks and wants to overcome dead ends, including that of non-vaccination. Emmanuel Macron remains faithful to his other slogan, “at the same time". "

Contradiction between these words considered "insulting" and the recent promises of appeasement

Several media raise the contradiction between these words considered "insulting" and the recent promises of appeasement on the part of the French head of state. "Funny speech for someone who, three weeks ago, was doing this mea culpa: 'There are words that can hurt and I think it's never good, it's even unacceptable, because respect is part of political life'," the Belgian newspaper L'Echo is surprised. "In mid-December, Emmanuel Macron acknowledged, in an interview broadcast by TF1 (...), having been able to hit people with his protrusions," also recalls Le Temps. At that time, "he sought to project more empathy," according to the Financial Times, according to which the quasi-candidate for re-election thus wants to show himself more "combative" in the eyes of the electorate.

Le Temps also notes that the current tenant of the Elysée Palace is "accustomed to scathing statements, at the risk of triggering a heated controversy". The Financial Times recalls these many remarks deemed "arrogant" and "contemptuous":

"Such as when he told an unemployed gardener that he could easily find a job "by crossing the street" or when he criticized the "crazy money" spent by the state on anti-poverty programs. "

The Echo analyzes this return of small sentences in the mouth of the president: "If this type of language could attract the favor of young voters, it may shock the older ones. " "This sentence will stick to Macron's skin like a plaster ... which his opponents will use well! ", slips a communication specialist interviewed by our Belgian colleagues.

"Very few are likely to vote for Macron"

"Even if the language is rude and can provoke an extreme or even violent reaction from anti-vaccines, the president's remarks seem to reflect a prudent political calculation," says Jon Henley, the Guardian's Paris correspondent, translating "piss off" as "to piss off", like most of his English-speaking colleagues. Because, he continues, "polls show that a large majority of French voters are increasingly frustrated by the pandemic and support the vaccine program as an effective way to end it - and among those who oppose it, very few are likely to vote for Macron".

Mr Macron's statement seems to be aimed at "further politicising the debate on vaccination, three months before the French presidential election", also judges Euronews, which sees in it a nod to Georges Pompidou, who, in 1966, while he was prime minister, said about the bureaucracy that it was time to "stop annoying the French". So it would not be an uncontrolled slip-up but a small sentence aimed at impressing minds, and breaking his elitist image.

Le Monde

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Updated: 09.01.2022 00:00
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