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French socialist victory is a disaster for Europe, but typical of our times

Both contestants were appalling, but France now signals the path to oblivion

Francois Hollande -- populist in chief
The Commentator
On 6 May 2012 19:40

It was always a case of one disastrous candidate or another. Sarkozy’s greatest achievement was to have spent much of his utterly wasted presidency under the shadow of Silvio Berlusconi. Why? Because otherwise, Sarkozy’s claim to be the Clown of Europe could not have been disputed.

But don’t look now, here’s the real thing: not a fake socialist (forget right-left definitions in France, it’s only about minor deviations from the socialistic centre-ground) but someone who pledges the following: cutting not raising the retirement age; raising not cutting taxes; increasing not reducing the size of the state sector; raising not cutting debt.
But the ramifications are so much bigger. If France has decided to set itself even faster and further on the path to disaster, then, in the end, that’s their affair. 

Although we have no love for the euro, newly elected President Francois Hollande has also suggested he will work against the deficit reducing austerity policies that have been the only ideas holding the single currency from total collapse.

As we listened to his victory speech, it was like listening to some naive, populistic young socialist from the 1980s. But his voters love him for it, and that is the tragedy, not just of France, but of modern Europe as a whole.
The entitlement state – the bribe made by every Left-populist politician, which means  “vote for me and I give you cash“ – is so deeply entrenched that it is hard to see how we can get out of the hole, whichever European country we live in.
Francois Hollande and his supporters may celebrate today. But, and this maybe putting it mildly, as Pyrrhus is reputed to have said after his victory over the Romans: One more such victory, and we’re lost. 

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