Macron is the handmaiden of fascism: and what that tells us about ‘centrism’

Owen Jones
5 min readJun 20, 2022

For a long time, the dominant media narrative about French politics — one particularly peddled by self-styled ‘centrist’ pundits — was that the left was possessed with so much irrational hatred for French President Emmanuel Macron, that they would either abstain or even vote en masse for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

This was offered up as yet more evidence for the moral bankruptcy of the left, as a case study in so-called ‘horseshoe theory’, which alleges that the two ‘extremes’ of politics ended up meeting.

As a piece written by formerly interesting liberal-left hardline eurosceptic turned hardcore aggro-centrist commentator Ian Dunt put it: “Abstention is surrender: How the French left ended up collaborating with Le Pen.”

The piece decried the left for being “absent from the fight”, that picking the lesser of two evils was “a calculation even a child could make”, that once upon a time “people of integrity and decency understood that you put aside your differences when it came to fighting fascism”, and that “infantilism and puritanism have turned whole sections of the French left into de-facto collaborators with fascism.”

Strong stuff indeed.

So what actually happened in the second round of the French parliamentary elections when Macron’s candidates were eliminated, and the choice was between the left — a coalition of the centre-left and left headed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon? *72%* of Macron’s voters simply abstained, another 12% voted for the far-right, and a mere 16% voted for the left.

These ‘centrist’ voters had a straightforward choice: do you want to stop fascism or not? But their antipathy to the left was so overwhelming that they chose, largely, to sit on their hands.

And neither did they act on their own accord, defying the moral leadership of the French ‘centrists’, because this moral leadership was absent. Indeed, Macron’s allies — including his prime minister — spent…



Owen Jones

Author of 'The Establishment' and 'Chavs', Socialist, Guardian columnist. Losing my Northern accent. My views etc...