Honeymoon is over but the seduction must continue

Simon Heffer, the renowned political commentator and historian, turns his gaze to French politics

Political honeymoons are short, and Emmanuel Macron’s was no exception. An August YouGov poll saw his approval rating slip from 66% at the election to 36%. What should have been his summer holiday was interrupted – a self-inflicted wound – by argument about the role his wife should have as première dame: most French seem to think it lacks true republican spirit for her to have any at all besides being the president’s hostess. How that squares with the feminist ideal remains to be seen.

So M Macron faces the rentrée needing to bolster his standing and to impress upon the French – especially the millions who did not vote for him – that he is fit for purpose. His pose as some sort of heir of Louis XIV, enlisting Versailles as his backdrop, played badly. The French want their president and his office to have dignity and ...

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