Simon Heffer: Macron reignites ‘esprit de resistance’

Renowned political commentator, historian and Connexion columnist Simon Heffer comments on how Macron has invoked the greatness of de Gaulle to reinvent ‘esprit de resistance’. Pictured: Charles de Gaulle on BBC Londres.
Renowned political commentator, historian and Connexion columnist Simon Heffer comments on how Macron has invoked the greatness of de Gaulle to reinvent ‘esprit de resistance’. Pictured: Charles de Gaulle on BBC Londres.

Renowned political commentator, historian and Connexion columnist Simon Heffer comments on how Macron has invoked the greatness of de Gaulle to reinvent ‘esprit de resistance’.

Simon Heffer turns his gaze to French politics. Simon Heffer is also a columnist for the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs.

A complex political history

When a British politician wants to distract attention from his failings, making an overt comparison with Winston Churchill is a pretty safe bet. When, at around the end of the Mitterrand years, I started to follow French politics closely, I quickly realised how Charles de Gaulle performed the same function.

Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy felt no restraint in evoking the General when France had to buck up; but in their time it never had to buck up quite so much as now, after the coronavirus crisis. In Britain, we have a prime minister who models himself on Churchill – he even wrote what purports to be a biography of him – and in May, President Macron paid explicit homage to the General. De Gaulle’s political history is more complex than the myth ...

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