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Emmanuel Macron's En Marche set to win majority in French parliament

The centrist outsider President has pulled off a second victory.

Emmanuel Macron's movement-turned-party En Marche and its allies are set to win a majority in the French parliamentary elections, according to polls. 

If Macron is to control the parliament, he and his allies must win 289 seats. Exit polls suggest his movement,  La République en Marche, and its ally the Democratic Movement will together take 355. 

Macron overturned the rules of French politics in May, when he beat the far-right Front National candidate Marine Le Pen, to become president. He did so as an outsider, who declared he was "neither left nor right", in a country long defined by its centre-right and centre-left establishment parties.

He rose to victory with the help of his movement, En Marche (Forward), and is a passionate advocate of the EU. He had never run for office before he launched his bid for presidency.

Ahead of the parliamentary elections, En Marche called for locals of all constituencies to apply and run for MP under their banner. It received hundreds of applications a day, Half of the candidates were political newcomers and half were women.

Although some pundits predicted Macron could win a landslide as large as 455 seats, his comfortable victory nevertheless means he has scope to carry out his reformist agenda, which includes controversial labour reforms. 

As Pauline Bock recently noted in The New Statesman, one of the lesser-told stories of En Marche's success has been the disintegration of the traditional centre-left, the Socialists.


Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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You may call me a monster – but I'm glad that girl's lemonade stall got shut down

What's wrong with hard-working public servants enforcing perfectly sensible regulations?

Who could fail to be moved by the widely shared tears of a five year old whose innocent lemonade stall was brutally shut down by evil bureaucrats? What sort of monster would not have their heartstrings tugged by the plaintive “I've done a bad thing” from a girl whose father tells us she “just wanted to put a smile on people's faces”?

Well me, actually.

There are half a million cases of food poisoning each year in the UK, and one of the reasons we have stringent controls on who can sell food and drink, especially in unsealed containers, is to try to cut those figures down. And street stalls in general are regulated because we have a system of taxation, rights and responsibilities in this country which underpins our functioning society. Regulation is a social and economic good.

It’s also pretty unfair to criticise the hard-working public servants who acted in this case for doing the job they are no doubt underpaid to do. For the council to say “we expect our enforcement officers to show common sense” as they cancelled the fine is all very well, but I’m willing to bet they are given precious little leeway in their training when it comes to who gets fined and who doesn’t. If the council is handing out apologies, it likely should be issuing one to its officers as well.

“But these are decent folk being persecuted by a nanny state,” I hear you cry. And I stand impervious, I’m afraid. Because I’ve heard that line a lot recently and it’s beginning to grate.

It’s the same argument used against speed cameras and parking fines. How often have you heard those caught out proclaim themselves as “law-abiding citizens” and bemoan the infringement of their freedom? I have news for you: if you break the speed limit, or park illegally, or indeed break health and safety or trading regulations, you are not a law-abiding citizen. You’re actually the one who’s in the wrong.

And rarely is ignorance an excuse. Speed limits and parking regulations are posted clearly. In the case of the now famous lemonade stand, the father in question is even quoted as saying “I thought that they would just tell us to pack up and go home.” So he knew he was breaking the rules. He just didn’t think the consequences should apply to him.

A culture of entitlement, and a belief that rules are for other people but not us, is a disease gripping middle Britain. It is demonstrated in many different ways, from the driver telling the cyclist that she has no right to be on the road because she doesn’t pay road tax (I know), to the father holding up his daughter’s tears to get out of a fine.

I know, I’m a monster. But hooray for the enforcers, I say.

Duncan Hothersall is the editor of Labour Hame