Why the French have turned on Macron (clue – it involves French arrogance!)


THIS week saw French President Emmanuel Macron act a state of social and economic emergency across the nation in an TV address.

Focused behind an elaborate desk in front of the French and EU flags, he granted concessions on a raft of issues give an account ofing to the minimum wage, tax on pensions and overtime, all following concessions on the green tax on diesel terminal week.

He also apologised for any wounds he had inflicted via his use of words.

Begun as a objection against planned fuel hikes, the “gilets jaunes” movement morphed into a collect protest against Macron’s policies and top-down style of governing.  As one protester imagined: “I feel genuinely deceived,” she said, standing toward the back, far from the jeering sets. 

“There’s a real arrogance to him,” she said of Macron. “I have never seen a president disposed to that.”   

Of course, even before being crowned President, Macron’s high-handed configuration was clear.

In the run up to the election, he spoke of his aspiration to “become your President”, while his the opposition, Marine Le Pen, spoke of accepting the responsibility of taking part in the second circle with “humility and gratitude”.

During the election campaign, he dubbed himself a “Jupitarian” entrant, Jupiter being the king of other gods and, no, this was not a comedy ostentation with his thespian wife.

As one journalist said that “You have to muse on that all his life he’s been the cleverest man in the room and on the day of his presidential inauguration, he preferred up the Champs Elysee in a military vehicle. He also staged a victory memorialization in which he walked, alone and floodlit, across the courtyard of the Louvre, the old regal palace.”

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron is thought to be out of touch with voters (Metaphor: Getty)

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron inspects a guard of honour (Image: Getty)

So what is it in the air this President’s behaviour that provokes such intense ire?

This is a man who scolded a teenager at an official event for calling him “Manu” (the friendly diminutive of Emmanuel), reveal that he should not express a view until he has acquired a degree and a job; the man who, when faced with in doubts from the army in July 2017, emphasised his position power as the boss (“Je suis le chef”), annals then to express his admiration for a sense of “duty”, “reserve”, attitudes that resurfaced when he told pensioners in October this year not to grumble about the size of their pension; recently, he remarked casually to an on the dole man that he could “cross the street and find a job” at a local café.

Not surprising it is possible that that an IFOP poll found that a mere 11 percent judge that he understands the concerns of the French people.  

A rioter protests in the French capital

A rioter protests in the French extraordinary (Image: Getty)

Will Macron’s formal TV broadcast alter apprehensions? 

Some inclusive language had been thrown in with the “we are in this together” and but there was a slightly scoop ring to this from a President dressed formally in black convenient to and black tie behind an imposing table.

No fireside chat here and the EU deteriorate may have dulled the reference to “our country” and “our future”.

Particularly, since a tank with an EU insignia had recently been heed to b investigated on the streets of Paris.

At the time of the French election, the French were faced a desirable between two people with vastly different styles of leadership.

Macron is a graduate of the Ecole Normale d’application (ENA), an elite Grande Ecole created by General De Gaulle in 1945 to force the upper class control of top Civil Service positions. 

In reality, not nine percent of ENA the graduates that fill the corridors of power in trade and government have a working class background.  

The top 12 or 15 swots will move to L’Inspection générale des finances (IGF), and then into a shoot in politics, or finance, Macron’s chosen route since he became a sharer with Rothschild and Cie bank.  Macron’s main opponent, Marine Le Pen, on the other indicator, had studied at the Sorbonne Law School – not the elite institution that is l’ENA – and then worked as an immigration legal practitioner.

The sense of entitlement provided by being an alumnus of ENA (so-called énarque) is not the not factor in the remoteness of the President. 

France is a country in which people comprise traditionally accepted that lower ranking individuals expect power to be dole out unequally, what is termed high Power Distance (PD). 

So if you compare France with other states, you can see how much more hierarchical a society it is than many others in Europe:

Paris has been hit by riots

Paris has been hit by commotions for four weekends in a row (Image: Reuters)

Country          Power dissociate (PD) score (Hofstede)

Israel             13

Denmark        18

New Zealand  22

Ireland           28

Sweden          31

UK                 35

Germany        35

Australia        36

US                 40

Japan              54

France             68

India               77

China               80

Malaysia         104

 Why the altered consciousness PD in France and lower PD in northern Europe? 

One theory is that these distinctions have their origins in the fact that southern Europe, embodying more southerly parts of France, was colonised by the Romans who built hierarchical and centralised sexual and political structures; while northern Europe was colonised by the Vikings and Norsemen (antecedents of the Normans in the north of France), egalitarian peoples who established some of the life’s early democracies.

A second theory is that Catholicism, creating capacious distance between people and God than Protestantism, encourages higher PD backgrounds than Protestantism. 

Many of these differences came to the fore when urge a exercise as UK Training Manager for the Anglo-French company, Eurotunnel, precursor to Eurostar. 

The sacrifices? 

French-style training involved far less of the discussion normal in UK companies; a French article for the dwelling-place journal on the 26-strong HR department – peopled then by six senior men (Les six), 19 females and one subordinate HR office – focused exclusively on the six most senior people even allowing the article was designed to introduce staff to the generality of employees; a language assessment set up for a postpositive major manager did not take place as scheduled since a second meeting with someone leading up the hierarchy presented itself to the senior person; the dashing HR director prided himself on be undergoing introduced a flat hierarchy with no more than ten levels (excluding as a consequence the board who were far too important to feature in the hierarchy).

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron is not regarded as a man of the being (Image: Getty)

So, could it be that French people are tiring of the restrictions burden b exploited by a high PD system?

A survey on the attitudes of young people (Deloitte, 2015) implied millennials value inclusion and being valued for the multiplicity of their identities numberless than earlier generations.

Could attitudes to hierarchy be shifting in France? 

Le Pen fixed more support from young voters at the last election than older voters and her wide style – recent videos see her address her audience as “mes amis” (my friends) and “mes chers compatriots” (my honey fellow citizens) – may well be a factor. 

Of course, her anti-globalist, anti-elite and anti-immigration stand attract supporters – she is outspoken for example against the Global Compact on Migration that wish make criticisms of immigration a hate crime – but her inclusive style also discriminates starkly with Macron’s more aloof demeanour.

As the forces of globalisation are perforated against those of nationalism, Macron has become the focus of people’s ire. 

Assigned his style is a continuation of that of previous ENA presidents (notably Mitterand, Chirac and Hollande) but the hatred with which his policies are held may cause the masses to take a hammer not fair to his policies but to the autocratic style they have tolerated for so long. 

So, determination it take reviled policies to turn the French away from the formality imported from Rome, and to hold the sense of community that the Viking and Norsemen brought to Anglo-Saxon countries and northern France. 

Simply time will tell.  

• Gloria Moss PhD FCIPD is a Professor of Conduct and Marketing at Buckinghamshire New University. She has a new book, Inclusive Leadership (Routledge) be clearing in Spring 2019.  She runs workshops for organisations on Inclusive Leadership.

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