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Jacques Attali Headshot

Please, Do Not Vote in Favor of the National Front

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It is not my intention in any way here to try to convince all those with nostalgia for collaborationism, all the unrepentant anti-Semites, all those who say they are anti-Muslim, and all those who cannot bear to come across a black or yellow person in a hospital or maternity home, not to vote for the National Front (FN). To these people, let me just say that I feel sorry for them for not knowing the happiness of joy in discovering the differences in others, the pleasure of learning cultures other than their own. In fact, I am very pleased these people exist, because they remind those who would like to forget it that the National Front still is a party willingly accepting all the racist people and all the enemies of democracy.

It is my intention here, more modestly, to address those, who have voted before for the Right or the Left, known as "government" parties, and are now getting ready to vote in favour of the National Front, based on the four following arguments, repeated ad nauseam by leaders and candidates of that party:

1. "The socialists and the UMP, it is the same, and they failed." No, both these parties, (plus in the middle and the Far Left, who had never been in a situation of implementing their programs) do not propose the same policy to the French people at all. The on-going fiscal reforms and social reforms, for example, are sharply criticized by the UMP, and they are committed to challenging them.

2. "We've tried everything and it does not work." No, not all attempts were made, actually. In particular, many reforms which are absolutely vital still need to be carried out: those of regional authorities, of reduction in public expenditure, the value-added tax known as "social VAT," the reform of vocational education and work-linked training, a bold integration policy, a step towards a federal Europe; and so many other changes, that government parties do not dare to do. And that are not proposed by the National Front either.

3. "I am not a racist, but immigration is to blame for everything. It explains both insecurity and unemployment." However, this perspective forgets that the majority of those people they are talking about are of French nationality, sometimes for several generations. And that unless we return our immigration laws to the way they were under the Vichy regime, no-one can strip them of their nationality. Then, because many of those people work precisely at jobs that nobody else wants. Then also, because without massive immigration, it will quickly become impossible to finance pensions for the retired. Finally, because the real problem, that of religious fundamentalism would be exacerbated by a direct conflict with those who find a refuge within it, for lack of hope in secularism. So the problem is not one of immigration but insufficiency of means to lever resources for neighborhoods and social inclusion, in school and employment.

4. "The euro is to blame for everything. Without it, there would be no need for budgetary rigor and growth would return." It is surely the most absurd argument: If we were to return to the franc, all the bank accounts of every French, all capital savings accounts, would be immediately re-labelled with this currency, which would be devalued without delay against the euro. As savers watch the value of their deposits dwindle away, they would immediately request the opening of a euro account, to put all their assets back, which would have already lost some of their value. The French franc would then be devalued even more. The interest rate will skyrocket and there will no longer be a way to repay the debts. Therefore relinquishing the euro means without a doubt a massive decline in asset value for the French, even those with the most modest incomes, plunging the whole nation into a depression from which it will be unable to recover. On the contrary, more Europe is needed, to protect against the excesses of globalization.

You who, honestly, either out of desperation, anger or challenge, are getting ready to vote in favor of the National Front, think about these arguments before doing so. Please vote anything but the National Front. Even a blank vote. Save the nation from the shame of turning its back on all of those values that make it great.