7 reasons why the French election is better than #GE2017 will ever be

If you've been living under a rock for the past 9 months, or perhaps deactivated your Twitter account in a last ditch sanity-saving effort, you might not have heard: the French are having an election.

Although Britain now has its own election, there's one reason we should temporarily turn our attention to our croissant-munching cousins across the channel: the threat of a Madame Le Pen government and the subsequent collapse of Europe as we know it.

So book your political intrigue a ticket on the Eurostar, strap yourself in and brace yourself for 7 reasons why the French election is better than our one could ever hope to be.

1. The French election is getting more attention than ever

A recent CNN article says it all: "A presidential election in France is not usually the sort of thing that I would tell you to pay attention to...But, even before the latest terror attack in the country earlier this week, the race to be the next leader of France was one with implications not only for the US but for the rest of the world."

After the unexpected phenomena of Brexit and Trumpageddon, there's only one name on everybody's lips: Marine Le Pen.

The fear that this rabble-rousing, right-wing populist could win -  which, it must be admitted, is a possibility - is responsible for all the clamour.

Multiple experts grimly predict that the fate of Europe rests in the voting slips of our frog-munching friends.

2. Snapchat filters

By far and away, the most striking picture of the campaign has to be Madame Frexit herself posing with the dog filter on Snapchat.

Last week, as part of the build up to the election, Snapchat ran a series of 5 minute FAQ videos with 4 of the main candidates. When one young person asked Le Pen a question in the voice-changing guise of a rabbit many a #basicbitch will be familiar with, she responded with a choice that reflected her canine ferocity.

3. Far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon is courting tech-savvy voter too

Imagine the situation: you're a hard-up presidential hopeful and you get one of your intern lackeys to book a ralley. However, when you get to the day, you find out they have only gone and double booked you.

Solution? Pick the most important location and apologise to the other?

Not if you're Jean-Luc Melenchon, who made the first hologram appearance at a rally in French - if not world - political history, just so he could be in both Paris and Lyon at the same time.

See it for yourself: it's somehow extraordinarily cool and lame simultaneously.

4. We have Keith Vaz and MP expenses scandals, the French have questionable romances to fill the daily rags

Turns out apparent teacher's pet and potentially France's youngest ever president, Emmanuel Macron, fulfilled every randy schoolboy's fantasy and pulled his teacher. Married since 2007, Brigitte Trogneux definitely falls into the cougar category, being a full 25 years older than Macron.

At the age of 17, the love-struck student apparently told her: "Whatever you do, I will marry you." The best part is that the 39 year-old hopeful statesman has now got a whopping 7 step-grandchildren.

5. Enough about the main candidates, meet: Jean Lassalle - the unrecognised hero of the elections

Described by John Oliver as 'almost offensively French', he's descended from a family of shepherds. Despite only recently gaining national notoriety as an anti-establishment iconoclast, he’s has been mayor of Lourdios-Ichère, a small settlement in the South West, for a staggering 40 years.

That's not all: the village has a population of only 162 people. How insane is that?

He's a living legend. He once went on hunger strike for 39 days to protest a change that would affect jobs in his village. However, his finest hour came recently in a clip of him out talking to voters in the streets aired on Zap Télé. In this short clip he is shown repeatedly saying to voters: "Il vaut mieux voter pour moi, tous les autres vont vous baiser."  "You'd do better to vote for me because all the others are going to fuck you over."

A true hero in these harrowing times.

6. Enough silliness: France's two round voting system helps prevent extreme candidates from gaining office

Back in 2002, Jacques Chirac came face-to-face with Marine's holocaust-denying and nasty little toad of a father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the second round. Luckily, Le Pen Snr was defeated thanks to the Front Républicain - the tactical cooperation of everyone other than FN supporters.

As it looks highly probable that Marine Le Pen will pass into the second round this year, we have to hope for a similar response from the 2017 electorate.

7. Finally, as opposed to #GE2017, the French people will actually get a say in who they pick as their president

Yes, I am pretty bitter about the bleak prospect of voting again in June. The problem with living in a Brexit stronghold, is that all I'm effectively left with is a futile anti-Brexit vote for the Lib Dems, or an overly-hopeful vote for Labour.

Aside from a handful of swing seats where the Lib Dems have a serious opportunity of winning, if you live in a Tory/Brexit safe seat, your vote will effectively count for nothing.

Over in France, thanks to the election of the president by popular vote, every single person's voice is heard and matters.


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About the author

Despite sharing the company of Rimbaud, Voltaire and co. for the third year in a row, Alec's real passion lies in writing. When the French degree permits it, he can be found scribbling away for a variety of publications, including The Spectator's Coffee House blog, Spiked-Online and - oh, how could he forget? - Disclaimer Mag!

A self-professed bon vivant, Alec is currently busy sunning himself in the South of France, whilst gleefully perusing the bountiful array of vin on offer. He's also been known to dabble in unscrupulous cheese-pairing. 

Follow Alec on Twitter.

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