I was very pleased Emmanuel Macron was elected President of the French Republic. I would have happily voted for him in both rounds – as a well rounded, liberal internationalist.
Nevertheless, we should not understate how close France came to another political disaster.
In the first round, anything could have happened. A populist from the Far Left (look to Venezuela for how that works out) and a Thatcherite came within a whisker of being Le Pen’s rival in the final round rather than Macron.
In the second round, faced with an obviously competent centrist candidate, a far right nationalist (someone worse than Farage, who has never been directly elected to anything) received over a third of votes cast.
We may express relief that the outcome in France was what it was. But the narrowness of the new President’s passage in the first round and the shock of 11 million people choosing Le Pen (a lot more than 15 years ago) should not be ignored.
Democracy and civilisation remain under attack from populists and extremists. Be in no doubt about that.