From a strategic pov, the Macron/Eduard Philippe proposals are curious. After all, the points system seems both so blurry and so technocratic that its real meaning – the gradual abolition of state support for the retirement of most of the working class, and the debauching of public service (conservative governments make their case against government by the slice and dice method – they underfund state services, the services go to crap, then they say, justly, look at how crappy government is) could be achieved, and then they could creep towards the goal of raising the retirement age, and voila. But no: they decided to front and center what Philippe, comically, called “working just a little bit longer”. Hence, the crossing of the “red line” – the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64 – and the turn of the moderate union, the CFDT – against Macronery. According to Le Monde, the house journal of Macronery, this has “shook up” Macron’s party – all of them, apparently, are pacing around their 800 thousand euro apartments in the 5th and 6th arrondissements going, we thought we had an understanding with the servants!
Historically, when a President of France is going to take a big dump on the population, he sorta disappears in Olympian fog, and his Prime Minister appears as the big target. This happened when Chirac tried this shit with Juppe, and it is happening now with Philippe. I suppose what is in it for the pm is that he gets a shot, latter on, as the candidate for president. But in fact, it is rarely a good position to be in. Juppe never recovered from the disaster of 1995. Philippe is now the face of “work just a little bit longer” – a phrase that will hang around his neck, I think, for the resgt of his career. Now that the Macronists have created an undreamt of unity – among the unions – in opposition to their quest to make France like Thatcher’s UK, what happens next is very uncertain. If the miners union under Thatcher had been able to leverage support from other unions and bring on a true general strike, who knows if Thatcherism would have recovered from the blow? But the Thatcherites were smart, and stuck to a divide and conquer policy.
The Macronists aren’t that smart.