Speaking of France, Paris often stands out in the collective iconography. In reality, Paris represents the light of a magnificent progress, multifaceted by the thousand reflections of one height become gradually decadent. Between burning suburbs and diluted identities, true France is elsewhere, nothing to say... With the exception of six urban areas that exceed one million, most of the 67 million French people live in cities medium and small similar to our cities of the province.
The territorial structure of the State is not by chance continue to be made by the Departments, an expression of a territorial reality not fractional by local identities superimposed over the centuries.
France is the nation par excellence, where every attempt at reform aimed at decentralization leaves the time it finds. Suffice it to say that the regions, the first administrative level of the country, were reorganized by 2016 with mergers that drastically reduced the number (from 18 to 13). In the face of regionalisms and federalisms, central power still maintains the capacity to manage every modality according to convenience devolution.
France, moreover, as a unitary identity, has existed since the time of the Merovingians. The idea of a State structured on a people and a territory has never failed over the centuries. From Francis I to the Sun King, from Napoleon to Charles de Gaulle: the dynasties alternate and the crowns fall, but that hexagonal block of green color that dominates in Western Europe has remained more or less the same.
The data are clear: almost a quarter of the European Union's agricultural production comes from France, which remains the leading country in the continental primary sector; more than half of French agricultural entrepreneurs have less than 50 years.
Far from the globalization of big cities and the rap-Maghrebi anger of the outskirts, there is a profound country that never appears in conventional media. A country, which without prejudice to sporadic identities, remains essentially a homogeneous block: apart from the claims of Brittany, of the rediviva Occitania and Alsace, good more than anything else to enhance tourism in the area, the only form of true independence remains isolated in Corsica.
It is noted by traveling along one Departmental whatever: like it or not, the country that honors soldier Chauvin every day with more than half of Renault, Peugeot or Citroen cars in circulation, lives motu proprio. Or at least it has been for centuries.
What happens now?
There is a large, discreet France, far from the limelight that has begun to make noise. The Paris of the last part of the century did not sufficiently understand it, continuing to remove citizens from traditional politics.
In the history of the country, the detachment from the elites in power has often had dramatic and even more often contradictory outcomes, even in short spans of time. In the last 20 years, however, the trend has been one-sided: the scandals, the bad customs and the political choices of a ruling class now an expression only of itself, have diverted millions of men and women from the institutions. If in many other countries the figure may not surprise, in France it is certainly a social alarm bell of enormous importance.
The lack of charismatic figures of weight, always important in the topical moments of the transalpine history, has given the coup de grace: in essence, the country where the French live today is not the ideal place in which they feel represented.
The question is inevitable: does the high fever of the EU have anything to do with it?
For better or worse the last two "francesissimi" presidents, Mitterand and Chirac, although from opposite points of view, had given continuity to a vague sense of distinction to which the citoyen average French has always held a lot. The proverbial "stink under the nose" has been nothing more for centuries than the certainty of one's French identity, for all the others it can often be reduced to an annoying sense of superiority. History has provided a not inconsiderable support to all this, it is undeniable.
What is left of all this?
When in '67 De Gaulle, despite the large debt to the other side of the Atlantic, suspended France from NATO, he did nothing but give a voice to a middle class very sensitive to the idea of French uniqueness. The same cannot be said for Sarkozy who, while attempting to ferry the country into an increasingly less popular Euroglobal system, did the exact opposite, bringing Paris back into the Alliance. Maybe it has nothing to do with it, but it is worth pointing out that while today Charles De Gaulle gives his name to roads, bridges, buildings, hospitals, schools (and to the only French aircraft carrier in service ...), it is difficult to imagine the same for Sarkozy between fifty years.
Today there is a double gap between the institutional parties and the heart of the country: on the one hand the detachment of the multiethnic urban suburbs alien by now from every conceivable form of integration; on the other, the progressive drift of the deep country, which refuses to be confused with a European identity that has fallen from above and not very representative.
The 2017 presidential elections therefore look at a disquieting scenario. Whoever wins among the institutional Europeanist parties, the consensus will be enormous. Under the cover of a mainstream media network now beyond the grotesque line and a pure majority electoral system, we will continue to talk about Europe of values and horizons possible without a sustainable or at least credible project.
France today is the fifth economic power in the world. Each year, a thousand dollars are spent on defense for each inhabitant (data SIPRI), remaining abundantly above the 2% of GDP (almost twice Italy). As the third nuclear power of the globe, he wonders what tomorrow will reserve for it: the inclined plane on which lies, besides the germaneurocrazia, will it also bring its definitive dissolution?
Among the candidates most likely to win the result of an inevitable election incorrection is precisely Macron, one of the proponents of the idea that France, geopolitical pole for more than 1000 years, should be considered as a space and no longer as a nation.
France is among the founding countries of the Union but also the one that has suffered the most from German overpower in Brussels and the impositions associated with it. Are its prospects really irremediably linked to the troubled destinies of the present "family of peoples"?
What will happen to the April presidential elections is quite predictable. What scares is what will NOT happen next.
(image: La liberté guidant le peuple - E. Delacroix. Photo: author)