Charlemagne – Emmanuel Macron Ditches Jupiter for Other Gods | Europe
- Emmanuel (“god” with us) Macron, god wannabe. Snake changes its skin but is still a snake.
- Charlemagne – Emmanuel Macron Ditces Jupiter for Other Gods | Europe
by The Economist,via https://finanz.dk/ , 29 April 2020
THE OFFICIAL presidential plane, with its crisp-white fuselage and tricolore livery, is cruising at high altitude towards Paris from Beijing. Inside his airborne meeting room, Emmanuel Macron has just finished a debrief at the end of a China trip, leaving his staff to snatch a few hours’ sleep. To the visitor’s untrained eye, the most astonishing feature in the presidential aircraft office is not the framed print fixed defiantly to the wall, nor the leather chairs bolted rigidly to the floor. It is that Mr Macron is wearing a hoodie.
Most world leaders have their signature look. Unicolour jackets for Germany’s Angela Merkel. Artfully unkempt hair for Britain’s Boris Johnson. In Mr Macron’s case, his uniform is a suit. Not the pinstriped sort he once favoured as a young investment banker. But a well cut, navy costume, with matching sober tie. He wears it to visit hospitals, to talk virtually to European leaders, even last week to drop in on a tomato farm and a supermarket. For his detractors, the sharp suit is an offensive marker of his membership of the highly educated, metropolitan elite. For Mr Macron, a long-standing theatre enthusiast, the suit is literally a costume: a way of projecting in public an aura of formality, authority and power to fit the commanding Fifth Republic presidential office.
As the covid-19 health crisis unfolds in Europe, such aspects of leadership style are being tested. Mrs Merkel’s cautious, rational manner answers the moment’s yearning for quiet competence, at least for now. Mr Johnson’s customary bluster is more jarring. Mr Macron, who slipped into a Jupiterian costume on election night in 2017, stepping out from the shadows of the Louvre palace, has opted for a metaphorical change of attire. Since the pandemic struck, the know-it-all president who used to lecture his people from on high has switched outfits twice: to that of a warrior leading the French into battle, and then to one of a self-questioning leader who uses the word “humility” 11 times in a single interview. To borrow the president’s classical allusions, he has gone from wearing the costume of Jupiter (king of the Roman gods), to that of Mars (god of war), and now Minerva (goddess of wisdom).
Mr Macron’s earlier Jupiterian costume is worth revisiting. The “Jupiterian” presidency was his response to the excessively “normal” presidency of his Socialist predecessor, François Hollande, whom he served both as an adviser and minister. The French, with their romantic national myths of glorious conquest and civilisation, sought not just competent government, argued Mr Macron before his election, but leadership that symbolised exceptional, almost mystical, power. Once in office, however, if Mr Macron imagined he was projecting authority, the French increasingly saw aloofness and disdain. He once breezily told an unemployed gardener: “I can cross the road and find you a job.” The gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) protests followed. Jupiter tumbled from Olympus with a thud.