There has been a bit, no, a lot of speculation in the British press about Emmanuel Macron. If you’re not aware of who he is, he’s looking like the shoo in in the upcoming French presidential elections. I have to hope he’s the shoo in, since the alternative is the loathsome far-righter Marine Le Pen, who’s still riding on her equally loathsome father’s far-right coattails. Fiercely racist and Islamophobic, she was once an immigration lawyer; political expediency made her jump to the other side of the fence. That in itself should make people a bit wary, don’t you think?
However, the Britpack aren’t too worried about Macron’s politics, though there’s a consensus that he’s a better person to have at the helm than a populist neo-Nazi. What’s really exercising them is Macron’s private life. This is because his wife, Brigitte, is 64, and he himself is a relatively boyish 39.
There’s a gentle charm to their story. They met when he was at school in Amiens, and she was his drama teacher. He developed a major crush on her, pursued her relentlessly, and in 2007 Brigitte Trogneux as was became Brigitte Macron. She brought three children from her previous marriage with her, and they weren’t too far off Emmanuel’s age.
The idea that two people can love each other across that not inconsiderable age gap is what has the press harrumphing and spluttering. It’s not just the redtops either. Tuesday’s Times sported a page 4 and 5 spread in the 2 supplement blathering on about this topic. Two whole pages. Nothing on Macron’s views on the EU (he’s very pro), or foreign outlook, or anything at all germane to his likely new role. No, two pages about his, and I quote, ‘cougar.’ That’s not a word you expect to find in a quality newspaper, is it?
I didn’t bother to read all the article. When a supposedly respectable newspaper slides down into the gutter along with the tabloids, I lose interest. But here’s what I would guess the French people think about. They’re the ones who count, after all, and I suspect they’ll just be doing that Gallic shrug thing and saying, ‘Et alors?’ So what?
This would be a remarkably sensible attitude. Were Macron a child molester or convicted rapist, for example, then there would rightly be a mighty big question mark over his morals, though a long history of sexual impropriety somehow didn’t keep TFF from being elected. If he had a extremely questionable moral track record, you might just think he’s not the man for the job. But that he’s married somebody quite a bit older (after a long, long pursuit and courtship) makes me trust him a bit more than I might otherwise do. We’re not looking at a trophy wife here. This looks like the real deal.
And it really doesn’t matter what I think, or what anybody else thinks, because it’s none of our business. Times take note.