Explainer 148: Can Emmanuel Macron reason with the yellow-vest protesters?
Any analysis of the yellow vests phenomenon or of official responses to it does need to adjust for the France factor. In most countries, logged scale public protests is d- lost resort of frustrated citizens in France. It's pretty much the first response the grievances which historically have been expressed elsewhere with peevish letters to newspaper editors have traditionally been expressed in France by hurling sections of footpath, the John, Don. Attempts to replicate the yellow vests phenomenon. Elsewhere have been notably less dramatic in the UK, it has amounted to a few dozen middle aged men who can't understand why they're not allowed to see their kids blocking traffic and yelling about the forums. But even by Francis standards. The yellow vests have been a big deal. The movement began mobilizing last November taking its name and its uniform from the high visibility jackets, which all French motorists must carry the vests have been staging vast protests, many of them violent and various other direct actions, including incapacitating by one estimate. Sixty percent of Francis. Speed cameras in keeping with the traditions of French protests. The yellow vests are kina and clear on what they don't want. Then what they do originally inspired by objections to diesel taxes. They Anga has expanded into a broad nonspecific rage with the modern world in general comparisons have been made with the storied revolts of Maine nineteen sixty eight which at one point briefly looked like they might have forced the full and flight of president Charles de goal Francis. President president Emmanuel Macron. Has correctly identified that the yellow vests may pose an existential threat to his decreasingly popular presidency. So beginning this week with an almost audible sigh of I've got to get back in touch with the rebel Macron intends to spend from now until March touring France talking to actual people. This is not the first concession Macron has made to the vests. He has previously announced some tax cuts and floated the idea of immigration quotas. But it is the most dramatic concession and the one likely to be most closely monitored by other European leaders beleaguered by angry mobs. Under Macron's grand new outreach program. Any citizen of France may apply to organize and chair debate policy proposals. Which emerged from them will be scrutinized by officials and considered by the government Macron introduced the scheme with a two thousand three hundred and thirty word open letter to the people it is much as Macron depicts himself a model of inclusive. Reasonableness we wanted to green on everything he wrote, but that's normal. That's democracy. But at least we'll show that we are a people who are not afraid to speak to exchange views and debate. And perhaps we'll discover that we might even agree despite all different persuasions more often than we think Macron's idea is also as he put it to transform anger into solutions. It is difficult to imagine a more desirable advance in political alchemy or unfortunately, a less likely one the idea that angry populists might be converted into constructive. Participants in the. Democratic discourse. If only someone would listen to them relies on the belief that the yellow vests or Brexit twos. Or Trump voters actually want to be listened to it fails to consider the possibility that what they want is to make noise and enjoy the discomfort it causes in others, Macron's should perhaps look further back than Charleston goal in seventeen thousand nine king. Louis. The sixteenth who in fantas often citizens rather more to complain about than president Macron ever has asked the estates to submit their catalogs of grievances within four years. Louis learned the hard way that the general appetite for compromise was smaller than he believed. For multiple twenty four. I'm Andrew movie.