Granting that circumstances are always subject to change, it is for the moment true that Marine Le Pen has run into a ceiling of public support encountered by other European Nationalists since Britain voted to exit the European Union.
We at Pragmatically Distributed see the inverse link connecting Britain’s referendum to the plateauing fortunes of anti-EU populists as, simply, the public on the Continent realizing (correctly) that if another large EU member goes over to populism that the complete disintegration of the European Union becomes a strong possibility.
The electorates of Western Europe can, like de Gaulle once did, envision the EU functioning without Britain. With its individualistic tendencies Britain was always reluctant to embrace “pooled sovereignty”, too wealthy (except for a brief period in the 1970s) to truly be sold on the idea their normally strong economy benefited from the petty Technocrats seated in Brussels, and too close to the United States to support anti-American EU Supranationalists when it counted. The end of the bad marriage of Britain with Belgium is arguably survivable because it was, to a degree, expected.
France is an entirely different matter.
No one can envision the EU existing with a President Marine Le Pen threatening to withdraw France from European Monetary Union; particularly the French electorate which overwhelmingly opposes leaving the euro. The post-Britain EU is already in a precarious enough state with Italy threatening to elect an anti-euro Parliament and Greece’s unpopular, radical Left (i.e., Proletarian Socialist) SYRIZA government led by Alexis Tsipras toying with the idea of having its revenge against the Troika by defaulting on its debt; a default that may well spark a new European banking crisis.
Even Eastern Europe, where they have so far gotten away with rejecting EU imposed immigration mandates while still enjoying wealth transfers from Western Europe, finds the prospect of another populist victory worrisome because the end of the EU will be the end of their subsidies.
The French, unfortunately, also realize what a vote for Le Pen entails. Unless the French warm to the idea of returning to the franc very soon the independent Liberal candidate Macron is set to win the election.
Meanwhile, Britain has invoked Article 50. We applaud the start of their exit from that most thoroughly developed manifestation of Dictatorial Bureaucracy. We encourage them to drive a hard bargain in the exit negotiations. If, as expected, an anti-euro government wins elections in Italy this year Brussels will be ought of economic leverage to deny Britain generous trade and financial terms.
This is also an opportunity for England to destroy the loathsome SNP. The SNP has been agitating for a second Scottish independence referendum. Their calls must surely be hollow bluffs because Scotland would almost certainly vote against leaving the UK since, if they opted for independence, they would then have to either launch their own currency to replace pound sterling or begin applying to enter the EU. The currency of an independent Scotland start out as exceptionally weak. Joining the euro would require Scotland to cripple itself trying meet the entry requirements for a currency that may not exist in the years it would take Scotland to join the EU.
We recommend Britain call the SNP’s bluff and agree to a second independence referendum. If the vote fails for a second time, the SNP will be politically obsolete when they are robbed of the ability to pretend Scottish nationhood is a possibility as they have been pretending at election time for decades.