THE BLOG

Hollande: Why Those Who 'Play Away' Always Get Found Out

16/01/2014 12:41 GMT | Updated 18/03/2014 09:59 GMT

It's hardly surprising French President François Hollande's love trysts would eventually be found out. But even more inevitable was the early demise of his love affair with a Left-leaning agenda. For those who believe national leaders still have any significant choice in their policies are living in the past; still wedded to the illusion that we live in democratic societies, free to choose which agenda - right or left - to bed down with.

One wonders whether Hollande, his party, and all those who voted for him seriously believed he could pursue his left-wing agenda without consequences? Those who did risk showing themselves stuck in a nation-centric past; prisoners of an outdated worldview which still assumes national borders are impermeable. Like a naive President thinking the paparazzi aren't lurking around the corner, those who still believe we enjoy national political self-determination haven't caught up with the new, highly dangerous, world-centric realities.

For in today's globalised world, no national leader can significantly raise taxes or regulations on the rich or on business without them reacting by simply moving - or investing - elsewhere, so sending the national economy into a tailspin. Put differently, no national leader can buck the absolute need to keep their national economy internationally competitive. Try to, and you'll be found out by global markets and will soon have to reverse your agenda. As The Times (15th January, 2014) reported, "After 18 months of stagnation under orthodox socialist leadership, [Hollande] confirmed that he was swinging towards the market-friendly policies adopted over the past 15 years by left-wing parties in Germany, Britain and elsewhere."

Today, then, meaningful democracy is effectively dead. For regardless of who we may elect to govern, only a decidedly market- and business-friendly agenda seems to have any hope of viability; a fact that renders conventional left-wing politics and much NGO lobbying substantially futile. Try and go Left and, like Hollande, you'll be found out faster than it takes to make a short scooter ride to a nearby love-nest.

Of course, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be distracted by irrelevant private indiscretions. Rather, we should wake up to the alarming reality that, in our globalised world, national democracy and self-determination no longer exist in any meaningful sense.

If our ideals of social justice, sustainability and our right to political self-determination are to prove more than just romantic, it's time for effective transnational political action of a kind that puts citizens firmly back in control (such as proposed by the Simpol campaign). Only a global initiative of that kind could possibly allow us to reassert proper democratic authority over global markets, international banking and multi-national business networks, so allowing us to freely choose in which political bed - left or right - to lie.

Like it or not, re-gaining our democratic self-determination means taking democracy to the next, global level.