An opinion piece by Jack Poole.
The news of the coming general election announced by Theresa May yesterday seems to have dwarfed the more imminent news of the French presidential election. The campaign in France has been modernised, technology has come to the fore and has been used to allow politics to spread widely to a larger audience. The leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has used hologram transmission to allow his speeches to be seen live in multiple locations at once. On Monday, he was even ‘broadcasting’ to six cities across two time zones with a hologram set up in Réunion, where voters also vote for the President of the Republic.
This new use of technology has enlightened his campaign it has made it more accessible. As good as social media is for reaching audiences- it has a lot less emotive effect of getting someone out to vote than going to a live political rally has. Greater accessibility to political movements can revitalise the political groups of a country. Especially when there are such bold promises of wide spread public employment and an “investment shock” of 100billion€.
One slogan that really made me sit up was when he said capitalism is from the 17th Century- why are we still using it? That is an answer for him to tell us, but this campaign has livened up politics and has encouraged more new people to get involved. It’s called France Insoumise – or Rebellious France. This is a hopeful rebellion against the establishment that has been woefully neglected in the British press and they may not even cover it before it has had the wind knocked out of its sails come the ballot on Sunday.
In his speech on Monday Jean-Luc Mélenchon also said how he would be meeting with Pablo Iglesias the leader of the Spanish popular movement Podemos about the possibility of sharing the hologram technology with them to allow Podemos to create an inclusive nationwide buzz around their party. These ideas of change are not just internal to France or Spain or even continental Europe and the system of multiple transmissions via hologram is a way of politics coping with globalisation in a more personal method rather than using means that can be sometimes sterilised. This innovative technology and method is the way that the people can meet the politician more widely and engage with ideas of change and other people who are thinking the same things.
There is something still missing from this widening European movement of hope. A UK-sized thing. Where is the critical modern movement that people can feel inspires them to take part in politics, attend mass rallies across the country and not feel ignored by a candidate? Why isn’t Mélenchon talking with a British movement to share their hologram technology? Maybe the political system in France allows for more movement based candidates, but Podemos in Spain has managed to push their way into a parliament that functions similarly to the UK – except it uses proportional representation – so a UK movement should be able to too accomplish such a feat.
Such a movement based on new revolutionary ideas needs to come from somewhere soon and it needs to be based on a vision of hope and change. We need to look the France and Spain to show us how to create a movement and all should be summed up with last word of Mélenchon’s speech yesterday: “courage.”