Macron’s massive fall from grace is perfectly encapsulated in the video of him humiliating a schoolboy
The unnamed youngster features in a posted video in which he greets France’s head of state with the words: “All right, Manu?”
Using an affectionate abbreviation of a politician’s first name is likely to be considered entirely acceptable in countries such Britain and the US (“How’s it going, Tess?”, “What’s up, Don?”) but not so in a place where the president still affects quasi-monarchical status.
“Mr President or Sir to you,” is the gist of Macron’s filmed response to the boy, who was also variously described as an imbecile, a revolutionary and a jumped-up little leftie who needed to pass his exams and learn how to earn a living before attempting any cheeky comments.
As recently as March this year, Macron encouraged Indian students to “never respect the rules”, while during a trip to America a month later he told an audience at George Washington University: “Let’s disrupt the system together.” He even used coarse words usually ignored by politicians, such as “bulls**t”, presenting himself as a modern man of the people who never shied away from contemporary mores.
Rather than an authoritative leader, Macron came across as petty and spiteful. This says everything about the way absolute power in France can turn the most enlightened politician into a pompous prig.