Like most important politicians, Emmanuel Macron is a polarising figure. So Macron-haters have seized on the unrest in Paris to argue that the French president stands revealed as a massively flawed leader — remote, arrogant and pushing an outdated neoliberal agenda. By contrast, Macron-lovers insist that their hero can ride out his current troubles and still be a transformative president. Neither verdict is convincing. Macron is indeed an impressive figure. He has correctly identified the need for structural reforms of the French economy and has bravely made the case for internationalism. But the bleak truth is that the president is gravely wounded by the gilets jaunes protests, the accompanying violence — and the panic-driven U-turns in government policy. Indeed the events of the past week are likely to be a turning point that will neuter the Macron presidency and prevent it delivering on its early promise. To understand why that is the case, you need to examine three key aspects o...

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