Who would be a worse President for France: nationalist Marine Le Pen or far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon?

The French presidential race is extremely tight (Source: Getty)

Naomi Firsht, a staff writer at Spiked, says Le Pen.

Jean-Luc Melenchon certainly has some extreme economic ideas, such as 100 per cent taxation for earnings above €33,000 per month, a monthly minimum wage of €1,300, and reducing the working week to 32 hours – measures unlikely to boost France’s stagnating economy and resolve its high unemployment.

However, while Melenchon’s policies may be unrealistic, his outlook on the world is far more open than that of Marine Le Pen. Le Pen is a protectionist and inward-looking; she wants to curb immigration exponentially. The pro-immigration Melenchon, at least, wants a France that embraces the rest of the world.

Melenchon too has no murky history of party ties to the Vichy regime or anti-Semitism – a not-so-distant past for the Front National.

However, the possibility of the French election becoming a face-off between the remnants of the far-right and old left says more about the decaying state of the mainstream parties than it does about the supposed popularity of these two candidates.

Tim Worstall, senior fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, says Melenchon.

In determining the precedence between Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon we could retreat to the Johnsonian position that there’s no point to it. But if we must, then it is undoubtedly Melenchon who is likely to be worse for France.

True, both of them have the correct attitude to the euro and the EU itself – “well, if we have to, let’s continue. But can’t we do something else?” Other than that, there are bad points about them both.

With Le Pen it is undoubtedly the very ugly undercurrent of racism and anti-semitism. Yet with Melenchon, the problem is economic stupidity of a Venezuelan level of ghastliness.

A 100 per cent tax rate gains no revenue whatsoever, but that is proposed. In an ageing country, he proposes lowering the pensions age. He would kill off the nuclear industry which supplies 75 per cent of current electricity, and in general appears about as well informed as Chavez himself.

Not an appealing choice, but as your parents should have, but probably didn’t, tell you about choosing a mate: ugly beats stupid every time.

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