Jonathan Miller Jonathan Miller

The real problem with Macron’s elite school

President Emmanuel Macron announced today the closure of the notorious École Nationale d’Administration, the elite finishing school for the senior civil servants and politicians who have wrecked France. Perhaps nothing could serve France better than burning down its Strasbourg campus and salting the earth, but there’s less to this than meets the eye. This is the third time he’s announced this.

Statism is the religion of ENA, which explains why its brilliant graduates have conspicuously failed to create a single Google, Amazon, Facebook or Apple. Its graduates have manoeuvred France, a nation that once led the world in innovation and creativity, into a cul de sac of ‘immobilisme,’ crushing innovation while creating for its citizens a sort of Absurdistan, a bureaucratically sclerotic, low- to no-growth economy where there are riots every night and you currently need a permit to walk your dog after 7pm.

One indication of this immobilism is that reform of ENA was first proposed 50 years ago, and nothing has happened. Jean-Louis Debré, president of the constitutional council, has already denounced Macron’s reforms as ‘populism.’

A post-war creation of General De Gaulle, ENA’s graduates, referred to as Énarques, inhabit a planet entirely separate from that of ordinary French people. ENA’s influence on French society and economy has arguably been even more malign than PPE graduates of Oxford University on Britain. Macron, who managed to cut wealth taxes and raise diesel prices simultaneously the moment he got into office, provoking the revolt of the gilets jaunes, is of course himself a graduate of ENA.

ENA’s influence on French society has arguably been even more malign than PPE graduates of Oxford University on Britain

Macron’s tame journalists have spent the day advancing and praising the president’s planned reforms (a ‘strong measure’ declared the France 24 news channel, even before any of the details were announced).

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