Gavin Mortimer

Gavin Mortimer

Gavin Mortimer is a British author who lives in Burgundy after many years in Paris. He writes about French politics, terrorism and sport.

Macron vs Putin: this summer’s Olympic battle

Dixmont, Yonne Last summer, Emmanuel Macron lashed out at France’s constitution because it prevents him from running for a third consecutive term in office. It is, he told his entourage, a ‘disastrous stupidity’. The majority of the French people would disagree. Macron’s approval ratings are dire, and a poll at the start of this month

The plot to bring down Emmanuel Macron

Last week Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the Olympic aquatic centre that will host the swimming and diving events at this summer’s Paris games. The President was delighted with what he saw, boasting to the press pack that the centre is ‘exemplary from an environmental point of view’. Macron’s party expect the Republicans to make their move

France’s schools are succumbing to the Islamist threat

A 13-year-old Muslim girl was beaten unconscious outside her school gates in Montpellier in southern France on Tuesday. Her mother says she was attacked because of her religion but on this occasion most of the mainstream media has baulked at reporting the story. That’s because Samara was a Muslim who didn’t follow her religion the

What would Marine Le Pen’s critics do if she wins?

A well-known French radio comedian recently suggested an armed revolution in the event Marine Le Pen is elected President in 2027. Mahaut Drama made her comments not in jest, but during a debate at a left-wing media festival in Paris entitled ‘How to fight the far right’. Envisaging a Le Pen victory, Drama said: ‘What

The alarming rise of the middle-aged terrorist

Police in Paris last week arrested a man suspected of planning an attack against a church. That in itself was not unusual. According to Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, since 2017 the police and intelligence services have thwarted 45 Islamist attacks. Is this some twisted form of mid-life crisis? What was different about the man detained in Paris

The French want weed, not wine

Across France this Easter families will gather to eat, drink and, in many cases, smoke drugs. There are five million regular cannabis smokers in France and a further 600,000 who are classified as cocaine addicts. The number of people who consume wine on a regular basis is just over seven million (11 per cent of

Europe must tighten its borders to combat the Islamist threat

Europe is on a state of high alert after Friday’s Islamist attack in Moscow that left 137 concertgoers dead. France has raised its security alert to the highest level, and more soldiers will be deployed to patrol the streets and stand guard outside ‘sensitive sites’ including churches, synagogues and schools. President Emmanuel Macron said in

Can Macron halt the ‘Mexicanisation’ of France?

Emmanuel Macron showed off his virility this week with the release of two photos in which he is seen giving a punchbag his best shots. Is Vladimir Putin scared? More to the point, will the drug cartels of Marseille be frightened into submission by the Elysee Palace’s very own Rocky? The day before the publication

Putin is as deluded about the Islamist threat as the West

From the outset it was obvious to seasoned observers who massacred more than 130 Russians at a concert hall Moscow on Friday evening. It wasn’t, as some in the Kremlin claimed, Ukraine. What would they stand to gain from such indiscriminate slaughter? The people who opened fire in the Crocus City Hall cleaved to the same ideology

War on words: is Scotland ready for its new hate crime law?

51 min listen

On the podcast: Scotland’s new hate crime law; the man who could be France’s next PM; and why do directors meddle with Shakespeare?  First up: Scotland is smothering free speech. Scotland is getting a new, modern blasphemy code in the form of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, which takes effect from 1

Gavin Mortimer

Could Jordan Bardella be France’s next PM?

Dixmont, Yonne In Britain, France’s National Front is synonymous with the Le Pen family. Jean-Marie founded the right-wing party in 1972 and his daughter Marine replaced him as its leader in 2011. In France, however, the National Rally – as it was rebranded in 2018 – is increasingly the party of Jordan Bardella. The 28-year-old

What the French left could learn from Keir Starmer

Last week on Spectator TV Fraser Nelson saluted the ‘intervention’ of the Labour party in the debate about whether the magazine he edits, as well as the Telegraph Media Group, should be sold to a UAE-backed consortium. In an interview, Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow culture secretary said that ‘ownership by a foreign power is incompatible with

The EU is divided in its bid to stop the boats

There was good and bad news for the European Union last week: the number of migrants arriving in Europe on the Central Mediterranean route in the first two months of 2024 dropped 70 per cent compared to the same period the previous year, the latest figures revealed. The bad news was that they were up

Will France’s Olympians embarrass Macron?

France host England tonight in the final match of the 2024 Six Nations. ‘Le Crunch’, as this fixture has come to be known, is never for the faint-hearted but this evening’s atmosphere is likely to be especially febrile. The match is being played in Lyon, in the south-east of France, instead of the Stade de

Does it matter that Emmanuel Macron doesn’t have children?

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to the French press this week and passed on a message to the people. ‘Your children are not going to die in Ukraine,’ he said. He made his remarks 24 hours before the French parliament voted on a bilateral security agreement that Zelensky signed with President Emmanuel Macron last month. The

Is Giorgia Meloni a secret centrist?

When it became clear in September 2022 that Giorgia’s Meloni right-wing coalition was on course to win Italy’s general election, Ursula von der Leyen issued a warning. ‘If things go in a difficult direction,’ declared the president of the European Commission, ‘…we have tools’. Matteo Salvini, whose Liga party was a member of the coalition,

Macron’s war-mongering talk is unnerving Europe

Relations between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have always been strained but they’re now positively hostile. Media on both sides of the Rhine have laid bare the differences that exist between the two men. Der Spiegel calls it a ‘battle of egos’, while Bild recently ran an article headlined ‘The Dangerous

Will Macron sell out to the Saudis?

Britain and its government has a well deserved reputation for kow-towing to foreign investors. But even they (one hopes) would draw a line at allowing a Middle East state to set up shop in the Royal Hospital Chelsea. In France, however, Emmanuel Macron’s government is studying a request from Saudi Arabia to erect its Olympic

Is Rishi Sunak too late to stop the spread of Islamism?

Rishi Sunak has joined the long line of prime ministers who have declared that enough is enough, and the country must act to root out Islamist extremism. His speech from the steps of 10 Downing Street on Friday was hailed in some Conservative quarters as ‘striking intervention’. Nevertheless, the sceptic might wonder why it’s taken

Reform should ditch Richard Tice before it’s too late

The Reform Party has claimed that the Rochdale by-election was not ‘free and fair’. Their leader, Richard Tice, said that his party had suffered intimidation on the campaign trail including ‘vile racist abuse’. It was certainly an ugly election battle, one dominated by the conflict in Gaza – and, because of that focus, George Galloway