In March 2014, Robert Ménard, one of the founders of Reporters without Borders (he isn’t involved anymore) was elected mayor of Béziers, a small city in the South of France, with the support of the Front National. Ménard is not in the FN but has said he agrees with 80 per cent of what they say.
Sunday mid-afternoon at our nearest polling station – a modest mairie which now opens only a couple of times a week –the voting in the first round of France’s regional elections was desultory. The deputy mayor had reckoned on 40 per cent of the voters turning out by teatime, but they hadn’t. In a flower border where the council planted out a few perennials earlier this year, some of the shrubs had been removed during the night. Three gendarmes were hard at work on forensics, taking photos of the holes.