Owen Jones: France is angry. The left must show Europe that bigotry is not the answer | Owen Jones

The radical left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is surging in the presidential election, challenging far-right xenophobia and the complacency of the centre

Across the west, the old order continues to crumble in the face of assaults from all directions. Discontent with a status quo that offers stagnating living standards, rampant insecurity and declining social provision finds its expression in both the radical left and the xenophobic right. With its impending presidential elections, France may depart from this script – or so the embattled centrists hope.

Related: Emmanuel Macron: the French outsider who would be president

The idea that a centrist politics which will throw people out of work will cure France’s fury is naive

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