A lot of things have happened in the world recently. The French Parliament has changed. The second round of voting in the French parliamentary election ended on June 19. President Macron’s centrist ruling coalition lost its absolute majority. Macron has become a lame duck. The reform plan he wants to promote in his second presidential term is difficult to come by. Parliament passed.
Among the 577 seats in the French parliament, Macron’s centrist coalition won 245 seats (42.5 percent of the seats), although it retained its position as the largest party, it failed to obtain 200 seats. An absolute majority of eighty-nine seats. The left-wing coalition led by Mélenchon, leader of the far-left party “Indomitable France”, is expected to win 131 seats (22.7 percent of the seats), making it the largest opposition coalition in parliament. And Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, the National League, has greatly increased from eight seats in 2017 to the current 89 seats (15.4 percent of the seats).
Many supporters of the leftist Melenchon are college students and young people. Many of Le Pen’s supporters are conservatives who despise the European Union and criticize NATO. France’s June consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.2 percent year-on-year, the highest since 1985. At this time of high inflation, anti-government sentiment has soared, public opinion has become polarized, and the middle-of-the-road market has rapidly narrowed.
The situation in the UK is also bad. British rail workers strike over inflation. Britain faces severe inflation, eating into corporate profits. British railway workers want to add more labor due to inflation, railway companies freeze salaries and lay off workers due to rising energy costs. The labor and management parties cannot reach a consensus. The railway union launched the largest strike in three decades on June 20. It is expected to have a major impact on 250,000 office workers in London, with an economic loss of nearly 100 million pounds.
The British CPI in May rose by 2.1% year-on-year, which is not too high on the surface, but the fuel price rose by 18% year-on-year, and the British couldn’t stand it. The strike of the British railway workers reminds me of the British Labour government in the 1970s when the economy was very bad, and the employees of major institutions lined up to strike. There is a strong smell of explosion.
Strike action broke out across Europe. Inflation rate in Belgium was as high as 9% in June. Large demonstrations and strikes occurred on June 20. In France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Sweden, there were also reports of similar strike actions in Belgium. .
This round of global inflation surge was triggered by the Russian-Ukrainian war and the US sanctions against Russia. Since the US inflation was as high as 8.6% in May, the anger of the people protesting against the high inflation is also burning towards the US, the initiator.
A senior American politician once explained to me the ABC of Western politics. He said that their people’s requirements are simple and the standard for a good life is cheap gasoline and food. These two things are the necessities of people’s lives. Cooking, as long as the price of gasoline and food does not rise, the people do not complain much, other political disputes are just war of words. I immediately understood why many things in the United States are more expensive than in Hong Kong, but going to the gas station to get oil and going to the supermarket to buy snow chicken is cheaper than Hong Kong.
The senior politician said, in turn, gasoline and food prices have risen sharply, and when these two things are not done well, chaos will occur. Because Americans have no savings, the prices of daily necessities have soared, and they can only use the card to find the money, but they have to pay high interest rates, and grievances have skyrocketed. So when the price rises, there will be chaos.
In this case, why is the Biden administration still vigorously sanctioning Russia, causing inflation to soar and throwing stones at itself?
Biden launched round after round of sanctions against Russia at the time, forcing the EU to follow suit. There is selfishness and wrong judgment. Selfishness is to cut off the energy cooperation between Russia and the European Union, especially Germany, to force the European Union to vote for the United States, to create some kind of Western world alliance, and even to make the European Union depend on the United States for natural gas supplies. It was a mistake to think that the Russian economy would be ruined as soon as sanctions were imposed. Washington boasted that the sanctions “halved the Russian economy” on the same day, which now seems very ridiculous. The United States has only discovered now that this is a situation of “you don’t kill me”. The EU and the US sanctioning Russia is fundamentally an act of political suicide.
Hong Kong’s inflation rate in May was 1.2 percent, which has not been greatly affected for the time being. But be careful that this inflationary wave sweeping the world will bring financial turmoil to Hong Kong.
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