But why does Gabriel Attal answer “authority” when we talk to him about youth?

“The bamboche is over,” said a prefect of the Republic one day during the pandemic, pointing out young people who showed little respect for confinement. We can see a political translation there with Gabriel Attal’s announcements on youth made this Thursday from Viry-Châtillon, the same place where young Shemseddine was beaten to death recently. With a key word on the menu: “authority”. It was repeated 32 times during his speech, amid a battery of coercive measures pushing in the direction of the SNU and the uniform experiment.

Suffice it to say a new sermon which is not really pleasant to hear from the point of view of a teenager who would slam the door and shout: “So when we talk to you about youth, you answer “authority””. All before calling his father Gabriel – by his first name, therefore –, as a mark of defiance.

Young people, from solution in 2017 to problem today

But let’s bet that Gabriel Attal doesn’t care – basically or at least politically – about the reaction of young people. “To tell the truth, the Prime Minister’s speech is not intended for young people, who rarely vote, but for his real electorate, the boomer generation,” analyzes for 20 minutes Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet. A speech which, according to the professor of political communication, aims first of all to try to “counter the rise of the RN”, which is leading the way in voting intentions for the European elections on June 9.

Beyond these electoral considerations – the main reason for these announcements, says Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet – this speech also marks an evolution within the macronie: “We have moved from 2017, the speech of youth as a solution, the start-up, to an identification of youth as a problem that we will solve with a uniform, an imitation of military service and fewer video games.

However, with a president aged 46 and a Prime Minister ten years his junior, France had never had such a junior executive couple. “The youngest president in history appoints the youngest prime minister in history. I only want to see it as a symbol, that of audacity,” said the head of government himself when he arrived in Matignon in January. “A 30-year-old body with the ideas of an old man: that’s the definition of boomers, and Gabriel Attal is a sort of avatar,” says the political scientist.

Return to “before May 68”

On the route taken by France, there were many turns. And today’s would be the sign of a “boomer generation which has decided to turn in on itself”. In other words, according to Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet, a desire to return “to before May-68. This speech is reminiscent of those we heard in the 1960s. Perhaps that is what it is, deep down: the desire to close the 1968 parenthesis.”

A desire already firmly expressed, without succeeding in implementing it, by Nicolas Sarkozy, who had declared that he wanted to “liquidate” the legacy of May-68. We still find the speech of an old man held by a young person, who flatters the memories of the oldest: “Nostalgia is becoming a political trend,” observes the political scientist.

Also, by making “authority the condition for the emancipation of young people”, as he said this Thursday, Gabriel Attal reflects a takeover of power by the “conservative fringe of Macronism to the detriment of the liberal one. “At the same time” has been dead for some time,” continues Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet.

It remains to be seen whether it will pay off electorally. The risk for the macronie would be to push part of the electorate towards the socialists of Raphaël Glucksmann, who are close behind them in the polls for the European elections. “And for young people who vote RN, I am not sure of the effect,” doubts the specialist. Except “to ideologically prepare the ground for 2027”.

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