Last night should have been a time of humility for the deeply unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron. It was on his watch that his country’s most famous monument, the Notre Dame Cathedral burnt throughout the evening, causing damage that has been described as catastrophic. But rather than express supreme contrition for the fact that the French government had refused to provide adequate funds for the maintenance and repair of the cathedral, once much of Notre Dame was destroyed, Macron started asking the world for money.
France is currently ranked as the seventh largest economy in the world in terms of GDP. It is consistently in the top two or top three wealthiest countries in Europe. And yet, Emmanuel Macron has asked people from throughout the world to donate to fund Notre Dame’s rebuilding. It is abundantly clear that Macron is a man completely without shame. If a large scale monument burnt down in a poor or developing country, it is entirely conceivable that international funds could and should be raised in order to help rebuild.
But the audacity of a political leader in one of the world’s richest countries asking for money from ordinary people from throughout the world is nothing short of disgusting, despicable and reprehensible. Macron’s shame is compounded by the fact that it was his government’s clear duty of care to maintain the cathedral and self-evidently the French government failed spectacularly.
Because of the importance of Notre Dame to French culture, the honourable thing for Macron to do, would have been to tender his resignation because of the supreme embarrassment to the French people that has been wrought by the burning of Notre Dame. Instead, Macron is now begging the world for money in spite of the fact that France has more than enough money to rebuild Notre Dame. It seems however that Macron would rather spend the money on other pursuits whilst forcing the rest of the world to foot the bill.