Europe

To those who have watched the winds of change blowing all over Europe during the past few months, then the result of last night's first-round of the French-Elections should come as little surprise. For the old-guard who have voted for the Conservative/Labour and Leftist factions all their lives, it must be utterly perplexing.

#France's 'right-wing/National-front candidate'. Marine Le Pen came in at 21.4% of the vote, with the 'novice, independent-centrist,' Emmanuel Macron with 23.9%, after 97% of the #Votes were counted. Republican Francois Fillon, despite the expenses scandal hanging over his head, claimed 19.9%, while the far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon, polled 19.6% of the 46 million votes counted.

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Both have now conceded leaving Macron and #Le Pen to fight it out for the final result in two weeks time.

However, this outcome has left a huge hole at the centre of European politics.It is the first time, certainly in France in almost 60 years that all the mainstream parties have no representative candidate, and that the voters have most certainly turned their backs in a big way on the establishment. That the remaining contenders are poles apart - one pro, one anti, European Union, - one centrist, the other right-wing. Even if Le Pen does not win the final round it will certainly show that there are deep divides in France's political thinking.

Changed Times

Since the huge influx of migrants into Europe, general anger has been rising against the political establishment. It is probably fair to say that the UK's David Cameron certainly did not see a problem when he pledged a vote for European membership as part of the Conservative manifesto in 2015.

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It was a gamble that badly backfired, for once the referendum was ready to roll, most of Europe was swamped under a never-ending tide of migrants who were mostly unwelcome; then, of course, the killing began. Although Britain has had a taste of it, that violence is not wanted here, so the referendum could be looked on as a protest vote rather like yesterday in France.

When do the collective politicians say enough is enough and take sterner measures to stop this confusion? Even if the problems of Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa were miraculously solved tomorrow, what has been created will not be solved in our lifetime; as the whole face of Europe has changed.The longer the migrant, economic or political, is away from his old home, then where he lives now, becomes his new one. Even if they find work and meaningful lives amongst all the chaos they have endured, one can only wonder that once stabilised, how many will simply decamp, and walk the other way, back to their places of origin?

Exactly who will enter the portals of the Elysee Palace in two weeks to claim the presidency is still too close to call. The only sure thing is that Europe and the UK's place in it will have to change as much for us, as for the French.