While the world rushes to congratulate Macron on his spectacular rise and his triumph over the Front National, here in the UK Tim Farron’s congratulations must be the most heart-felt. Macron’s unashamedly liberal, pro-European and centrist views reflect those of the Liberal Democrats.
His motto, "Rassemblement!" is mirrored in the Liberal Democrat's, "Open, Tolerant and United". The two liberal movements are agreed on a broad range of issues from a strong NATO, the need for effective policies, English/French language lessons for immigrants, secularism and house insulation.
The Liberal Democrats are, on this side of the channel, the natural and obvious allies to the En Marche! movement of Macron. In France, the Mouvement Democrate and its leader Francois Bayrou endorsed Macron and his nascent movement early on, providing infrastructure support for the upcoming legislative elections. Bayrou is the co-president of the European Democratic Party which, alongside the Liberal Democrats and others, forms part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe parliamentary group.
In Britain the Labour party and the Tories chose to win back voters, fed up with their tired, confrontational party politics, by lurching to the left and right of the spectrum. Macron’s success shows us that it is possible for liberals to win by confidently sticking to the centre ground. The Liberal Democrats may be leading the fight back in the UK, but we are not alone.