On to other matters.
The French National Front did not do as well in the end as had been feared or expected after the first round of the regional elections.
Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front did not win any region in French elections on Sunday (13 December), in a setback to her hopes of being a serious presidential contender in 2017.This is a pattern we have seen before. The French electorate shows its lack of enthusiasm for the main parties by either not turning out or voting for the FN who do better than expected; for the second round people who had not turned out "come to their sense" (59 per cent turned out this time as against 49 per cent in the first round) and, together with various deals done between the main parties, ensure that the FN loses. No-one is particularly pleased but the main parties can go on in their own unsatisfactory way, relying on that last-minute salvation. This election, in particular, has produced no winners, only losers.
The regional election run-off, in which the conservatives won seven constituencies and the Socialists five, was no real victory for either of these two mainstream parties, shaken by the far-right's growing appeal to disillusioned voters.
Boosted by fears about security and immigration after the Islamist militant attacks in Paris a month ago that killed 130 people, the National Front (FN) had won more votes than any other party nationally in last week's first round.
Although it won no region on Sunday after the Socialists pulled out of its key target regions and urged their supporters to back the conservatives of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the FN still recorded its best showing in its history.
The FN has been blocked but far from defeated
In the long term, with presidential and parliamentary elections in spring 2017, the FN challenge will stay in place for both the Socialists and the Republicains.The main parties will have to come up with some way of dealing with the issue. For some reason I suspect that they will continued to rely on that last minute electoral "good sense". You can do that too often.
With a 27.36 percent share of the total votes at national level, compared to 27.96 in the first round, the FN maintained its prominent position.
The far-right party got 6.71 million votes, more than in the first round (6.01 million).
The figure is also more than the record 6.42 million votes Jean-Marie Le Pen got in 2002, when he qualified for the second round of the presidential election.
The FN now has 358 seats in regional assemblies, up from 118 before the elections.