After months of turbulent campaigning, the drama of the first round of the French presidential election has come to a close, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen left to face each other for the second round.

Although initially written in December last year (and therefore already overtaken in places by new events and developments, most notably the announcement of the general election), this document written by Socialist Appeal provides an analysis of the main processes affecting British politics and society, as well as outlining the fundamental contradictions facing the ruling class and leaders of the labour movement. It is clear that the current political period in Britain is incredibly intense, and that a radical analysis and perspective is needed more than ever before.

The last three weeks have seen a quick progression of the candidate of Rebellious France in the polls for the presidential election: from being fifth with around 11% to being third with over 18% now. This rapid rise has been accompanied with a slow but steady decrease in the voting intentions for the two candidates at the top, the far right Le Pen (from a peak of 28% down to 24) and the liberal Thatcherite Macron (from a peak of 26% down to 23).

The power-sharing deal in the North of Ireland, established with the Good Friday Agreement, has broken down. The old system of rule no longer works, an indication of the pressures that flow from the economic crisis. Gerry Ruddy looks at why and how this has come about.

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