When François Bayrou, one of your closest political confidants, charged with coming up with an integrated plan to take France into the future, says that the failure of French science to come up with a working Covid vaccine is a humiliation and a sign of national decline, you know you’re in trouble.

And when Marine Le Pen, leader of the hard-right Rassemblement National – a reheated version of the old Front National, which hasn’t come up with a new idea for at least the last ten years – moves ahead of you in the opinion polls, you know that the trouble you’re in isn’t about to go away anytime soon.

Emmanuel Macron is about to move into the second month of his last full year as President with approval ratings hovering around 40 per cent and with Le Pen nudging ahead of him as the favourite to win the first round in next year’s presidential elections.