13 October 2010

The end of social democracy

Following on the idea of the left becoming proficient at losing, I would just add this.

There is a double bind. First, not in half a century have the left been out of office simultaneously in Britain, France and Germany. Worse still today we see conservative governments in northern Europe from the Netherlands to Scandinavia. The failure of social democracy is in no way specific to Britain; it is a European phenomenon.

Second, we have witnessed the passing of social democracy within formally social democratic parties: New Labour in Britain, or the Harz package in Germany. Often the main party of the left today is little more than a cosmopolitan elite capturing the vote of public employees who depend on a ‘big state’ and poorer sections of the working class who have nowhere else to turn.

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