Here’s a lead line from a Washington Post article that will strike fear and horror into the heart of any self-respecting rightwinger:
“Nineteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the old East German Communist Party is making a comeback.”
“Known these days simply as the Left, the ex-communists have broadened their appeal by playing to Germans’ anxieties about globalization, wealth distribution and welfare cuts. After scraping along for years, the Left now draws the support of one in seven Germans, some polls show — making it the third most popular party in the country and a potential kingmaker in next year’s federal election.
The Left’s rebound has stunned Germany’s mainstream political parties, which had written off the ex-communists as a relic of the Cold War and long treated them as untouchable extremists. Instead, the Left has upended Germany’s once stable political system, increasing the odds that it could come to power in a coalition government.”
I’m not going to predict a similar resurrgence here but it does remind us of the nature of MMP politics and the fact that it’s not just one party’s vote that will matter. You would be foolish to write off any of the established smaller parties. We see from the weekend papers that ACT is working hard to find itself some space again. And Winston should never, ever be discounted on the campaign trail. What does it add up to? “A silver and a bronze can trump a gold” as the saying goes…