- Date published:
11:18 am, May 4th, 2018 - 14 comments
Categories: class war, conservative party, elections, International, labour, Left, liberalism, political parties, Politics, social democracy, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics - Tags: elections, liberalism, Social Democracy
For some years now, parties of the left in government have done the work of the right. Such is the way of a world gripped by Liberalism. But now, with Liberalism’s ascendancy on the wane, the fallout for parties of the left that did the work of the right during years of Liberal dominance, is annihilation at the ballot box.
Where no reasonable opposition to Liberalism exists; where the centre holds (such as NZ), notionally left wing parties that essentially do the work of the right (“fiscal responsibility” anyone?) can still scrape into government.
Elsewhere, the rout of the UK Labour Party in Scotland (24% of the vote and a loss of 40 of their 41 seats in 2015) is reflected in the tanking of the SPD in Germany (20 % of the vote and the loss of 40 seats in 2017), the SP in France ( 7.5% of the vote and a loss of 249 seats in 2017), the Labour Party in Norway (27% of the vote in 2017 and the lowest seat count since 1924)… the list goes on. Some of the observable declines in parties traditionally associated with the social democratic left are long term rather than precipitous.
But always they are losing out to parties running on platforms that are not at all accommodating to Liberalism – often to parties that espouse politics aligned with the very social democracy the established social democratic parties jettisoned in favour of a “third way” positioning during the period of Liberalism.
And of course, aside from the chauvinistic right wing , there are various pretenders and opportunists like Trump, Trudeau, Macron…
UK Labour is interesting because it has executed a volte-face with Jeremy Corbyn as leader, such that UK Labour bears little or no resemblance to the UK Labour Party of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband. And it’s reaping electoral benefits as a result.
If in 2015 Labour was dead in the water in Scotland, it’s now a serious challenge to SNP dominance (Oh, to have the choice between two left leaning social democratic parties at the ballot box!)
In England and Wales, despite a constant stream of negative press coverage, the Labour Party not only came close in the 2017 General Election*, but has continued to build and strengthen since. That’s why today’s local body elections (live results page here) throughout England and Wales are interesting. Unlike here, local elections are run along party lines in the UK. As such, they are a very good indication of “the lie of the land”. (Maybe a little bit like US mid term elections in that regard.)
My suspicion is, that like a glacier, the political centre around the world is holding…holding…holding…
..and then “Day 17”.
*there’s an argument to be had that it was the campaign against the SNP by Scottish Labour under “Blairite” Dugdale that cost Labour the 2017 UK election by opening a gap for the Tories to snatch their best electoral result in Scotland since 1983 (+12 on their previous result)