Sunday, June 7, 2009

Europe's Left: Leftist Power Diminishing in Europe

This is a good piece of news. Support for Europe's Left is shifting to a more Conservative viewpoint with Leftist political power diminishing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Europe's Left is in a spot of trouble at the polls in the U.K., Spain, France, Germany and Italy. The exact quote is : "left-leaning parties across the continent are looking likely to falter." Wow!
France's Socialist Party is trying hard to rally voters ahead of Sunday's European parliamentary elections. "Let's unite with all the French who contest free market, unfair policies that aim at deregulating everything," party leader Martine Aubry urged at a pre-election rally.
Not a very attractive platform, to say the least. Less than 20% of voters will go with the Socialist Party. The French Socialist Party has fractured over the years, leaving it with "half-a-dozen left-leaning movements," including the New Anti-Capitalist Party, "a Trotskyite movement," and the Left Front - Communists and Communist-leaning politicians. Germany's Social Democrats and Italy's Partito Democratico are both expected to get votes in the mid-20-percentile. The Social Democrats have lost support attributed to the decline in unions. Take a look at this comment from the World Socialist Web Site:
As the international economic crisis deepens, the contradictions and divisions within Germany’s Left Party are taking an increasingly open form. The party is no longer able to maintain its balancing act between radical phrase-mongering and right-wing political practice and now threatens to fall apart.
This from the U.K.'s Times Online:
The big beasts of Europe are set to claim victory for the Right in this week’s elections, leaving the Left to wonder why it has failed to benefit from such a serious economic crisis. Projections for the European Parliament show that the centre Right will remain the largest group, predicted to capture 262 of the 736 seats, with the centre Left trailing on 194 and the Liberal group losing ground with 85 seats,... Analysts said that some of the centre-right parties were harnessing nationalist sentiment — with Mr Serkozy ruling out Turkish EU membership and Mr Berlusconi’s party putting out anti-immigrant messages — or they had simply adopted the main planks of Blairism — high public sector spending, liberalised markets and social justice — leaving the centre Left with nothing new to offer.
Most of the action is on the Right between the mainstream and more populist Right emerging across Europe,” said Professor Simon Hix, of the LSE. “The failure of the Left is really their failure in the big six countries — voters in France are going to a more radical Left, in Germany votes are going to Die Linke [also radical left-wing] and the Spanish Government is suffering a mid-term swing, while the Left has all but disappeared in Poland and is in crisis in Italy.

Hugo Brady, research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform, added: “The real story of these elections is not the increase in the political fringe forces but the crisis in the centre Left. We seem a long way away from the days of progressive governance conferences and drawing inspiration from new Labour.

Across Europe the centre-right parties are seen as the parties you turn to and trust as a safe pair of hands.

In Britain, where the number of seats is being reduced from 75 to 69, puts the Conservatives on 24 seats (down 3 on 2004 result), Labour 15 (down 4), Liberal Democrats 10 (down 2), UKIP 10 (down 2), Green 6 (up 4), SNP 3 (up 1) and Plaid Cymru 1 (same). The full projection for the European elections forecasts that the new anti-federalist conservative group being formed by David Cameron and allies in the Czech Republic and Poland will become the fourth-largest bloc in the European Parliament with 53 seats.
As seen above, reports indicate that as the recession escalated, the Right moved more to the center so perhaps it is easier for the Left to meet them halfway.
Some fear that the inability of many European left-wing parties to attract voters is a cause -- not just a symptom -- of a rise among parties on the far right. "When people fear that they are not protected by their governments, they go back to nationalism," said Anthony Wedgwood Benn, a retired U.K. Socialist lawmaker.
In the U.S. we've seen the Left become increasingly more radical. While I'm not positive about turning-around what Obama has wrought, it's not impossible. The GOP needs to take a long, hard look at these European trends and understand that Leftist radicalism is not desirable, so don't worry about offending these fruitcakes with your rhetoric.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton