Sunday, 7 May 2017
The end of social democracy?
With John McDonnell avoiding the question about whether he was a Marxist or not the fact is that there across the West there is a general decline of not just the political centre but also social democracy. This theme was picked up by Niall Ferguson in The Sunday Times today (no link £):
American Democrats and British Labour supporters have essentially the same problem. Blame the leadership, by all means. But the reality itself is that the centre left- whether it calls itself progressive, Labour or social democrat - is in disarray. And it can't be because all the candidates are terrible. It's because social democracy is dead.
His evidence is based on the decline of European Socialist parties and the rise of Trump. The Greek left failed miserably, everywhere else these parties are in decline. The runoff for French president is between two "non- establishment parties.
But more than this Ferguson makes a disturbing observation:
The old coalition between progressive elites and the proletariat is broken. The former are too liberal on immigration, too in love with multiculturalism. The latter loathe both.
This seemingly sums up the reasons for the growth of the right leaning parties. Certainly the recent wave of immigration encouraged by the German PM has encouraged the turn to the right.
Too many, too male and frankly too Muslim for so many people in her country, across Europe and here in the UK. It was the final nail in the coffin of Britain's membership of the EU.
In the UK an out of touch activist caste around Jeremy Corbyn has weakened and for the foreseeable future made the Labour Party unelectable despite being the largest political party in Europe. Uniting the comrades has simply put all these people in one place but virtually no one outside is listening.
The local elections give an early indication of where this country will be for the next five years but what happens to the the centre/centre left is unclear. A Corbyn led defeat will give rise to more internecine warfare. A Liberal revival seems increasing unlikely and frankly irrelevant.
The time for a new party is not now , the right conditions do not yet exist though many of us would rally to it. First the old order must wither away it would seem.