Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Decline And Fall Of The Socialist Empire

Whatever happened to Spain’s socialists?
The decline of the PSOE is, of course, part of a broader story. In Germany, the Social Democrats are polling around historic lows, as are the French Socialists under their unpopular president. Pasok has turned into a splinter group in the Greek parliament. In the UK, meanwhile, the venerable Labour party has undergone something of a reverse takeover, and is currently led by a politician who spent his entire career on the party’s leftist fringe. With few exceptions — Italy being the most obvious — the European centre-left finds itself in the midst of a long and painful retreat.
The Spanish case is interesting for two reasons. The first is that the PSOE has played an outsized role in national politics since the end of the Franco dictatorship, ruling Spain for 21 out of 39 years. That success reflects not least the fact that Spanish society tends towards the left: polls consistently find that the average voter is slightly left of centre. More than 32 per cent of respondents in a recent CIS poll identified as Socialists, Social Democrats or Progressives — while only 18 per cent referred to themselves as Conservatives or Christian Democrats. If the Socialists can’t make it here, can they make it anywhere?
When you've lost other liberals...

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