The downfall of centre-left

28 05 2008

Europe’s centre-left is in disarray culminating in disastrous performance of the British Labour Party. Various explanations have been offered but in my opinion Benny Peiser gets closest to the truth. It’s about being green, stupid!

Many analysts of Labour’s disintegration attribute the collapse of support to the current economic downturn, a perfect storm of global credit crunch combined with falling house and rising oil prices. In reality, the defeats Labour has suffered in recent elections mirror the deepening crisis now affecting almost every social democratic party in Europe. New Labour’s pledge to evade the burden of high taxation has been broken.

Labour’s foolhardy [environmental] policies are shaped by the conviction that, in the words of Miliband, tackling climate change is “the mass mobilizing movement of our age.” The principles of fairness and equality used to stand at the heart of centre-left governments. Protecting the interests of poor and disadvantaged members of society was essential to the popular appeal of left and labour parties. Those parties have substituted these ideals with an environmental program in which saving the planet for the generations of the future has taken priority over the principle of liberating the underprivileged and disadvantaged from poverty and restitution today.

Instead of addressing the issues of working-class voters European centre-left parties embraced the fashionable crusades of the green elites. They’ve became so seduced by the grand environmental rhetoric that they started governing on the basis of computer-generated scenarios of the future while ignoring the world unfolding around them. It is clear that voters are not buying it. This will also happen in Australia once the costs of Rudd’s environmental indulgences become clear to the public.

I will add, that on top of the green woes, the contradictions of multiculturalism are coming home to roost. As in the case of environmental policies, when it comes to multiculturalism, European centre-left parties  have became the slaves to ideology while brushing aside the real concerns that many voters have about where the multiculturalism and mass-scale immigration are taking them.

The history teaches us that utopian ideas like environmentalism and multiculturalism rarely live up to their grand narrative. In fact they mostly end in misery in tears. Benny’s conclusion is spot on:

Britain’s Labour government may believe that its climate policies are saving the planet. But in the process they are destroying the foundations of the party.

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