A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

International patterns

In the US, the Democrats won the mid-terms because moderate candidates from groups like the DLC, the NDN and the Blue Dog Democrats (who make me look like a raving leftie) recaptured the political centre ground.

In France the latest polling in the PS primary for Socialist Presidential candidate put modernising candidate Segolene Royal on 58%, another party moderate Dominique Strauss-Kahn on 32% and the hard left candidate Fabius on only 9%.

In Australia party rightwinger Kim Beazley is back as leader of the Labor Party.

Here, the hard left will view it as an achievement if John McDonnell even gets enough nominations to get on the ballot paper for Labour Leader.

A pattern emerging?


Anonymous internationaleditor said...

I think this is a rather peculiar interpretation of the Democrats' victory in the US. Their strategy was hardly a sharp tack to the right - more a case of picking the right candidates to win in their particular location, while seeking to neutralise some of the wedge issues that the Republicans have successfully used against them.

Often that meant picking moderate candidates in moderate districts and adopting a more cautious position on controversial cultural and social issues.

But even the culturally conservative Democrats have adopted a far more left-wing, populist stance on economic questions of wealth distribution and labour market regulation, and strikingly on the environment as well.

Just read the recent article by Virginia's new Senator Jim Webb in the Wall Street Journal as an example - and he's considered on of the most conservative of the Dems' new Senatorial intake.

As for Segolene Royal, she's certainly a moderniser and has been talked about as being a Blairite in the UK press, but that interpretation suggests a certain ignorance of French politics.

Royal's support is drawn from across the PS and includes leftish figures such as Arnaud Montebourg and the soft-left Nouveau Parti Socialiste current. She has sold her candidacy by offering something different to the political elites on all sides - essentially she has positioned herself as an anti-establishment candidate.

There may not be much in the US or France to cheer about for the hard left, but I would suggest that there isn't too much for the hard-liners on Labour's right wing to celebrate either.

5:45 pm, November 19, 2006


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