Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
We have seen the opposite in France, with the decline of the communist party, replaced amongst the popular classes by not voting or voting for Le Pen's National Front (now the strongest party of all amongst blue collar workers). So there is something to your point.

I agree that it is better to have these votes tothe extreme left than to the extreme left, and I agree with Marek above that you get some pretty nasty stuff (populist and nationalist, and usually protectionist and corporatist).

To me today, the most relevant distinction in politics today is between the social-liberals and the national-populists, i.e. the educated, urban, richer centrists (the bobos) and the rural and/or blue collar/employees poorer traditionalists and nationalists (the dittoheads). Very arrogant of me, of course, until you realise that the bobos win few elections...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 03:26:31 PM EST
In my opinion, the examples of France, Italy and Austria, and to a lesser extent other western European countries, point to the scary fact that about 15% of the European public is at the authoritarian/xenophobic end of the spectrum.

The CDU/CSU in Germany and the PP in Spain have successfully unified the right so that they contain the extreme right ("contain" both in the sense of having them within and of keeping them under control). In fact, the only way these parties remain competitive in the face of a sociological "left" majority is that they have unified the right while the left remains fragmented.

Sometimes authoritarian/xenophobic tendencies express themselves at the "left" side of the spectrum. For instance, the Spanish Basque country is the only region of Spain without skin heads, but that is because the violent youth culture which one would usually associate with the extreme right expresses itself through the ETA-inspired (hence "socialist" or "left") "Kale Borroka" (Basque for "street violence"). In fact, ETA sympathisers make up anywhere between 10% and 15% of the vote (again the magical figure of 15%).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 09:44:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series