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I think the observation of the falling centre is spot on, but then what?

In proportional representative democracies the center can fall or at least undergo some transformation from time to time. If you have more then one axis with some strenght forming a majority can be hard. In Sweden we had a transformation in the 20ies, an almost transformation in the around 1980 and some interesting times ahead.

In the 20ies we went from having liberals and socialists forming the left versus conservatives on the right to socialists versus non-socialists. Around 1980 we had a green-nuclear axis that prevented both the soc-dems (nuclear) from ruling and the formation of a stable non-socialist majority (as it was split on the green-nuclear axis).

To have more collapsing collapses we can look at the italian political landscape in the 1990ies when the old centre was wiped of the map and new forces (primarily Berlusconi) rose instead.

So my question is what stable end states are there?

I can think of two.

Catalonian independence. Catalonia breaks with Spain and forms an independent country. Politics goes on in both countrys but the indepence-federalism axis is gone with respect to Catalonia and Spain.

Spain non-austerity. With the removal of austerity the Spanish government can again provide enough material wealth to make indepence a less critical matter. PPC and PSC can make a comeback as the important alternatives.

Of these two, the first is more likely, but perhaps there are more?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Oct 27th, 2014 at 11:28:40 AM EST
The center has fallen in Catalonia, but also in Spain. Corruption cases are finally taking a toll on the ruling PP and the national PSOE shows the same kind of secular decline as the Catalan PSC. Depending on which poll you look at, Podemos is now either in second or third place. Right now, you're looking at the PSOE facing a choice between joining Podemos and United Left in a left coalition, or joining the PP in a grand coalition. But if the decomposition of the current political economy continues for another year, there is every possibility that Podemos will win the general election.

The most toxic scenario is one in which Podemos comes 3rd but it decides that it doesn't want to conform to the convention that in a coalition the larger party has the PM job, and thus to demand that the PSOE make their leader PM in a left coalition, in order to push the PSOE to a grand coalition which will alienate it from its base.

Slightly less toxic is the scenario in which Podemos comes second , and the PSOE rather than join Podemos as a junior partner decides to join a grand coalition.

Of course, a Podemos-PSOE-IU government will send the serious people into a panic, both in Spain and in Europe.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 27th, 2014 at 11:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely agreed. The latrst corruption cases announced today will probably strenghten Podemos. If Podemos polls within 5 points of PP/PSOE, Brussels will shit kittens. Also the same collapse of the center seen in Spain is probable in the uk with ukip too.  Some writing is in order.


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 12:24:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Podemos polls within 5 points of PP/PSOE, Brussels will shit kittens.
You mean within 5 points of either or within 5 points of the sum of the two?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 03:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of either. Sum PSOE PP and you see that in Spain as a whole you get the two with only half the vote.  If Podemos bleeds PSOE and Cs+UPyD bleed PP. That only gets worse.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 11:16:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, since Podemos is within 5% of being in first place nationally, Brussels should be shitting kittens already.

The poll above gives PP + PSOE 52% and PSOE + Podemos + IU 53%. But this is vote percentages and the Spanish electoral system is highly non-proportional. Nevertheless, it looks almost certain that PP + PSOE will get less than 50% of the vote in next year's general election, and there is a fair chance that Podemos will get the most votes.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 11:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the Podemos team strong and focused enough to avoid fizzling out like new parties elsewhere in Europe?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 03:36:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't know, but they polled more strongly in their debut election (last May's European election) than, for instance, any of the Pirate parties. And they have momentum right now.

I should point out that the leading team, Iglesias, Monedero and especially Errejón are very politically savvy.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 08:10:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish I had a better idea of what the actual operation of the "circles" looked like, but I get the impression that the leadership team is solid.  That they've been able to translate indignation into actual political action is a sign that they are better organized than Occupy.  

In the US, Occupy took a very anti-politics turn very quickly, which is a problem if you want actual change. The problem was that the consensus model empowered the crazies, because it essentially meant that whoever could drag out a meeting the longest won. That doesn't bode well for a movement predicated on mass participation, because they masses have other commitments, like a job.

I have hopes for Podemos, if nothing else than that some success might provide a model for a new populist Left in the developed world. Occupy ended up as a simulacra of the indignados, because the whole show was initiated by an ad agency, but perhaps Spain can teach the world how to convert indignation into political action if Podemos can succeed.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 12:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Get some grant money and come over to study it :D

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 01:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to even be able to finish my phd so that wont be happening.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 02:09:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's state opinion polling institute is about to release an electoral barometer putting Podemos in first place in direct voter intent.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 04:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, fast forward a bit the Spanish end state looks like a new balance with a right that is pro-austerity and (as now) anti-devolution of powers and a left that is anti-austerity and pro-devolution (but not pro Catalan independence.

So as I see it (from afar) we have two scenarios.

In the first the new anti-austerity left wins in Spain, with new prosperity easing the tensions and some form of deal on more devolution (if there are no more powers that can resonably be devolved, this could be symbolic stuff) saves face on both sides. For this to happen Podemos needs to win big enough before ERC wins big enough.

In the second ERC wins big enough in Catalonia and takes it on the road towards independence in conflict with the wishes of PP (or PP-PSOE grand coalition) led austerian Spain. This leads either to Catalan independence or armed conflict.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 05:51:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps more importantly : an ERC government set on conflict would probably tilt the agenda for national elections towards the question of secession, which would probably favour PP and PSOE over Podemos and other non-traditionals.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 06:32:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only argument right now for a PP/PSOE government after next year is the need for a constitutional reform. But they have had many many years to do a reform and they haven't so that argument is just special pleading.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 06:50:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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