The left across Europe are losing two battles: firstly the PR soundbite battle and secondly the economic battle at the family unit level.
These are both monsters they helped to create: firstly as Tony Robinson paraphrased, the left in the 1990s embraced the medusa og the soundbite and message over content started, and owned by the right in the 80s, and made government into an advertising and PR agency. Now that bites them again as people clasp quickly to the soundbite, "Big Society" , "stand for people who want to work hard and get on" and so on. The left has now become too intellectual in my opinion in the Scotland, England, France, Sweden and Norway at least. They align with a vague and difficult to understand set of mechanisms, largely driven now through Brussels ( like the employment agency directive). These are often to admirable goals and morals, but leave the public feeling twice removed from decision making and resultingly, euro sceptic.
The left do not just have to worry about what they say in front of their own national parties, but they have become too sensitive to the holy cow of European unity and achieving better living and working conditions through centralised European power mechanisms.
This also stems from the Left's great weakness in the 1980s: they remained with a mindset of collective-ism, a hang over from the union struggles, the establishment of modern unions and then the run away power they abused in the 1970s. Brussels and the muppet chamber in Strasbourg were seen as a natural extension of a collective, centralised view of governance and society.
However, the Left had in being the parliamentary wing for trade unions created a monster: the affluent and aspirant working classes. It was natural that better education and lower cost supply from the far east would change society away from a working class with a great deal of homogeny, to a lowest common denominator of living standard that the Left fought to better. In the UK and scandinavia, more people just became middle class and this is a kind of natural evolution away from collectiveness into individual choice over a lowest common, agreed denominator.
How are these two related in today's post sub prime catalysed credit disaster ?
Well they are very much related because the electorate is far more individualistic than any message from the new Left could pander to. Remote control government by Brussels and back room pacts is removed from the sense of nation, what people vote for and their pay packet.
The Right have created this recession: it was the very freedoms and lack of "interfering" with the strange deriviative and loan linked money markets which allowed the Right's types to basically break the law. Now the banks get bailed out to billions while it is the poor and the public worker who has to pay the bill. Yet the Tories in the UK and the Germans want to blame the Left.
The left then too tried to pander to their new monster of the choice-oriented, family and aspirant individual populations in affluent countries in the EU and further afield, by delivering more pay and career development to the public sector, more infrastructural renewal to contracters, cater for assylum seekers and the poor immigrant sectors of society, deliver better education, and of course the plain delivery of a basic national health service to an ageing population. In effect they just made the age old mistake of thinking a recession could not happen in their parliamentary period, and the economic cycle was in a perpetual "no-line-on-the-horizon" ie no cycle just up!
This was a greed: not the Gordon Gekko type we saw stacked on the sub prime market, but a general low simmering greed that crept up on us all and was clearly not sustainable.
Why was this not sustainable ? Well as David Cameron and his muppet show now conclude, the economy should be based on fundamental value creation, like the German economy. That is why the German economy has survived to this stage, selling above average quality cars to above average quality design æsthetics. Also keeping just at the highest quality end of the mechanical and electronic markets and at the larger capital item end of other markets. In fact far from the Tory model for success of a nation of small shop keepers.
Through the rest of Europe, reselling chinese wares with a large number of your consumers dependent pretty much directly on public money was a recipe for disaster. Countries as a whole to use an analogy, put more on more on the Visa Card, the "never-never" as old Scot's housewives call credit you get and forget about.
This is where Thatcher and her cronies were effective, but not as effective or rather instrumental as they take credit for: the changes in society towards a better educated workforce and for instance the digitisation of the stock markets were just as instrumental in the turn around as fighting the unions and replacing subsidy to coal, steel and eventually rail with dole payments and housing benefit.
Britain though in the last ten years has been allowed to become a sick student with a big visa bill. More and more value adding businesses who employ skilled workers have gone to China where their wares have been down graded in quality or absorbed only for German competitors to come back in at the quality end. "metal bashing " became a dirty word and the stock market didn't like it and the rich didnt want to own it.