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Europe’s failing left

The centre left's electorally successful technocratic reform project of the 1990s now seems to have run its course. The left needs a new story—above all for its core supporters—yet one that does not retreat to the failed statism of the 1970s

By Ernst Hillebrand   March 2008

The centre-left parties of western Europe are in retreat. They have lost power in a number of countries in the past few years, even in places where they have governed with some success. The centre left looks set to lose out in Italy and has lost direction in Britain. Four of the five Nordic countries—social democratic societies par excellence—now have conservative heads of government. The German SPD is in power as a junior coalition partner but threatened by a new party to its left; in France the Socialists are in a mess. Is this merely the normal swing of the…

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