Social-Democracy and the Centre-Left: Decline and Fall?


by Frank

Viewed retrospectively, the significance of the Reagan-Thatcher counter-revolutionary offensive of the 1980s has been seen primarily as a political project aimed at the overturning of the post-WW2 political and social settlement; an undertaking in which it has largely succeeded.  However, perhaps of equal importance was the political assimilation of centre-left, liberal class, into this emerging neo-liberal, neo-conservative movement. I would argue that its unseemly kow-towing to the new right was a largely fortuitous development; moreover, not just in the US/UK but everywhere in Europe where the centre-left/social-democracy (CL/SD) simply crumbled in the face of this concerted political onslaught. The right could hardly believe its luck as the mainstream CL/SD proved to be such an ideological push-over.

One important advocate of this abject surrender, Tony Blair, with his creations, ’New’ Labour and the ‘Third Way’ were the epitome of late CL/SD; he was the Talleyrand to Mrs Thatcher’s Danton…

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