“As Europe’s Political Landscape Shifts, Two-Party System Fades”
The New York Times, April 8, 2015, p.A7
“Sixty years ago, the two main British political parties, the Conservatives and Labour, took 96 percent of the vote in a clearly defined two-party system. Today, as Britain undergoes a bitter campaign before the May 7 election, the two parties are expected to split less than two-thirds of the vote. … The fragmentation of traditional party voting is increasing all over Europe. Fueled by the last recession and enabled by social media, issue-oriented or protest parties have cropped up everywhere in response to the failure of governments to deliver economic growth and security. The days of a ‘broad church’ party and governments formed by a single party are fading. And turnout in national elections has been falling since the 1970s in most Western countries, raising new questions about the health of democracy as multinational corporations and institutions like the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund influence national decisions. As expressions of increasingly fractured electorates and the decline of traditional parties, coalitions can produce unity and policy compromises. But they may also produce more homogeneity and gridlock, depriving voters of real choices. … Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform, emphasizes the failure of the European center-left to keep its promise ‘to create growth and redistribute it to make a fairer society.’ With the decline of the manufacturing sector and weaker unions, the left has been forced to buy into the orthodoxy of market economics, which ‘means their core support has been hollowed out here [in Britain],’ he said, as in France, Germany and Sweden.”
Quickie analysis: Everyone’s bourgeois now :-).