This weakness should give conservatives no pleasure.
Dan Hannan writes: Here’s a startling fact: There have been eight leaders of the British Labour Party in the past 40 years. Seven of them failed to win a single general election. The exception, Tony Blair, was a Labour politician only in the most technical sense. Leftists saw him as a disguised conservative, a cuckoo in the nest. To this day, Labour activists use “Blairite” as the worst of insults, viler even than “Tory.”
Let’s widen the camera shot a little. All over Europe, traditional parties of the Center-Left have been losing badly. As I write, opinion polls show the French Socialists in fourth place, the Dutch Labour Party in seventh. Greece’s PASOK, the leading party since the early 1980s, is now polling at 7 percent. Spain’s PSOE, which had a comfortable majority as recently as 10 years ago, has been displaced by the more radical Podemos. Social Democrats in former communist countries, such as Poland and Hungary, have, if anything, fared even worse.
What is going on? The immediate explanation is clear enough. The established parties of the Center-Left backed the merger of Europe’s currencies in the 1990s. As the euro brought poverty to the south and tax increases to the north, voters turned against the politicians whose fingerprints were on the murder weapon.
In most cases, those parties then made things worse by backing the 2008 bank bailouts, convincing many of their former supporters that they were on the side of wealthy financiers rather than of working people.
But a collapse on such a scale doesn’t happen overnight. The parties aligned to the Party of European Socialists – the main Center-Left bloc in Europe – dominated Europe in the 1990s and, as late as 2004, were still more likely to be in office than not. Now, according to the latest opinion survey, their support is below 20 percent in the EU as a whole. True, there are one or two holdouts. Socialists have managed to win elections in Sweden and – mystifyingly given how badly it suffered from the euro racket – Portugal. But something is going on that is deeper than the recent downturn. Read the rest of this entry »
Socialism in Europe is increasingly defined by hatred
Tom Rogan writes: As enlightened arbiters of human interest and morality, socialists get angry when they don’t get their way. This unpleasant truth has been on very public display in Europe this week.
First, France. On Monday, infuriated by Air France’s necessary reforms to reduce costs and improve productivity, hundreds of airline employees attacked two of the company’s executives. Video of the incident shows the executives throwing themselves over a fence to escape.
While the French government has condemned the violence, it is not an isolated incident. Just a few weeks ago, Parisian taxi drivers waged a violent uprising against competition — smashing Uber cars and assaulting drivers. The cabbies couldn’t bear the possibility of passengers choosing lower fares, and they got their way. Uber is now banned in France.
Then there’s the United Kingdom. This week, Britain’s Conservative Party held its annual conference in Manchester. But while the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats held their 2015 conferences without incident, things were different for the Tories. It began Sunday, when a group of young conservatives became surrounded by a baying mob. That incident ended with the mob hitting the conservatives with flagpoles and an egg.
“While this week’s events in Britain and France are sorry tales, the leftist fury flows naturally from socialist ideology. After all, where capitalism empowers individuals to use their skills for common advantage, socialism encourages people to believe society is the state and that we’re all subjects to it.”
Then on Monday, a journalist from that well-known conservative outlet, The Huffington Post, was spat upon. Every day of the conference, attendees lining up outside have been subjected to swearing and intimidation. Yet as much as those incidents are shocking in and of themselves, they speak to a deeper truth. Socialism in Europe is increasingly defined by hatred.
“As a result, while capitalism provides for broadly shared human prosperity, socialism provides only for the subsidy of human suffering.”
In France, the alliance between labor unions and government has fostered a climate of special-interest privilege and lawlessness. (Sadly, this attitude is seeping into U.S. politics as well.) French labor unions are stretching the bounds of legality as far as possible. Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman writes: Call it “Jeremy Corbyn syndrome.” This distressing malady has manifested most acutely in British liberals, but it is an epidemic spreading throughout the transatlantic left. It is a disorder characterized by a pathological refusal to acknowledge or accept the admonition of the public and a petulant, uncompromising response to rebuke. The symptoms of this self-destructive condition are beginning to be observed in a new host: American Democrats.
“The symptoms of an American version of this ailment are most easily observed in the rise of the self-described socialist and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to presidential contender status.”
The scale of its losses in the quinquennial U.K. general elections earlier this year shocked Labour. The voters soundly rejected a modest center-left agenda promoted by former Labour leader Ed Miliband. Instead, the British delivered to Prime Minister David Cameron the first outright Tory majority government since 1992. Miliband resigned in disgrace and sent his party scrambling to redefine itself. And redefine itself it did, as a far-left institution unreflective of the British liberal minority. Labour’s defeat sent a cantankerous and previously marginalized subgroup of liberals into a fit of pique that yielded the ascension of the irresponsible parlor-socialist Jeremy Corbyn to leadership. He has set about trying to rehabilitate some of Britain’s most irresponsible figures and ideas.
Corbyn’s unabashed embrace of radical points of view palatable only to the minority of the minority is telling. A juvenile peevishness has overtaken the influential British left, and they are determined not to sway with the will of the electorate but to stand athwart it – even if that means many more years in the wilderness.
“But that is only the most outwardly evident sign of contagion. There are more subtle indications that this plague has taken root in an even broader population of susceptible Democratic victims.”
The symptoms of an American version of this ailment are most easily observed in the rise of the self-described socialist and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to presidential contender status. But that is only the most outwardly evident sign of contagion. There are more subtle indications that this plague has taken root in an even broader population of susceptible Democratic victims. Read the rest of this entry »
John Nolte reports: In what could easily be a career-ender, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday that for the last 12 year both he and his network have repeatedly told a false story about a helicopter Williams was in being forced down due to RPG fire during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The Stars and Stripesreports that as recently as Friday Williams repeated this false story and did so “during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him.”
“Williams’ 12 year lie is a disaster for the anchor and for the network that made him the face of its news division. Obviously no one at NBC News bothered to check a story that was just too good to check.”
It was during an interview with Stars and Stripes that Williams finally confessed to his 12 year lie. But this only came after the crewmembers who were in the actual helicopter that was hit came forward and said Williams wasn’t in that chopper or the other two choppers that were close by in a formation. In fact, the helicopter Williams was in arrived a full hour after the three choppers in question made an emergency landing.
“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams told Stars and Stripes. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”
Here’s the lie Williams told Friday. The video is here:
“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on the broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
During tonight’s NBC Nightly News Williams recanted with the claim he told the lie in order to honor a soldier:
Williams’ 12 year lie is a disaster for the anchor and for the network that made him the face of its news division. Obviously no one at NBC News bothered to check a story that was just too good to check. Worse, this will only compound the credibility and ratings issues that have damaged the NBC News brand for a few years now. Read the rest of this entry »
I watched this segment live this morning, and my main reaction was despair, the intellectual deficiency of the host, David Gregory, makes him a poor match for Tony Blair. As an interviewer, Gregory is a like a rusty cannonball tied around the ankle of an already weak and suffering CNN. Legendary “Meet The Press“ Host Tim Russert is sincerely missed.
Earlier this week, former Prime Minister Tony Blairsaid the roots of terrorist actions happening in the Middle East and beyond is “a radicalized and politicized view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam’s true message,” and he elaborated on Meet the Press Sunday morning.
“We have to liberate ourselves from this thinking that somehow it’s our actions that have caused radical Islam.”
Blair said the problems in Middle Eastern countries have a common theme: “a disruptive effect of an ideology, based on a extreme and perverted view of the proper faith of Islam.” He said this radical ideology is still being exported from the Middle East and it’s spreading across the world.
“The problem around this is Islamic ideology…you can never give up on these things, do not give up on the Middle East.”