Liam Hehir has a piece in the Manawatu Standard that explores how the left are being left behind by the march of conservatism.
It is a very good and well thought out article.
He outlines the catalogue of victories in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and the US.
But why is this happening and why is the left so hopeless.
When you survey the current state of Anglosphere politics, certain themes emerge. These don’t apply in every instance – we are talking about geographically and economically diverse countries, after all. Nevertheless, there are certain commonalities that go some of the way to explaining the current Centre-Right ascendancy.
First of all, conservative politicians have made the best of the limited means available to them. Harper’s nine years in power have included the two longest lasting minority governments in Canada’s history. Cameron’s government has had to struggle through five years of being shackled to an unpopular coalition partner – and even now its majority is puny compared to those the party enjoyed in the Thatcher years.
Our own electoral system has meant that, despite very high approval ratings, John Key has never had much margin for error.
This leads on to the second important factor in conservative electoral success: self-control.
Because none of these governments have the power to impose wide-ranging reforms, conservative politicians have had to restrain their actions and rhetoric. This comes easily for some – Key and Cameron are not temperamentally conservative anyway. For others, like Harper and Abbott, there has been more of a recognition that certain battles can’t be won and therefore aren’t worth fighting.
This moderation is sometimes frustrating for conservative voters, but it also does a good job taking the wind out of the histrionics of Left wing commentators.