19 november 2011, nothing left

Once spanish elections tomorrow deliver a strong centre-right government, not one single large european country will have a government of the centre left; indeed of the 27 it's just denmark, cyprus and slovenia (austria's a left-right coalition), just over 2% of the population. And this at a time when it is supposedly the evils of capitalism, free markets gone mad and greedy profit-taking bonus-paying banks that have miserably failed, calling massively on statist support and plunging everything into recession and oblivion. So why have europeans turned so markedly to the traditional centre-right home of capital ? Part of the answer lies in a traditional wave effect, throwing the bums out and seeking change, and part is in sending nixon to china: were the left left to sort out this mess, it would seem like class war, with no hope of consensus. Also though, for all the political cross-dressing, the right at core means less public spending, the left more, and very unhappily voters have proved themselves astute enough to understand that if things are ever going to come right, the next period must be one of belt-tightening. Until the left get this, and adjust accordingly, their continuing retreat to the backbenches of europe is not going to slow.