Sunday, April 27, 2008

As in Spain, so also in the world at large?

I've been thinking for some time that the entire world seems to moving Left politically, dragging the Center and Right with it. This recent article by Soeren Kern at the Brussels Journal talks about the conservative party in Spain, but I see a lot of parallels with conservatism in the USA and elsewhere:

Spanish Conservatives Face Identity Crisis, Power Struggle
Spanish conservatives are now in open warfare against each other as two opposing factions seek to gain control over the ideological future of the center-right Partido Popular (PP), the main opposition party in Spain. The internal battle has been brewing for a number of years, but has become a very public affair ever since Mariano Rajoy, the party’s leader, lost the general election on March 9.

The fact that the winner of that election, Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was at best a mediocre candidate, one who should have been relatively easy to defeat at the polls, has added to calls for a major reform of the PP. And adding injury to insult, the 2008 vote was a virtual replay of the previous general election in 2004, when Zapatero defeated Rajoy by a similar margin. [...]

Spain's conservative party has been trying to hold together a coalition of center right groups, but there is a power struggle within the party between religious and secular elements. Unless they can find common ground for compromise, they may be stuck, and continue to lose elections. Read the whole thing for the details. But I found it not only educational about Spanish politics; I see this same struggle happening in many other countries as well. It's a new global political reality that conservatives everywhere are having to contend with.


Troy said...

Seen from America it could seem that the world is moving left, but seen from over here in Europe it is quite different. Spain is a leftwing oasis amidst neoliberals posing as conservatives. Berlusconi has just won in Italy, Sarkozy sits in France and Merkel in Germany. Then look to England where labour just took a huge knock on the chin and lost London. Closer to home on your side, Bush Jr. rules from Ottawa and Mr. Calderon sits in Mexico City. Things look pretty right to me.

Chas said...

How you view things would depend much on what your definition of conservative. What's called conservative in Europe is still to the left of what conservative means in the USA.

I'm not saying the entire world has moved left in absolute terms; it's more subtle than that. I mean that left wing politics has become so mainstream, that the political center has also shifted left. So much so, that conservatives on the right who used to be considered normal are now labeled extreme, and are not as easily electable. Spain seems a good example of this.

"Conservatives" like Sarkozy and Merkel are still socialists. In the German context Merkel may be conservative, but she's no Margaret
Thatcher. Ditto Sarkozy in the French context.

Many American conservatives don't consider George Bush a genuine conservative, and also find John McCain too liberal. As the political center is pulled left of where it used to be, the definition of conservative changes. As a result, people who used to be regarded as conservative are now seen more as radicals, and are becoming marginalized.

The ebb and flow from left to right in politics is a natural balancing process. But when the defining center shifts, so does the world.