International comrade round up
There's been lots written in the past year about what Labour can learn from Barack Obama. But Obama is not the only popular and successful centre-left politician out there in the world beyond the UK. I thought it might be interesting for Labour activists to find out more about the experience of centre-left parties which are either:
a) in government, and managing to maintain their popularity
b) in opposition, but ahead in the opinion polls (particularly those which lost power recently but managed to regroup quickly)
c) doing really badly - to learn what we shouldn't do
With the help of the Angus Reid Global Monitor, here's some examples of each. I know essentially nothing about the internal politics of any of these countries, so would welcome advice about where to find out more about what they are doing well (or not so well) in responding to the global economic crisis:
In Government, Doing Well
Australia (Kevin Rudd, Labor Party)
Elected in 2007, currently on 47% in the opinion polls.
Uruguay (Tabare Vasquez, Progressive Encounter - Broad Front)
Elected for first time ever in 2004, currently on 42% in the opinion polls, 6% ahead of the main opposition. Elections later this year.
Portugal (Jose Socrates, Socialist Party)
Elected in 2005, currently on 38%, 10% ahead of the main opposition. Elections later this year.
Norway (Jens Stoltenberg, Labour Party)
Elected in 2005, currently on 33%, 4% ahead of main opposition. In coalition with the Socialist Left and Agrarians.
Spain (Jose Zapatero, Socialist Workers Party)
Re-elected in 2008. Currently on 41%, 2.5% ahead of main opposition.
In opposition, Doing Well
Sweden (Mona Sahlin, Social Democrats)
Lost power in 2006. The Left Alliance is on 50%, 4% ahead of the Centre-Right governing coalition. Elections in 2010.
Ireland (Eamon Gilmore, Labour)
Never been one of the two major parties. Currently on 22%, just 1% behind governing party Fianna Fail. Up 8% since last November.
Greece (George Papandreou, PASOK)
Lost power in 2004 after eight years in power. Currently on 38%, 3% ahead of governing centre-right party.
Doing even worse than us
Germany (Franz Muentefering, SPD)
Currently in coalition with Christian Democrats. Down to 23% in recent opinion polls. Elections in September.
Hungary (Ferenc Gyurcsany, Socialist Party)
Elected in 2006. Got into trouble when caught on tape admitting that they lied to win the last elections. Lost a third of their support since last year. Currently on 21%, 43% behind the main opposition.