Social Democracy is on the back-foot, and increasingly centre-left political parties are struggling to win office. Bringing together a range of leading academics and experts on social democratic politics and policy, Why the left loses offers an international, comparative view of the changing political landscape, examining the degree to which the centre-left project is exhausted and is able to renew its message in a neo-liberal age.
Using case studies from the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Australia and New Zealand contributors argue that despite different local and specific contexts, the mainstream centre-left is beset by a range of common challenges. Analysis focuses on institutional and structural factors, the role of key individuals, especially party leaders, and the atrophy of progressive ideas in explaining why the centre-left is currently in retreat. Why the Left Loses is aimed at stimulating wider debate about the fortunes of the centre-left.
“This case-study methodology edifyingly delves into the specific political and policy histories in each country.” Law and Culture (Alternative Law Journal)
"This lucid and timely collection of essays deserves to be read by all those with a scholarly or political interest in the fate of social democracy." Patrick Diamond, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Rob Manwaring is a senior lecturer at Flinders University, in South Australia. He researches into the areas of labour and social democratic politics, comparative politics, political parties, and democracy.
Dr Paul Kennedy is Lecturer in Spanish and European Studies at the University of Bath. He is the author of The Spanish Socialist Party and the modernisation of Spain (Manchester University Press: 2013) and is co-author, with David Cutts, of Podemos and the Art of the Possible (Manchester University Press: forthcoming 2018).
Foreword ~ Sheri Berman
Why the left loses: understanding the comparative decline of the centre-left ~ Rob Manwaring and Paul Kennedy
Part 1: The centre-left in the Anglosphere
The case of the British Labour Party: back to the wilderness ~ Rob Manwaring and Matt Beech
Electoral competition in Canada among centre-left parties: liberals versus social democracts ~ David McGrane
The ‘soft target’ of Labour in New Zealand ~ Grant Duncan
Australian social democracy: capitalist constraints and the challenges of equality ~ Carol Johnson
Exit left: the case of Australian state Labor ~ Rob Manwaring
Part 2: The centre-left in Western Europe
Germany: little hope in times of crisis ~ Uwe Jun
The Swedish Social Democrats and the ‘new Swedish model’: playing a losing game ~ Claes Belfrage and Mikko Kuisma
Between a rock and a hard place in Spain: the PSOE ~ Paul Kennedy
The French Parti socialiste (2010-16): from office to crisis ~ Sophie Di Francesco-Mayot
Part 3: Conclusion: Why the left loses
The end of revisionism? ~ Chris Pierson
Social democracy and the populist challenge ~ René Cuperus
The dilemmas of social democracy ~ Paul Kennedy and Rob Manwaring