Another Blow to Leftism in Europe
By Bruce Walker
June 16, 2008
I recently wrote an article, The Decline of Leftism in Europe, which outlined just how badly the Left in Europe has done in elections since Operation Iraqi Freedom. A conservative ousted a Leftist as President of Germany; then a conservative ousted a Leftist as Chancellor of Germany; then a conservative ousted a Leftist as Prime Minister of Canada; then a conservative pro-American ousted an anti-American (Chirac) as President of France; and then a conservative pro-American ousted a Leftist as Prime Minister of Italy.
These elections reflect what happened at the top level of national government, but what has happened at the local level is just as important. The decline of Leftism in Europe began five years ago when the Left began losing state elections in Germany with alarming margins until it reached the point that, under the German Basic Law, Gerhard Schroeder simply could not govern effectively anymore.
The movement against Leftism has also been reflected unprecedented conservative mayoral victories in Rome and in London, both within the last few weeks, and in a swamping of the Labour Party by the Conservative Party in council elections throughout England and Wales in late April. It looked as if things could not get much worse for the Left in Europe, but on May 22nd the British Labour Party took it on the chin again.
By-elections in Britain are what we would call special elections. Republicans have just lost three consecutive special elections for vacant congressional seats that Republicans had held. Pundits, rightly, noted that this was a very bad sign for Republicans. But it has hardly been unprecedented for our two major political parties to lose seats in Congress in special elections. Senator Hutchison won a special election in Texas after Clinton took office, switching that Senate seat to Republican and Senator Wyden won a special election in Oregon a couple of years after that switching that Senate seat to Democrat. Both political parties have gained and lost House and Senate seats over the last fifteen years or so.
The story in Britain has been different. What happened in Crewe and Nantwich constituency on May 22nd? Prior to May 22nd, the Conservative Party itself had not gained a seat in the House of Commons through a by-election in thirty years. A very popular MP (Member of Parliament) died and the Labour Party recruited her daughter to run for this open seat, which had never elected a Conservative MP in its history. Conventional politics should have dictated that the sentimental vote for the daughter of the dead MP in a Labour stronghold would have yielded an easy Labour victory. What happened instead was a Conservative victory far greater than anyone had predicted. The prognosticators in the United Kingdom say that if an election were held today, the Conservative Party would have a very comfortable majority.
This is good news for us. Although Tony Blair was a gem, the reason that Blair held onto the premiership as long as he did was because the Conservative Party supported him in his war on terrorism. The scoundrels who mocked America and Israel and who took money from Islamic hate groups were Labour Party members. "Red Ken" Livingstone, the Labour Party Mayor of London who just lost to Conservative Boris Johnson, mocked Jews and Israel. As one example, in 2005 Livingstone compared a Jewish reporter for the Evening Standard to a concentration camp guard.
What about Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party member who replaced him? Boris has said about a Palestinian suicide bomber: "What made him leave the Askar refugee camp near Nablus, pass through the Hawara checkpoint, and kill himself and three blameless Israelis, including Leah Levine, a Holocaust survivor? How could anyone persuade a child to do this?" As Mayor, Johnson has said "I am delighted that one of my first acts as Mayor of London is to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel...I will do whatever I can to extend the hand of friendship to Israel, a nation I believe in, support and admire." This is a sea change in the attitude of the government of London.
What of David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader who will become Prime Minister when his party wins the next general election? He is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel as well as Anglicans for Israel. Cameron calls himself a "Zionist" (in an age in which that is not particularly popular.) David Cameron is also an unapologetic admirer of Senator McCain and he was the first Conservative Party leader in years to visit President Bush. While Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister, has also been friendly to Israel and to America, his Labour Party has not.
Brown and his party clearly do not have the confidence of the British people. The recent council losses, the London mayoral loss, the by-election loss all show that. Brown did not win election to the premiership, except through the leadership of the Labour Party, and the British people overwhelmingly want a general election. If he calls elections early, Labour will lose and all four of the major states in democratic Europe will have governments that are conservative, pro-American and pro-Israeli. The dominos of Leftism in Europe keep falling. This is all very good news
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.