This book makes an important contribution to the existing literature on European social democracy in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and ensuing recession. It considers ways in which European social democratic parties at both the national and European level have responded to the global economic crisis (GEC). The book also considers the extent to which the authors might envisage alternatives to the neo-liberal consensus being successfully promoted by those parties within the European Union (EU). The book first explores some of the broader thematic issues underpinning questions of the political economy of social democracy during the GEC. Then, it addresses some of the social democratic party responses that have been witnessed at the level of the nation state across Europe. The book focuses in particular on some of the countries with the longest tradition of social democratic and centre-left party politics, and therefore focuses on western and southern Europe. In contrast to the proclaimed social democratic (and especially Party of European Socialists) ambitions, the outcomes witnessed at the EU level have been less promising for those seeking a supranational re-social democratization. In order to understand the EU-level response of social democratic party actors to the Great Recession, the book situates social democratic parties historically. In the case of the British Labour Party, it also identifies the absence of ideological alternatives to the 'there is no alternative' (TINA)-logic that prevailed under the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
a new leader eager to turn the page on the New Labour era seem to have opened
up the possibility for a renewal of ideas and policy in the Labour ranks. Now in
opposition, the Labour Party has a chance to reflect on the meaning of the crisis.
The current situation also offers an opportunity to seek an explanation for the
financial meltdown and assess New Labour’s responsibility in the debacle.
‘Thereisnoalternative’ – TINA – was the sound bite which Margaret
Thatcher, the Conservative Prime Minister, once famously used. This acronym
has come to signify that
David J. Bailey, Jean-Michel De Waele, Fabien Escalona and Mathieu Vieira
The historical relationship between economic crisis and social democracy is both intrinsic and far from straightforward. In terms of electoral performance, an overview suggests that social democratic parties have fared badly as a result of the global economic crisis. The crisis of neo-liberalism creates the potential to consider a shift towards an alternative socio-economic model and set of ideas. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book discusses the relationship between social democratic parties and what they claim were two 'Faustian pacts' entered into: one with European integration, and the other with the knowledge-based economy. In the case of the British Labour Party, the book further identifies the absence of ideological alternatives to the 'there is no alternative' (TINA)-logic that prevailed under the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Does European integration contribute to, or even accelerate, the erosion of intra-party democracy? This book is about improving our understanding of political parties as democratic organisations in the context of multi-level governance. It analyses the impact of European Union (EU) membership on power dynamics, focusing on the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party (PS), and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The purpose of this book is to investigate who within the three parties determines EU policies and selects EU specialists, such as the candidates for European parliamentary elections and EU spokespersons. The book utilises a principal-agent framework to investigate the delegation of power inside the three parties across multiple levels and faces. It draws on over 65 original interviews with EU experts from the three national parties and the Party of European Socialists (PES) and an e-mail questionnaire. This book reveals that European policy has largely remained in the hands of the party leadership. Its findings suggest that the party grassroots are interested in EU affairs, but that interest rarely translates into influence, as information asymmetry between the grassroots and the party leadership makes it very difficult for local activists to scrutinise elected politicians and to come up with their own policy proposals. As regards the selection of EU specialists, such as candidates for the European parliamentary elections, this book highlights that the parties’ processes are highly political, often informal, and in some cases, undemocratic.
her to them.
‘Thereisnoalternative’: Thatcher’s use of logos
Because of her logos, Thatcher appealed to a much wider audience while also enhancing her own credibility as a party leader and prime minister. She proved particularly skilful at marshalling an array of empirical evidence, philosophical premises
and arguments to attack the policies of her opponents, and thereby elicit support for
her particular version of conservatism. Many of her speeches, both to Conservative
audiences and in the Commons, were broad-ranging and cited a plethora of statistics, yet they
treated as agents in their own right rather than uneven and
contested processes deeply influenced by the decisions and
strategies of social actors. 10 However, although it is important to demystify
overblown claims that ‘thereisnoalternative’ to the
trajectory laid out by uncontrollable social forces, the effect of
those forces still needs to be kept in mind
Oratory and rhetoric in Conservative Party politics
Richard Hayton and Andrew S. Crines
-liberal economic experiment during the 1980s. Pathos is used to legitimate neo-liberalism (Crines, 2014) whilst simultaneously using negative emotions
to attack Labour’s economic record and arguments. Consequently, emotional rhetoric tends to use fear to imply the dangers of another (collectivist) course of action,
encapsulated by Thatcher’s mantra that ‘thereisnoalternative’ (Chapter 7).
All politicians like to claim that ‘the facts’ are on their side, and that their arguments
are grounded in ‘reality’ (or at least a version of it). Indeed, the construction of reality
derived exclusively from the logic of
capitalist accumulation and exploitation. In contrast,
neo-liberalism looks to an active state first to restore and then to
maintain and extend the conditions within which the logic of
capitalist reproduction can work to the full. In this context, an
essential component of its project – reflected in the claim
that ‘thereisnoalternative’ – is
A short account of the Revolutionary Communist Party
drew attention to the absence
of ‘a clear divide between left and right, or between parties representing
different social classes’:
There is no great clash of competing visions of the future for humanity. Instead,
all shades of opinion within mainstream politics now appear to agree that
thereisnoalternative. That general lack of belief in the possibility of changing
things for the better has itself become the central issue of our times.54
In the 1980s, the RCP had run candidates in elections as a focus for
campaigning and party-building activities. Now, in the
); Emile Durkheim calls it a cult of
egotistical individualism, amoral and self-destructive (Durkheim 1966,
p. 209); while in the words of Adorno and Horkheimer further aspects of
the beast involve stupefied ‘mass consumers’ deceived and manipulated
by the ‘culture industry’; and ‘authoritarian personalities’ looking to the
strong master (Adorno and Horkheimer 1992 p. 120). The purportedly
‘objective and self-regulating laws of the market’, and the ‘value-neutral’
‘science’ of economics; the ‘fact’ that ‘thereisnoalternative’ to a society
organized on neo