As Arizona, So the Continent

As Arizona, So the Continent
Credit: Alan English

Amid an attention-seeking quasi-trader telling the BBC how he falls asleep dreaming of another recession and the decade of gloom forecast for Europe, there are few bright spots. One was the recent success of a left-wing coalition in Denmark’s general election.

That election saw the defeat of a right-wing coalition which, allied with the far-right Danish People’s Party, earned Denmark the label of the Arizona of Europe, due to immigration policies and xenophobia. Here in Denmark, most people are happy that time’s over. A left-wing coalition has the opportunity to show what they can do, particularly in terms of growing the economy. But this isn’t just happening in Denmark, and a rising left could shape Europe’s next decade just when everyone was writing it off.

In Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, and other big players, the left has been toothless for a long while. In fact, almost the whole continent has turned conservative blue. Look to recent and future elections an a different picture emerges: local elections in Norway won by the left; regional elections earlier this year the Germany where the Greens took a conservative heartland for the first time. Should a decent, honest socialist take France’s presidency as the “safe” candidate, and 75-year-old Berlusconi lose Italy, then maybe we’ll start to see countries try things other than cutting their way to growth.

While I think the left will make fewer cuts, not using austerity as a guise to shrink government, but the BBC quickly supplanted my optimism with worry. In relation to the ongoing Greek saga, they present five options: Depression, moral hazard, political turmoil, global meltdown, and Pyrrhic victory. Beyond any victory, political turmoil doesn’t sounds so bad. Then again, this crisis is hardly multiple-choice.


TMN Editor Mike Deri Smith is no gourmet, he just has an abnormally large stomach. He lives in London. More by Mike Deri Smith

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