In several European countries, there is a shrinking political middle and a surge of extremist parties. The result is that Left and Right opponents must govern together in the absence of any alternative. These grand Labour-Christian-Liberal coalition governments are relatively new and mostly stable. It proves that the former huge differences between Left/Labour and Right/Liberal have decreased to a minimum. Note: the word Liberal has a very different meaning outside the USA (source).
The extremist parties are not always easy to label as Left or Right as they often combine Left and Right ideas. Their agenda may combine items like: less EU, less immigrants, better elderly care, better hospital care, more houses/ jobs/welfare for locals, more justice/police. Usually they are rather shallow on how to fund their wish list (eg, less Defence).
Thinking in Left and Right is even clouding our judgement. Political parties in the middle often have an international focus while extremist parties often promote national interests. Politics is reshaping itself from a Left vs Right division into nationalism versus internationalism.
The Dutch government is a classic example as it represents the Labour Party (international/left) and the Liberal Party (international/right). The government is usually attacked by the two main extremist parties, being the Socialist Party (nationalist/left) and the Freedom Party (nationalist/right).
Center parties could merge into one party with an international focus while still having some specific Christian, Labour and Liberal agenda points. The same applies to the extremist nationalist parties, although their views on the market-economy would probably prevent that – for now.
To some extent, the same is happening in USA. Donald Trump is clearly an advocate of national interests, also see my 29 may 2016 blog. His rise is on the very same nationalist waves as European leaders like Farage, Le Pen, and Wilders. Many – if not most – US voters have never really cared about anything happening outside the USA.
The enormous benefit of UK’s Brexit is that the dangers of nationalism finally become specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related – a.k.a. SMART (Wiki). Before they were mainly threat assessments by academic experts while feeling and seeing is believing for the common man.
The trend towards globalism is a natural phenomenon. Hunter-gatherers created farms, farms became (tribal) villages, villages became cities, successful cities became city-states, cities and states became nations, nations became supranational federations. The final step is full interconnectedness.
Nationalism is against Change and in favour of Power. Internationalism is about gaining benefits through the exchange of knowledge, money, people, goods & services while sacrificing national power in that process. History has taught us that nationalism always loses, albeit usually after bloody conflicts (eg, wars). Change is an unstoppable force of Nature; see my 13 April 2016 blog.
In my view, today’s choice between internationalism and nationalism is a much clearer choice than a – mostly outdated – choice between Left and Right. This choice even follows from my concept of the 7 Belief systems: an existential choice between Knowledge (Philosophy, Science, the Truth) and Power (Money, Politics, Religion). Only Love is blind – for both.