Michael Holmes and Geoff Naylor respond to a Guardian article by Larry ElliottLarry Elliott is right to say that “the left had its chance and blew it” after the economic crash, and right to identify the left’s lack of a clear and united narrative as one of the main reasons for this (Opinion, 30 August). Instead, the different strands of the left “all headed off in their own directions”, as Elliott says. It is worth exploring this in a little more detail and picking out two key problems.

One of the biggest obstacles to developing a common left framework was the fact that during the crisis, social democratic parties throughout Europe kept on going into right-led coalitions which were implementing cuts and austerity programmes. The subsequent collapses of the social democratic parties in Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Germany and other countries all bear witness to this.

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