Political data in 2009

Bale, Tim and Caramani, Danielle (2010) Political data in 2009. European Journal of Political Research, 49 (7-9). pp. 855-867. ISSN 0304-4130

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Politics in 2009 was, unsurprisingly, dominated once again by the repercussions of the global economic and financial crisis. With the partial exception of Australia, Israel and Poland, most countries were either putting together fiscal and monetary stimulus packages and rescuing banks or moving on to try to deal with the deficits that resulted from a combination of those policies and a severe decline in tax revenues. Some countries inevitably had it worse than others, with the Baltic States and Hungary suffering particularly badly and, in trying to deal with the fall-out with or without the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), having to impose austerity packages. Depressingly, both governments and opposition parties faced with elections – whether for the national or for the European parliaments – seemed to find it almost impossible to level with voters about what needed to be done, the Greek general election being a notable case in point. Still, although there were demonstrations in many capital cities, only a few of them resulted in violence. Indeed, the fact that things really only turned seriously ugly in Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania – and then not for very long – suggests, at least at first glance, some kind of correlation between the extent of the economic and financial distress and the extent of the anger shown by those who took to the streets. Whether, however, there was a correlation between the type of action taken by governments and their ideological complexion is much less clear – and not only in those countries (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania) where left and right were virtually obliged by the electoral arithmetic (rather than by their preferences) to govern together for at least part of the year. Most administrations went for, or were contemplating, similar solutions – cutting the welfare state, hitting public sector employees, targeting ‘waste’ and ramping up indirect taxation. Understandable, then, that many (and not just on the left) argued that those to blame for the crisis (not least ‘the bankers’) got off lightly, while those least able to cope ended up carrying the can for their actions – actions which in some countries (Austria, Belgium and Ireland, for instance) seem to have come perilously close to criminality.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Depositing User: Tim Bale
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:13
Last Modified: 11 May 2012 13:20
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24830
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