What’s Left in Scandinavia is the Social Democratic Welfare Consensus

David Arter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    This article profiles the parties of the left in all five Scandinavian countries. It distinguishes the 'Old Parliamentary Left' and the 'Newer Parliamentary Parties of the Left', and analyses various aspects of the traditional dominance of social democracy. It is argued that, paradoxically, although Scandinavian social democracy appears in long-term electoral decline, what is left is the social democratic welfare consensus. This has not been seriously challenged. Instead, the newer parties to the left of the social democrats have made advances at the polls, not by attacking the basic consensus but by attacking the social democrats for appearing to abandon it. The social democrats, it is suggested, have retreated from the 'social democratic model'. It has been this neo-liberalisation of Scandinavian social democracy which has allowed competitor parties to appeal to voters by appropriating a traditional social democratic agenda.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-98
    Number of pages23
    JournalParliamentary Affairs
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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