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The Heart Beats on the Left: Book by Oskar Lafontaine

The Heart Beats on the Left

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ISBN: 9780745625829    Publisher: Polity Press Year of publishing: 2000     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 248        
This is the English--language edition of what has become one of the most controversial books in German politics today. Oskar Lafontaine was the leader of Germanya s Social Democratic party and finance...Read more
This is the English--language edition of what has become one of the most controversial books in German politics today. Oskar Lafontaine was the leader of Germanya s Social Democratic party and finance minister in Gerhard Schr?dera s government until he suddenly resigned in March 1999. Lafontainea s left--wing commitments brought him into conflict with Schr?dera s endorsement of third way politics and with his attempt to remodel the SDP along the lines of Tony Blaira s New Labour. The Heart Beats on the Left is the inside story of why Lafontaine broke with the SDP and Schr?dera s government, and why he believed that the social and political costs of Schr?dera s third way politics were too high. It is a merciless settling of scores in which the policies of Schr?der and his government are subjected to scathing criticism. But it is also the most sustained criticism of third way politics from a prominent political figure who stands on the left. A bestseller in Germany and already translated into many languages, this book is bound to be widely reviewed in English and to become a focal point for political debate about social democracy and its future.
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About the author: Oskar Lafontaine
Oskar Lafontaine was the leader of Germanya s Social Democratic Party and finance minister in Schrodera s government until he resigned in March 1999.

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Review:
a It is remarkable how much the key personalities in left--of--centre British and German politics seem to despise each other. For Cook hating Mandelson hating Mowlam hating Brown hating everyone,...Read more
a It is remarkable how much the key personalities in left--of--centre British and German politics seem to despise each other. For Cook hating Mandelson hating Mowlam hating Brown hating everyone, substitute Scharping, Vogel, Schroder and Lafontaine. Just as policy disagreements helped bring an end to the last two right--of--centre governments in Britain and Germany, Lafontainea s book makes clear, however unintentionally, that it is the abundance of personality clashes that will do the same for the current administrations in both countries. Michael Portillo once said that the Major Cabinet was a Cabinet of chums: on a personal level they actually rather liked each other. The Blair and Schroder cabinets are like vipersa nests. Both may meet sticky ends. a He complains bitterly of the difficulty of governing with four conflicting centres of power -- the party executive, the chancellora s office, the parliamentary party and the upper house. Lafontaine wanted complete control of all of them, but ended up with nothing. His experience should serve as a warning for every new Labour cabinet ministera Iain Dale, New Statesman a A revealing account of his experiences in the lead--up to and the aftermath of the Red--Green coalition of 1998 ... Lafontaine was then, as he is now in his retrospective account, uncompromising in his commitment to what he sees as the core values of the Left. In the preface to this English translation, in a message directed explicitly at British readers, he argues that "the only chance that social democrats have of winning political majorities is by representing the interests of workers, the unemployed and pensioners".a London Review of Books a Oskar Lafontainea s latest book presents his resignation from Gerhard Schroedera s government as a case study illustrating the fault lines within European Social Democracy ... the resignation issue was the abandonment of social democracy, in other words. This is itself makes the book worth reading, restoring onea s faith in the politics of principle.a Red Pepper a There is no intrinsic harm in standing out against prevailing orthodoxies: on the contrary, it can be an uncomfortable but brave position. On many of the above issues, at least until one reads this book, it is easy to sympathise with little Oskar, manfully beating his drum for what he claimed to believe in.a German Politics
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