... The recent financial crisis has thus reproduced many of the conditions that brought social democracy into being. And it made the case for liberal economic purity harder to make.
In such circumstances, there are four possible explanations for the electoral failure of the Centre Left. The first is that European electorates chose to send a resounding message to people at the Fabian Society not to muck about with their beloved neoliberal capitalism. This seems unlikely. The second, more credible, explanation is that in difficult economic times parties promoting prudent spending and lower taxes tend to do better. A third explanation is that the Left in general has not offered a coherent alternative to the market economics that it says has failed. There is certainly truth in this. Yet in the United States, conservatives are retreating as a self-confident Centre Left captures the public mood.
This leaves as the most powerful and convincing a fourth explanation. The leadership of European social democratic parties in one country after another has been poor. They could win, but they do not. ...
Its an important challenge, which needs more debate here too, though I suspect the issue goes deeper than that.
Though at least, in the view of The Times, it probably wasn't entirely the Fabians wot lost it.