We in the Socialists and Democrats value democracy so much that we put it in our name. Yet democracy worldwide is under more threat than ever before. A President of the United States who won fewer personal votes than his rival is elected. A referendum on membership of the European Union won on lies, deceit and by a small majority. These are just two obvious examples, but there are plenty more. A poll in Austria not too long ago showed that one in every four citizens desired a ‘strong man’ to lead the country. Other evidence seems to show that young people, who didn’t experience the horrors of the two World Wars in the last century, do not value democracy as much anymore. Within member states of the European Union, there are governments who are becoming increasingly autocratic.
We in the Socialists and Democrats have to combat this. We have to recognise that democracy has its weaknesses, but it is the best system we could possibly have. That’s why the European elections in 2019 and general elections in member states are so important. We have to show that the European future of lower social inequality, generational justice and equal opportunities for all is left. May 2019 is our first opportunity do that. If we don’t, the consequences could be worse than anything we can imagine.