In the German elections the headline was the turn to the right, largely due to gains for the free-market Free Democrats. The election was a disaster for the SPD.
But big advances were made by Die Linke (Left Party), a far left grouping made up of ex-communists from the East and disillusioned SPDers. They got 12% of the vote and increased their representation in Parliament from 54 to 76. A majority of their MPs are women.
In Portugal, Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) has won 16 seats in Parliament.
This demonstrates that parties to the left of New Labour-style social democracy can break through if they are ready to work consistently and people willing to sink their differences. A lesson surely for our divided left.