>Czech Republic: Oranges on red alert

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The Czech election campaign is indeed already in full swing – at least if you are a Social Democrat. Not only are party workers – or, possibly paid employees, you never know these days – giving out orange roses at the local supermarket, but ČSSD is already forking out on a national billboard campaign. Most of it is predicatble stuff: caring nurse leaning over old people with a smile and promises of free health care; Mr and Mrs Average and their two kids and some slogan about looking their ‘social certainties’ paying out of the profits of the electricity oligopoly ČEZ etc etc.
But here’s an interesting one: “We will not allow the return of communism”. Puzzling, as the Czech Republic is not on the verge of a second Bolshevik Revolution – unless, of course, you believe the more over the top right-wing propaganda that the Social Democrats are themselves a load of old commies, which even the right seem (temporarily) to have given up on … The real subtext I suppose is that they are telling – well, kind of suggesting to – their voters that they are not going to cosy up to the Czech Republic’s hardline Communist Party (KSČM) when, in political reality, they will strike whatever deal they might need to with KSČM to govern if the electoral numbers come good for them in October: something well short of a formal coalition, I should add…
And, of course, that makes perfect sense if you want a country brimming with enough ‘social certainties’ to ensure that everyone has enough money to keep the wheels of capitalism turning down at the local Interspar. I’m not sure, however, if this billboard wasn’t perhaps something of own goal in reminding everyone of this rather obvious home truth of Czech politics.
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