How did it come to this? By the end of the 1990s, the centre-left parties of Britain and Germany had been out of power for almost two decades. The shift to the right seemed to work initially. It brought the electoral successes of Tony Blair in the UK in 1997 and of Gerhard Schröder in Germany in 1998. Mr Blair was re-elected twice; Mr Schröder once. Those victories changed the political narrative to which the centre-left policy establishment is still clinging on today: that they can only win elections from the political centre.