I often hear people who claim that Labour and the Conservatives are 'the same thing', and I just want to find out what TSRians think about it. Personally, I think it's a ridiculous thing to say. While there's a lot of pragmatism, I still think the two parties hold differing values.
They are not the same but they are associated with one another in the same way that two similarly-sized stars orbit around a common centre of gravity.
Whatever the one party does and fails at, the other will do differently. Labour, for example, became overly-right wing and authoritarian, and Conservative respond by becoming more left-wing and non-intrusive. Labour take the issues of the poorest to heart and fail, and Conservative respond by turning their sights on the issues of the poorest as we seen at the Conservative Conference just the other night.
They are not the same party, but they are locked in a binary system where the actions of one dictate the actions of the other, and the responses and actions between them are circular. For example, I'd predict that Conservative will fail at taking a shot at a left-wing position, causing Labour to re-assume their centre-left position for the general election that succeeds the next. As another example, I'd predict that Conservative will fail at taking the issues of the poor on board to a significant extent which will then result in Labour bidding to reclaim the vote of that group. And following that, we'll see more labour failures, and more conservative changes, then more conservative failures followed by more labour changes.
So what I'm saying here is that they are usually direct opposite parties - but the circular nature of their relationship means that we, the public, usually end up with the same results.
there are a lot of similarities, especially in the economy, public services, education, etc.
And also in terms of general ideology. There may have been some economic similarities in the post-war consensus days, but back then Labour and the Tories had distinct ideologies. Labour were a democratic socialist party looking out for the working classes, while the Conservatives were a party leaning towards centre-right policies.
IMO, it is this similarity in ideology which makes people think there is little difference between the two major parties. Both of them are neo-Thatcherite in the end.
Their conferences have highlighted an enormous difference.
Labour = more nice-sounding ideas, no explanation of how to pay for them. Deficit. What deficit?
Conservatives = The country's deep in the ****. Some things need saying and doing, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.
But then of course that's traditionally how things are. Labour introduce things that in the short term win over their core constituency. Then the money runs out, the economy takes a plunge, and the Conservatives are re-elected and have to fix it. And the cycle continues.
When it comes to the fundamentals, they really aren't very different. I want to see an end to protectionism, patents, central banking, nuclear weapons funding etc. Neither party is going to go anywhere near those things. **** 'em both, I say.
It is not just about their paralleled values, but the notion (not totally unfounded, btw) that Cameron is that same Blair before he rose to power in Downing street.
Notice how Cameron, when making a point, uses his thumb over his curled index finger? Blair does this too!
I believe that both political parties are slightly different (though only slightly), but that both will make equal damage in power.
What you're saying is are they ideological or catch-all parties?
I say; they're catch-all. Come on, how Socialist is Labour really? They're about as close to clause IV as... well, they're not at all. All this nationalising...
Apart from a few vocal ***** in the Tories like Hannan (libertarian), they don't seem especially right wing at all tbh either.
Both parties have steadily shifted closer into the centre.
I'd think that they're spot on.