Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    This sounds incredibly stupid I know but I haven't a clue about politics. I want to be a journalist and I need to more clued up on UK politics. Previously I had no interest whatsoever hence this question.

    So could someone nicely explain the whole concept of UK politics and what is meant by being 'left or right wing'? Thanks.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    O.K. well left and right wing is a simplified view of the whole political spectrum but it's a good place to start.

    We'll start with the Right: On a social level, the right generally believes that a hierarchy in society is natural and normal. For them, the idea of a class system whereby the richer employ the poorer in a triangle is healthy because everybody benefits and it has historically been the natural order of things.
    Their economic policy (generally speaking) complements this, by promoting a form of capitalism which gives more economic freedom to big businesses. This means fewer regulations and lower taxes. They argue that as big businesses grow they create jobs for the working class and gradually everyone gets richer.

    The left on the other hand is more keen to reduce the gaps in society between the rich and the poor. They believe society should work together to help everybody, with schemes like the NHS and Benefits. They argue the rich should pay for this through taxes, thus reducing the gap between rich and poor.
    To do this, economically, they need to raise taxes. They also prefer to regulate 'the Market', which means distributing the wealth created on the stock market and in banks so that it does not all end up in the pockets of millionaires but some of it goes to the country's problems.

    The easiest way to think about it is the idea of 'State vs. Market'. The state is the government, using its power to solve problems that only the government can; healthcare, policing, schools etc. Those departments are the 'public sector'. The market is the capitalist force which creates wealth, such as business transactions and banking. This is the 'private sector'.

    The left wants more state control and less market freedom. The right wants less state control and more market freedom.

    The centre is a mixture.

    So in UK politics, it is generally seen as being the Conservatives on the right, the Lib Dems in the centre, and Labour on the left. However, all of these are central compared to the extreme right of UKIP (Little state control, little sympathy for immigrants and a dislike of Europe) and the extreme left of Communism (State controls everything). We don't have a large communist party in Britain but the Greens are probably 'socialist' which is on the left and is a different system altogether to capitalism.

    I hope that helped, please ask if you have some more questions.
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    Left wing is generally a more liberal and forward-moving ideology whereas right wing is more conservative and generally traditional. In the UK, Labour are leaning left from centre and the Conservatives are leaning right from centre. Universities and Unions (social, student, trade etc) are generally left wing and look for high levels of government intervention. The wealthy, and big business owners are often right wing and support low government spending and involvement in society.

    Hope this helps X
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a_thought)
    O.K. well left and right wing is a simplified view of the whole political spectrum but it's a good place to start.

    We'll start with the Right: On a social level, the right generally believes that a hierarchy in society is natural and normal. For them, the idea of a class system whereby the richer employ the poorer in a triangle is healthy because everybody benefits and it has historically been the natural order of things.
    They're economic policy (generally speaking) complements this, by promoting a form of capitalism which gives more economic freedom to big businesses. This means fewer regulations and lower taxes. They argue that as big businesses grow they create jobs for the working class and gradually everyone gets richer.

    The left on the other hand is more keen to reduce the gaps in society between the rich and the poor. They believe society should work together to help everybody, with schemes like the NHS and Benefits. They argue the rich should pay for this through taxes, thus reducing the gap between rich and poor.
    To do this, economically, the need to raise taxes. They also prefer to regulate 'the Market', which means distributing the wealth created on the stock market and in banks so that it does not all end up in the pockets of millionaires but some of it goes to the country's problems.

    The easiest way to think about it is the idea of 'State vs. Market'. The state is the government, using its power to solve problems that only the government can; healthcare, policing, schools etc. Those departments are the 'public sector'. The market is the capitalist force which creates wealth, such as business business transactions and banking. This is the 'private sector'.

    The left wants more state control and less market freedom. The right wants less state control and more market freedom.

    The centre is a mixture.

    So in UK politics, it is generally seen as being the Conservatives on the right, the Lib Dems in the centre, and Labour on the left. However, all of these are central compared to the extreme right of UKIP (Little state control, little sympathy for immigrants and a dislike of Europe) and the extreme left of Communism (State controls everything). We don't have a large communist party in Britain but the Greens are probably 'socialist' which is on the left and is a different system altogether to capitalism.

    I hope that helped, please ask if you have some more questions.
    Good, clear and well laid out explanation. +rep
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    It is worth bearing in mind that in the UK with left and right, we generally refer to economic policy, rather than social.

    While there are some in the Tory party that are opposed to for example, gay rights and abortion, this is a minority that have little influence over policy. Additionally, religion plays very little active role in politics. So while in the US Republicans take a negative stance to gays and abortion, and a positive stance to traditional Christian ideals; with the Democrats on the reverse, we have a practical consensus in favour of abortion and gay rights.

    The only significant area where Conservatives and Labour disagree on 'social' matters is there is a greater Tory emphasis on the importance of stable, self-supporting families, whilst Labour tends to believe in a less strict social model. But this is not a significant divide, and is really a reflection on different stances toward benefits (the Tories favour less benefits, which is less of a problem for traditional families than for example single parent families).

    Thus, while I'm a Tory, I have a positive view of gay marriage. I would prefer abortion not happen but realise it is better it be legal than illegal for pragmatic reasons. I am not religious so do not agree Christianity ought to play a great role in politics.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    It is pretty simple

    Right wing = work to earn your own stuff

    Left wing = want lots of free stuff from other people
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    Right wing means 'Superior'. Left wing means 'Inferior'.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    i just knew it would be the right wingers who came in with insulting left wingers and calling them inferior or only want free stuff. the right are also extremely intolerant of any differing view point and viciously attack anyone who disagrees, you have the freedom to hold an opinion only if it agrees with theirs.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AlexInWonderland)
    It is worth bearing in mind that in the UK with left and right, we generally refer to economic policy, rather than social.

    While there are some in the Tory party that are opposed to for example, gay rights and abortion, this is a minority that have little influence over policy. Additionally, religion plays very little active role in politics. So while in the US Republicans take a negative stance to gays and abortion, and a positive stance to traditional Christian ideals; with the Democrats on the reverse, we have a practical consensus in favour of abortion and gay rights.

    The only significant area where Conservatives and Labour disagree on 'social' matters is there is a greater Tory emphasis on the importance of stable, self-supporting families, whilst Labour tends to believe in a less strict social model. But this is not a significant divide, and is really a reflection on different stances toward benefits (the Tories favour less benefits, which is less of a problem for traditional families than for example single parent families).

    Thus, while I'm a Tory, I have a positive view of gay marriage. I would prefer abortion not happen but realise it is better it be legal than illegal for pragmatic reasons. I am not religious so do not agree Christianity ought to play a great role in politics.
    This.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TimHuak)
    It is pretty simple

    Right wing = work to earn your own stuff

    Left wing = want lots of free stuff from other people
    Not this.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alex5455)
    i just knew it would be the right wingers who came in with insulting left wingers and calling them inferior or only want free stuff. the right are also extremely intolerant of any differing view point and viciously attack anyone who disagrees, you have the freedom to hold an opinion only if it agrees with theirs.
    You have just described a multitude of far-left parties and far-left people.

    Ever heard of the UAF, SWP? Labour MP's, Lefist institutions within universities, unions?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Right wingers want to maintain what is current or return to what once was.

    Left wingers want to facilitate change.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hamsterdowns)
    Left wing is generally a more liberal and forward-moving ideology whereas right wing is more conservative and generally traditional. In the UK, Labour are leaning left from centre and the Conservatives are leaning right from centre. Universities and Unions (social, student, trade etc) are generally left wing and look for high levels of government intervention. The wealthy, and big business owners are often right wing and support low government spending and involvement in society.

    Hope this helps X
    Liberal actually being a right wing group.

    "Forward thinking" meaning progressives, who are sleazy and sly communists who have learned what marketing means.

    Labour are centre right to moderate right, the Tories are also Moderate right.

    Ironically big business are those who massively support immigration and multiculturalism, and are often funders, the left have just been duped into believing its a leftist trait.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sugar-n-spice)
    Social Conservatives want to maintain what is current or return to what once was.

    Left Progressive's and Right wing liberals want to bring facilitate change.
    Fixed for you

    otherwise that was complete whitewashing and increadibly wrong, there are many examples either side that completely contradict this.
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    PS Helper
    Left wing people are smart, whereas right wing people are dumb

    Spoiler:
    Show
    I jest. There are some intelligent right wingers... Just look at George Osborne :ahee:
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Fixed for you

    otherwise that was complete whitewashing and increadibly wrong, there are many examples either side that completely contradict this.
    Alright mister if you want to use that patronising smiley, tell me where the usage of words left wing and right wing first came from and this will explain why I use this definition. :pierre:

    "Right wing liberals" AKA libertarians want to allow change which is why I regard them as mildly left wing, "progressives" actively promote change so they are further left, social Conservatives are right wing but you can support or oppose change in things other than the things social Conservative concern themselves with. Banking bailouts are right wing because they prevent change.
    (Original post by zaliack)
    Left wing people are smart, whereas right wing people are dumb

    Spoiler:
    Show
    I jest. There are some intelligent right wingers... Just look at George Osborne :ahee:

    I've always suspected the extremely conservative, white working class as being of low intelligence, I guess that confirms my prejudice.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    It means your are morally weak if you are left wing.....

    Whereas right wing (far right mostly) are far better.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    If you don't know the difference between 'left' and 'right' wing while on the verge of going into university, do not go into political journalism, for the love of God. Stick to writing about fashion.

    Also, every definition of what 'left' and 'right' wing means will be inherently biased because anybody knowledgeable enough to provide a decent answer will have an opinion of their own and will reflect that in their explanation. A bit of a catch-22.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sugar-n-spice)
    1. Alright mister if you want to use that patronising smiley, tell me where the usage of words left wing and right wing first came from and this will explain why I use this definition. :pierre:

    Banking bailouts are right wing because they prevent change.



    I've always suspected the extremely conservative, white working class as being of low intelligence, I guess that confirms my prejudice.
    The original definition comming from the French national assemply, those what sat to the right of the room were the monarchists, and wanted to uphold monarchy, and with it comes feudalism, those on the left are those that opposed to the monarchy and/or feudalism, so socialists such as Proudhon (not sure why you put Pierre, is this a clue for me? A reference to Pierre Josheph Proudhon?)were on this side, but also liberal capitalists, like Bastiat.

    Bank bailouts did maintain the status quo, but they had never been tried before, and it was pretty much the centre left and left aside from the extreme minority far left) that were the biggest supporters of this, maybe a few on the centre right, but every other type of rightist was opposed.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by prog2djent)
    The original definition comming from the French national assemply, those what sat to the right of the room were the monarchists, and wanted to uphold monarchy, and with it comes feudalism, those on the left are those that opposed to the monarchy and/or feudalism, so socialists such as Proudhon (not sure why you put Pierre, is this a clue for me? A reference to Pierre Josheph Proudhon?)were on this side, but also liberal capitalists, like Bastiat.

    Bank bailouts did maintain the status quo, but they had never been tried before, and it was pretty much the centre left and left aside from the extreme minority far left) that were the biggest supporters of this, maybe a few on the centre right, but every other type of rightist was opposed.
    You got the joke, I'm happy now. So my definition is better because it keeps with the original use of the word and explains how both Fascists and Communists can be socially and economically authoritarian yet fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. I don't think that change is good or bad, so I wasn't trying to promote left wing politics.

    Most politicians in all the main parties supported bailouts, but the parties are third way centrists in Europe and only libertarians who are a minority opposed these.
 
 
 
Poll
Black Friday: Yay or Nay?
Useful resources

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.