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Can you please explain UK political parties' views to me? watch

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    Hi,
    I don't know almost anything about UK politics. I've been googling a lot the past few days, but it's still hard to grasp the basics.
    Could you sum up what the Tories, the Labor Party, and the Liberal Democrats (and any other significant parties) believe in?
    What are their views on the EU, immigration, economics (are they for limiting expenses or for higher social benefits etc)...?

    Who is in power right now, and is it likely to change after the next elections? Do different parts of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales..) lean to the left/right?

    Is the definition of left and right the same as in the rest of Europe? (The system of the United States has confused me and ruined me for the rest of the world!)


    I'm very involved in the political scene of the US and never had the option to look into other countries' situation, so please don't judge my nonexistent knowledge of the UK system.

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    There are three main parties in the UK Parliament:

    Conservatives (Tories) - the centre-right party. Generally economically liberal and socially conservative, although latterly not strictly so. The attitude seems to be only change things when there's a clear, overwhelming need.

    Liberal Democrats - difficult to pin down, but traditionally the centre party between left and right, but has in the past few years attracted a spectrum of centrist opinions. Can have economically liberal and economically statist members, but members generally have a strong consensus on social and constitutional matters, in both being quite radical: strongly supporting things like gay marriage and advocating sweeping reforms of the constitution.

    These two parties are currently in a coalition together and govern the country.

    Labour - the centre-left party. Considerably less centre-left than they used to be, so much so that critics would decry is as Tory-light. Economically tends to favour more state involvement and expansion of the public sector. Can have members who are socially conservative or quite radical, and same on constitutional matters as well.

    There are smaller parties but I won't go into them now.

    On regional political leanings, there's a general assumption that Scotland, Wales and northern England are more left-wing than southern England, although in the case of Scotland, a lot of the dislike of the Conservatives is tied up with the overtly English nature of the Conservative party. I suspect if the Tories disengaged from Scotland, a Scottish-centred conservative party would naturally emerge. Northern Ireland's political divides centre at least in part on religious issues, and I won't go into that here.

    Current opinion polls have Labour slightly ahead of the Conservatives; but with a year to go until the next election, generally the governing party always gets an incumbency boost which would start to materialise around this time onwards, so I suspect the Conservatives would remain in power. What happens to the Liberal Democrats, I couldn't say.

    I can't comment too authoritatively on comparisons between UK politics and European politics, but there tend to be more parties in European countries but they end up coalescing on a left-right/social-liberal pattern much like Britain, but in clusters of similar parties rather than big-tent parties as in the UK.
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    To expand a little bit on the above post, the Tories are divided between the old Thatcherites (socially and economically right-wing) and the Cameroons/Cameronites (socially moderate and economically right-wing in a more compassionate way). 30 years ago there are many Tory MPs who were both socially and economically moderate (such as Michael Heseltine and Willie Whitelaw) but few of these remain.

    The main division in Labour is between the Brownites and the Blairites. There isn't a great deal of ideological difference between these two, although the Brownites tend to be more statist on economics. There's also the hard-left Socialist Campaign Group and a few hard-rightists (in Labour terms), with Frank Field being the most obvious example.

    The Liberal Democrats are perhaps the most divided party. The Orange Bookers are essentially libertarian and currently control the party, while the social democratic wing is, well, social democratic. Worth noting also that, until they entered government, much of their support came from those who simply hated Labour and Tories and wanted an alternative. This part of the electorate has now flocked to UKIP.

    Which indeed brings us to UKIP. They are perhaps, Euroscepticism aside, the most ideologically incoherent party in this country. Their leader claims that UKIP is classically liberal, but the majority of their support comes from the socially conservative white working-class, who are anything but liberal (in any sense) on either economic or social matters. Right-wing populist would be the best description for them.

    The Greens are (duh) environmentalist and left-wing on pretty much everything. It is often forgotten, though, that they were once fairly moderate and hence performed very well in the 1989 European elections (winning around 15% of the vote). One wonders what might happen if they returned to the centre.

    The BNP is, uhhhh, a fascist party. But basically defunct nowadays.

    There are also many regional parties but what they stand for tends to be pretty obvious to all.
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    Like most parties, the Conservative Party is a lot more complex than can be explained over a forum. Seven core groups can be identified within the Conservative Party: 1922 Committee, 2020 Group, Fresh Start Project, Cornerstone, Free Enterprise Group, The 40, and the 301 Group

    1922 Committee: Formed in 1923. Seen as the official forum for back benchers. It is dominated by the right of the party.

    2020 Group: Rival to the 1922 Committee. Ultra-modernising. Huge supporters of David Cameron. Centre-left in their approach.

    Fresh Start Project: Eurosceptic wing of the party. Have two Labour MPs as 'members': Frank Field, and Gisela Stuart.

    Cornerstone: Formed in 2005. Traditional wing of the party: Family, Faith, and Flag. Sceptical of both the European Union and devolution.

    Free Enterprise Group: Economic liberalism

    The 40: MPs with the smallest majority who are concerned about re-election.

    301 Group: Rival to the right of the party. Want to reach new demographics by dealing with social issues, vulnerable groups, and minority communities. Keen supporters of Cameron.
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    The Tories are centre-right party, they're conservative economically although in reality they are quite lefty socially, gay marriage, new healthcare things they're trying etc, lefty but the good kind not that nasty commie kind

    Labour is just disgusting, commie politics. Also they're rather lost at the moment.

    Lib Dems, unsure on what they stand for.

    UKIP, want the UK out of the EU and into the EFTA which costs more money than the EU... yes, that's right, they want us to lose more money to Europe.

    End of the day, all are ridiculous and similar.

    That's a brief recap.
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    I'm sorry, I can't see Labour as in any way communist. That's a laughable assertion.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    Labour is just disgusting, commie politics.
    This conceptual ordering is base ideology; 'communism' in theory or putative practice is at significant distance from New Labour. Their association is merely to besmirch by association, aggregating all those leftwards of the speaker under a singular evil. This distorts clear thought and communication for a solely political reason.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    The Tories are centre-right party, they're conservative economically although in reality they are quite lefty socially, gay marriage, new healthcare things they're trying etc, lefty but the good kind not that nasty commie kind

    Labour is just disgusting, commie politics. Also they're rather lost at the moment.

    Lib Dems, unsure on what they stand for.

    UKIP, want the UK out of the EU and into the EFTA which costs more money than the EU... yes, that's right, they want us to lose more money to Europe.

    End of the day, all are ridiculous and similar.

    That's a brief recap.
    UKIP do not want to be in EFTA they want a simple free trade deal.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    I'm sorry, I can't see Labour as in any way communist. That's a laughable assertion.
    They are quite.

    If you consider what the origins of Communism suggest. Karl Marx's "The Communist Manifesto" is VERY different to Stalinist Communism which is the kind that is assumed in conversation.
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    (Original post by wildrover)
    UKIP do not want to be in EFTA they want a simple free trade deal.
    That's ridiculous, it is what they want, it's the only free trade deal they'll get.
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    If I was to sum it up.

    Labour Party: Good for working class people. And I lived in peace under them. (Thus voting for them, despite the fact there is an idiot leading the party)

    Conservative Party: Idiots, ruining pretty much every part of our system

    Lib Dems: No chance of winning

    UKIP: Really untolerant party. They want to bring in Christian values.
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    Conservative Party ('Tories'/'Nasty Party'): Keeps a tight grip on the wallet.

    Labour Party ('Tory-light'): Spends a lot more and believes a lot more in equality.

    Lib Dems ('Liars'): Fights for personal freedom.

    UKIP ('Fruitcakes, loons and closet racists.'): Much more right wing than the conservative. Strongly intolerant.
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    Labour: they are the most left-wing party out of the three you mentioned. Labour believe in equality and fairness, and want to reduce the gap between rich and poor. They want to stay in the EU and limit immigration (but to a much smaller extent than parties such as the Conservatives or UKIP.) Essentially, they see immigrants as contributing to the economy. In terms of the economy, they will cut spending, but not as hard and deep as the Conservatives have, who Labour believe have stagnated economic growth by cutting public spending too fast. Essentially, they'll cut less, and invest more to stimulate economic growth. This is similar to what Obama did in the United States and what Germany were doing before 2011. The Labour Party is the party which created the NHS (free, universal healthcare) and advocate large social benefits to be given to the vulnerable. They decreased absolute poverty by 50% when they were last in power and relative poverty by 33%. As for foreign policy, they seem to have shifted back to a more traditional left-wing anti-war perspective, as they voted against the illegal war in Syria which the Conservatives were planning. Socially, they overwhelmingly supported gay marriage, and are the party who introduced civil partnerships and who decriminalised homosexuality decades ago. They're more left-wing than Obama and the Democrats in the U.S., and the current leader of Labour, Ed Miliband, has the support of the trade unions and had the support of Tony Benn, an influential far Left figure in the Labour movement. Miliiband's father, Ralph Miliband, was a Marxist academic.

    Conservatives: they are a centre-right party, who believe in what they call "equal opportunities", which basically means that everybody has the opportunity to have something or to get somewhere, but only a certain rich elite will be given the job or the position in the end. Their frontbenchers and leaders want to stay in the EU, but there is a large portion of the party which does not want to stay in the EU. They want to limit immigration to a fairly large extent, and recently suppressed a report which demonstrated that, in actual fact, immigrants do not "steal" British jobs. As for the economy, they like the private sector more than the public sector, and enjoy privatising everything - they are trying to privatise the East Coast mainline, despite the fact that when it has been nationalised, it's performed better than all the other railways which are privatised. They are a party for the rich, essentially. They recently gave a tax cut to millionaires, and you will regularly see their Chancellor, George Osborne, going off to Brussels to try to maintain bankers' ridiculous bonuses. Under their Dear Leader, Mrs. Thatcher, inequality and poverty soared, and we're seeing that again today with them in charge. As for social benefits, they see everyone on benefits as scroungers who are lazy. As for foreign policy, the Conservative Party are the only party who defend the Iraq War to this day, and wanted to take us into an illegal war in Syria last August. Socially, almost half (45%) of their members of Parliament voted against gay marriage. They're certainly less right-wing than the Republicans, though.

    Liberal Democrats: they're quite mixed at the moment: they're pretty much a centrist party, with some left-wing elements. They're in power currently, in a Coalition with the Conservatives. They've advocated many of the Conservatives' harshest policies, including the 'bedroom tax', which means that some benefits are deducted from people who live in council houses with spare rooms, including 350,000 disabled people, who need the rooms to store vital equipment. Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has been defending many of the Conservatives' policies. Having said that, their President, Tim Farron, is more left-wing, and has spoken out against the bedroom tax.

    As for the May election next year, Labour are currently on course for a majority, according to the polls. However, I suspect it'll be a Hung Parliament again, meaning that another Coalition government will have to be formed. The Conservatives almost certainly won't get a majority: if they couldn't get one in 2010, the likelihood that they'll get one after they've ruined our country is extremely slim.
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    Almost every single comment on this thread is biased... oh the joy of asking other people what they think of the parties.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    That's ridiculous, it is what they want, it's the only free trade deal they'll get.
    It isn't at all, loads of big economic nations have free trade deals with the EU without being in any sort of obligation to have their laws forced upon them, We are the 6h biggest economy in the world and a free trade deal would be on the cards.
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    (Original post by ashraf549)
    If I was to sum it up.

    Labour Party: Good for working class people. And I lived in peace under them. (Thus voting for them, despite the fact there is an idiot leading the party)

    Conservative Party: Idiots, ruining pretty much every part of our system

    Lib Dems: No chance of winning

    UKIP: Really untolerant party. They want to bring in Christian values.
    Why answer the thread if you are just going to spout your bias towards Labour, it doesn't help the OP in anyway.
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    Conservatives: privatise everything, the magic invisible hand will deliver us all wealth and prosperity, if you're poor it's because you're lazy, build economy on a housing bubble and conning old ladies out of their savings
    Lib Dems: see above
    Labour: see above except we will say really nice things about giving women and black people jobs
    UKIP: gay marriage wrath of God EUSSR Great British pubs brown people floodgates clean down back of fridge loons and fruitcakes harharhar %$*£")$&^!£
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    (Original post by czechmishaout)
    Hi,
    I don't know almost anything about UK politics. I've been googling a lot the past few days, but it's still hard to grasp the basics.
    Could you sum up what the Tories, the Labor Party, and the Liberal Democrats (and any other significant parties) believe in?
    What are their views on the EU, immigration, economics (are they for limiting expenses or for higher social benefits etc)...?

    Who is in power right now, and is it likely to change after the next elections? Do different parts of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales..) lean to the left/right?

    Is the definition of left and right the same as in the rest of Europe? (The system of the United States has confused me and ruined me for the rest of the world!)


    I'm very involved in the political scene of the US and never had the option to look into other countries' situation, so please don't judge my nonexistent knowledge of the UK system.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    It's good you're taking an interest.

    I've not read what anyone's said here but what I would add in addition to what the main parties stand for is that they aren't very polarized. We can argue who's centre-left, centre-right and whatnot, but the truth is that there is very little to distinguish the main parties from each other as the move closer and closer to the centre.

    They can only really be differentiated on their views of things like the EU, and maybe the odd economic policy - that is that labour will traditionally increase public spending, but have voted for a vast amount of tory cuts in parliament.

    What's probably more important is each broadsheets political views! Get familiar with this, then you're able to apply a bit more thinking when reading about politics from the newspapers (i.e. who's bias towards who etc.!).
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    OP, if I used you I would ignore most of what has been said. A load of heavily biased crap; all parties have good aspects (even the Lib Dems,probably), all parties have bad aspects. Suggesting otherwise is naïve. And to be clear - I in no way omit myself from the above criticism. My summary will likely be just as poor, but there you go.

    The Conservatives are the most right wing of the three major parties. Their major selling point is good economic management, playing on the idea (rightly or wrongly) that labour cannot be trusted to run the economy, having overspent almost every time they have come into office. I agree with this, but others won't. To each their own. On the negative side, they are often criticised for seemingly favouring the 'elite'. Anyone with a competent knowledge of economics will know that this is nonsense but it is still a common claim.

    Labour are left-leaning but, of late, fairly confused. They represent a wide spectrum of leftist views, from Socialists to more centrist, even slightly right wing politics. Their main plus point is considered to be a more 'caring' outlook, whereby they spend huge amounts on welfare, hiking taxes and neglecting big business (I know that sounds critical, but it's not meant to - I'm no fan of big business myself, even if it is a necessity). They are, however, known for economic mismanagement, populism ad having a moron as a leader.

    Lib Dems - God knows. It seems to change daily.
 
 
 
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