Liam Vercoe wrote: Edited: Seeing as how I'm taking my first venture in to the world of talking about politics, if anyone could explain to me what's meant by the left, the centre, the right of the political spectrum, what defines what, and which party is historically where that would be amazing, it confuses the life out of me when people talk about it
Admittedly off-topic but I’ll try that Liam and promise to do my best not to be too partisan about it.
Very broad-brush and obviously it’s a spectrum but I’d say it goes something like this:_
THE LEFT (in UK politics Labour main party)……. People who believe it is the duty of the state to play an important role in peoples’ lives. So they tend to be keen on things like state provision of health, education and a welfare ‘safety net’ for people who fall on hard times/ have disabilities etc. They also believe in creating more equality of wealth and opportunities for people. They also tend to believe it is not just OK but a duty for the government to ‘regulate’ businesses and markets either for moral reasons or to make markets & business work more efficiently to create the wealth that can then be shared. Economically they tend to favour direct taxation proportionate to peoples’ wealth and income rather than indirect taxation on what people buy. Tend to be socially ’liberal’ on things like LGBTQ rights, gender equality, racial equality favouring legislation. Supporters argue they believe in a fair & just society in which inequality is kept to a minimum by sharing the wealth and a country succeeds when opportunity exists for all regardless of class & background. Critics would say they’re bunch of tax-and-spend ‘social engineers’ who stifle competition, resent success & hard work and reward the feckless & lazy and so you actually end up with less wealth for everybody.
THE RIGHT (UK politics Tories main party)…… People who believe the role of the state should be kept to just a necessary a minimum and people should be free to go about their lives as they choose and it is NOT the job of government to interfere. This is particularly true economically where the core belief is that markets should operate freely to encourage competition, which in turn means the most efficient and innovative businesses will prosper to create the wealth. They have a scepticism about the ability of government or bureaucracies to effectively run and manage business or industry preferring private entrepreneurs where the profit motive will encourage a more efficient outcome for everybody. So they are much more sympathetic to things like private schools, private hospitals, private transport systems etc. They believe that people should be rewarded for success to encourage hard work & innovation so are keen to keep direct taxation to a minimum and more likely to raise money through indirect taxation (like VAT). Tend to be socially conservative on things LGBTQ rights, gender rights, race rights – or at least less inclined to favour what they see as heavy-handed legislation. Supporters believe in creating a free and dynamic environment free from bureaucratic meddling which will encourage & reward success, thus creating the wealth that can then be used to provide a safety net for those that deserve help. Critics say they’re defenders of inequality and privilege where the rich continue to prosper and leave behind those less fortunate in a heartless devil-take-the-hindmost society.
THE CENTRE (UK politics Lib-Dems)….. People who basically sit between the two. They believe in free markets and (mostly) against things like nationalised industries but also sympathetic to (mostly) state provision for things like health, education & welfare. Supporters would say it’s sensible balance accepting limitations of government to meddle in business and markets but accepting responsibility to provide the essentials for a just society. Critics would say it’s a half-arsed compromise that fails on both fronts i.e. taxing and spending so stifling markets and wealth creators without actually creating a more equal society or controlling market excesses.
Hope that helps.