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Can someone please explain what right wing and left wing means in politics? (Read 4286 times)

Offline thalbergmad

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We started out that way.

Except yours was closer to 97%.

Thal
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Offline j_menz

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Except yours was closer to 97%.

Thal

That's quite a slur on your Navy and Marine Corps of the time, who made up about 40% of the personnel of the First Fleet.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline thalbergmad

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Our Navy of the time was built on criminals and tavern scum pressed into service. Now, we have even more criminals but a pissy little Navy.

I think we should bring back the press gangs, but the lefties would never allow it. They love their Human Rights too much.

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Offline j_menz

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I think we should bring back the press gangs,

Be careful what you wish for. Given your affection for beer, you'd be a prime target for pressing.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ahinton

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Illegal immigrants are, quite simply, off topic here. Yes, policies on immigration may be one factor that enables distinctions to be drawn between governments of right, centre or left persuasion, but the point is that, whilst all governments of whatever persuasion make laws on all manner of things including immigration, the breach of any government's immigration laws (be that government, right, centre or left), is unaffected and uninfluenced by the nature of those laws. Criminality of all kinds is criminality per se; it's not dependent on the political orientation of the governments that make the laws that criminals break.

If the issue that some, including Thal, have with immigration is that Britain isn't large enough to accommodate more than a certain number of immigrants per year, what of all of those living outside Britain who have a right of abode in Britain? I know that, were any of them to come to Britain, that would not constitute immigration as such, but it would nevertheless swell the population of Britain and risk the very same overcrowding that would be the outcome of large-scale immigration. As I wrote earlier, were only 10% of those entitled to live in Britain who do not currently do so to decide to up sticks and settle in Britain, the country really would be overrun - indeed overwhelmed - yet no laws would have been broken thereby and no government could currently stop any of them entering and staying in Britain.

Thal made some observations about the locality in which I presently reside; there's a substantial Polish community and a fair number of immigrants from eastern Europe - mainly Estonia, Latvia and especially Lithuania - but also from countries outside EU such as Albania, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, yet there are not many French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Dutch or Germans and very few from Scandinavia and the Middle and Far East. The point that I'm making here, however, is that, just because the area is remote, it's by no means populated mainly by locals.

That said, it's high time other aspects of right, centre and left in government be considered in this discussion rather than focusing disproportionately upon immigration and population issues.

Best,

Alistair (soon, perhaps, to have legal immigrancy thrust upon him)
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Offline thalbergmad

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yet there are not many French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Dutch or Germans and very few from Scandinavia and the Middle and Far East.

Immigrants generally come here to improve their standard of living, not make it worse.

Why anyone from a Scandinavian Country would want to come here is beyond me. Perhaps some Swedes might as their brand of Multiculturalism and generous welfare handouts to immigrants seems to be backfiring on them.

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Offline ahinton

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Immigrants generally come here to improve their standard of living, not make it worse.
Of course - and why not? And, since you have stated your belief that Britain today is a bad country in which to live, what would your attitude be to British people wanting to up sticks and go to live in other countries where they believe that they would have a better life - i.e. as immigrants into those
countries?

Why anyone from a Scandinavian Country would want to come here is beyond me.
It may be beyond you, but it is presumably not beyond all the Norwegians, Swedes and Danes who already do live in Britain or those planning to come to Britain! There just happen to be very few of them around where I am now.

You've still not answered my question about the effect of those entitled to come to Britain actually coming to Britain.

And you're still largely off-topic!

Best,

Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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You've still not answered my question about the effect of those entitled to come to Britain actually coming to Britain.

And you're still largely off-topic!

Many have the right to come back, but how many would want to?. Massed migration of expats is hardly likely to happen.

You are off topic as well, so if you want me to stay on topic, stop rabbiting on about immigration.

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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Leftwingers believe in the best of human nature, and regularly find examples which disappoint their viewpoint.

Rightwingers believe in the worst of human nature, and regularly find examples which satisfy their viewpoint.

A centralised leftwing state regularly leads to internal corruption and economic inefficiency.
A rightwing capitalist state regularly leads to both internal and external corruption, and economic inefficiency.

Extreme left and right wing views tend to demonstrate that the political spectrum is not a line, but a circle.

Re the UK, I would rather listen to the Schumann piano concerto on repeat than vote for a pompous, stuck-up, self-entitled thinks he knows it all p***k like Cameron, or for an amorphous, spineless political jellyfish like Miliband.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re the UK, I would rather listen to the Schumann piano concerto on repeat than vote for a pompous, stuck-up, self-entitled thinks he knows it all p***k like Cameron, or for an amorphous, spineless political jellyfish like Miliband.

Me too, which is why I have dumped the Tories and defected to UKIP. A strange bunch of individuals, but the only Party who will put the interests of the British first and they could end up holding the balance of power.

Thal
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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I did sense that voting intention from the comments in the thread  ;D

I don't agree with UKIP, but I do accept that the situation in the South of England is out of control in some respects (having heard reports of immigrants sleeping 10-to-a-room in flats, etc). Not really the fault of the immigrants, a failure of political will perhaps. Though I stand by my earlier comment that mass immigration has been encouraged as a mechanism to create a low(er)-wage economy.

Offline ahinton

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Many have the right to come back, but how many would want to?. Massed migration of expats is hardly likely to happen.
Not so very many, I imagine, although I did mention this purely as a response to your concern about the risk of over-population that might  pertain if enough of them did. There would have only to be coups or other disturbances in those countries in which they now live to encourage at least some of them to think about relocating to Britain and that, too, is something over which no British government can have any control.

You are off topic as well, so if you want me to stay on topic, stop rabbiting on about immigration.
Very droll, I'm sure but, if you read more carefully, you will hopefully see that, in referring to the possibility that people living outside Britain who are entitled to settle there and decide to do so is not "immigration" in the same sense that would apply to people who would be required to apply for permission to come to Britain.

Anyway, if you're so worried about the disproportionate proliferation of immigration and population issues in a thread about different strands of political thought, why not stop wittering about immigration but also introduce other aspect of political contrasts that is germane to the topic?

Best,

Alistair
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Offline ahinton

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Me too, which is why I have dumped the Tories and defected to UKIP. A strange bunch of individuals, but the only Party who will put the interests of the British first and they could end up holding the balance of power.
I'm surprised that you would listen to Schumann's piano concerto in preference to anything, actually! I've not heard it for ages but made myself listen to it yesterday and I have to admit that my view of it has changed; I used to think that it was one of the least engaging of Schumann's works but it's gone down in my estimation since.

Anyway, UKIP's all very well but it seems to have its fair share of internal squabbles and in-fighting just as the other British political parties do. It hasn't a single MP at present and, although it might just pick up a few at the next General Election, the risk of it "holding the balance of power" is remote indeed; what support for it at this election might do, however, is to undermine governmental power by making each of the other parties weaker and possibly even widening the choice for coalition available to parties unable to form a government on their own; lasts time around, it had to be either Labour LibDem or Tory/LibDem but next time there could, at least in theory, be up to six possibilities for two-party coalition. Where suuport for UKIP might make for even greater political instability would be that, should such support be sufficient, no coalition of two parties could achieve a majority - now that would cause a problem or ten, wouldn't you say?!

Best,

Alistair
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Offline timothy42b

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The US has a combination that I think may be non existent or at least less important in Europe.

The right wing also aligns strongly with the highly fundamentalist wing of Christianity.  (They haven't read their own Bible - Jesus was about as left wing liberal as you could get). 

The right wing party has realized the church can be an aid to gaining power, and quite cynically have coopted the religious right.  Religion has cheerfully embraced this not understanding the risks of alliance with these factions. 

In the US, both parties are for more freedom, but for different constitutencies.  The left is for more personal and individual freedom, with more government regulation for corporations and businesses.  The right wants to end all government regulation of business and increase profits, claiming the trickle down will eventually benefit the little guy, but at the same time ever increasing control over personal choices and individual freedoms. 
Tim

Offline thalbergmad

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Where suuport for UKIP might make for even greater political instability would be that, should such support be sufficient, no coalition of two parties could achieve a majority - now that would cause a problem of ten, wouldn't you say?!

All coalitions cause problems as the majority partner can be consistently scuppered from doing anything by a party that hardly anyone voted for. A UKIP/Tory partnership should be one made in heaven, but Farage will not do business with Cameron. Personally, I hope Cameron is ousted and a proper right wing leader installed that patch up the differences with UKIP and keep Labour and the loony left well away from the controls of power that they abused so much at their last attempt.

Labour will not give us a say on Europe and will tax workers to death to keep their scum votebase happy.

Thal
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Offline ahinton

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All coalitions cause problems as the majority partner can be consistently scuppered from doing anything by a party that hardly anyone voted for.
That's obviously true - but if no party or even combination of two parties can achieve a majority, what then?

A UKIP/Tory partnership should be one made in heaven, but Farage will not do business with Cameron.
Nor vice versa!

Personally, I hope Cameron is ousted and a proper right wing leader installed that patch up the differences with UKIP and keep Labour and the loony left well away from the controls of power that they abused so much at their last attempt.
You'll never get one of those with a Coalition.

Labour will not give us a say on Europe
But the Tories will! If there is an in/out EU referendum that votes to keep Britain in, that'll be the end of that - just as if Scotland votes to sever connections with the UK, that'll be the beginning of the end of UK and, if it doesn't, that'll be the end of the end of SNP. That said, the Tories have hardly any respsentation in Scotland at present and I rather doubt that UKIP will cut much ice there either.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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That said, the Tories have hardly any respsentation in Scotland at present and I rather doubt that UKIP will cit much ice there either.

Indeed not, and it is a shame that the Scots don't have similar representation in Westminster, instead of the 59 MP's they currently enjoy, 41 of which are Labour.

Get rid of them and Cameron and perhaps we can have a proper right wing government.

Thal
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Offline ahinton

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Indeed not, and it is a shame that the Scots don't have similar representation in Westminster, instead of the 59 MP's they currently enjoy, 41 of which are Labour.

Get rid of them and Cameron and perhaps we can have a proper right wing government.
Getting rid of a party or parties in power can be done only by means of a General Election and, as you know, none is due in Britain for 15 months. If the inevitable outcome of such an election is a coalition of at least two parties, the result will almost certainly be a relatively weak government whose wings flap in different directions depending upon the wind. As I mentioned, any noticeable support for UKIP will serve only to make that outcome all the more likely and complex, not least because UKIP will take whatever votes it gets away from all the other parties, not just those in government.

Getting rid of Cameron as Tory party leader, on the other hand, is up to the Tory party itself.

Margaret Thatcher, when once asked if she wanted to pull the Tory party to the right, answered that she wanted to pull all parties to the right. Broadly speaking, this is what has actually happened since, although it's not clear to what extent if any it was actually down to her. One downside of that has been that the differences between the parties have lessened and I suspect that recognition of this is one factor that has given rise to disillusion among the electorate.

UKIP's little more than a party for protest voters; it seems unable, unwilling or both to shed its image as the party that wants Britain out of EU but seems to have few other policies diverse and constructive enough to enable it to be taken sufficiently seriously as a party capable of running the country. I suspect that most of the votes that it receives in the next General Election will fail to translate into parliamentary seats, but those that do succeed in putting MPs in parliament will, as I've said, serve only to muddy the waters in any case and possibly make even a two-party coalition difficult to achieve.

As to Scotland, I somehow doubt that there will be a vote in favour of independence although I imagine that it may well be quite a close run thing; one factor that few seem to speak of as encouraging votes for independence is the very paucity of representation in Westminster that the country currently has, as we each recognise - it can't inspire confidence in a country if it hardly has any MPs in government.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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as we each recognise

They have too much representation in Westminster as it is. Unless I am much mistaken, the English have no representation in the Scottish Parliament.

Hopefully, they will get their independence and their votes will stop another Labour government getting elected.

Thal
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Offline ahinton

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They have too much representation in Westminster as it is.
This seems to run entirely counter to the first paragraph of your post #66 above!

Unless I am much mistaken, the English have no representation in the Scottish Parliament.
They have none in the Welsh or Northern Ireland Assemblies either (or in Tynwald, for that matter); if this bothers you enough, thoguh, would you advocate the total break-up of the union, so that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland become independent of one another and linked only by their respective EU memberships?

I understand that, if Scotland leaves the union, it will have formally to reapply for EU membership as a new nation in its own right and the same presumably applies to Wales and Northern Ireland (although, of course, the latter is part of UK but not part of Great Britain). ON this basis, should the union break up altogether, England would also have to reapply for EU membership in its own right and if that situation arises before the in/out referendum that will not likely take place for at least another three years, it would risk nullifying the very need to hold it.

The Isle of Man is not an EU member, however, but its status as a crown dependency will presumably be at risk if the union dissolves altogether, on account of the effect of that dissolution on the British monarchy (the "crown").

If all of that did happen - and I'm not suggesting that it will - I wonder if it would stop there or whether Wales and Scotland might each eventually split into north and south and England into various parts?...

Hopefully, they will get their independence and their votes will stop another Labour government getting elected.
The logic of how the first of these would result in the second escapes me - not only that, but, unless I am much mistaken, all Scots living in England will still be able to vote in English elections even if Scotland itself does sever its ties with the rest of the UK.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Indeed not, and it is a shame that the Scots don't have similar representation in Westminster, instead of the 59 MP's they currently enjoy, 41 of which are Labour.

I enjoy very few Scottish MPs, unless comedic value counts. Gordon Brown did "save the world" you know.

Offline ahinton

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I enjoy very few Scottish MPs
In what way/s?(!)...

unless comedic value counts. Gordon Brown did "save the world" you know.
It certainly doesn't count where Gordon Brown's concerned - and if he did indeed "save the world", that's a whole lot more than his policies ever enabled anyone else to "save"...

Best,

Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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This seems to run entirely counter to the first paragraph of your post #66 above!

No it does not. I was suggesting that it was a shame that the Scots don't have the same representation in Westminster as the Tories have MP's in Scotland. ie one.

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Offline thalbergmad

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England would also have to reapply for EU membership in its own right and if that situation arises before the in/out referendum that will not likely take place for at least another three years, it would risk nullifying the very need to hold it.

I can think of no better scenario than escaping the clutches of the EU by splitting with the Scots. Why bother with a referendum when you can just "forget" to reapply.

Then, we won't waste billions of pounds so fat Greeks can retire at 45 and have to abide by decisions made by judges with 5 minutes experience in a Country where it is a national passtime to urinate over donkeys.

Thal

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Offline ahinton

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No it does not. I was suggesting that it was a shame that the Scots don't have the same representation in Westminster as the Tories have MP's in Scotland. ie one.
Ah, I see now; you didn't make that as clear before as you do here.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline ahinton

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I can think of no better scenario than escaping the clutches of the EU by splitting with the Scots. Why bother with a referendum when you can just "forget" to reapply.
If the union did finally break up altogether - and there's no certainty of that by any means and, even if it does, it will take several years - I cannot see and independent England wanting, or even being allowed, to "forget" to reapply for EU membership, especially in a climate in which UKIP, if it still exists, will find itself having to rename itself since there will no longer be a United Kingdom.

Then, we won't waste billions of pounds so fat Greeks can retire at 45
What is the figure for the population of Greece and how many Greeks are fat and retire at age 45; Do you have those statistics to hand? You could get the first from Wiki but the others would take rather more research!

and have to abide by decisions made by judges with 5 minutes experience in a Country where it is a national passtime to urinate over donkeys.
To which decisions, which judges and which country do you refer here? (and "pastime" has only one "s"). I have to admit never to have witnessed anyone, let alone a judge, urinating over a donkey, but perhaps your experience of such activities is wider than mine.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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It certainly doesn't count where Gordon Brown's concerned - and if he did indeed "save the world", that's a whole lot more than his policies ever enabled anyone else to "save"...




I'm going to stay out of the immigration debate but..
Thal - you may enjoy this..
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26101442

Offline deidre

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Right wing = repub and left wing = democrat...but really, two 'made up' phrases for either side to feel superior to the other. Democracy was never intended to create such a rivalry.  :(
This is why I'm now an independent, and I hope that someone pulls up in that category to win the presidency some day. (speaking for the US, as that's where I reside)

I think the whole 'system' is broken, for democracy doesn't seem like it's government for the people, by the people, anymore. It's a shame what it's turned into!
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands. ~ Norah Jones

Offline iansinclair

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Deirdre -- it is worth remembering (although almost no one ever does) that the United States was not originally set up as a democracy, but as a republic.  There is a difference, and a very critical one: the original intent was that each small community would send it's very best, most respected person to serve in a larger assembly; typically a Town would send it's best people to the State.  Then the States would send their very best, most respected people to the Federal level, and, at the same time, the States representatives, called Electors, would select the person they felt was most qualified and best to be the chief executive -- the President of the republic -- whose job was to represent the country as a whole abroad, and to faithfully execute the will of the Legislature -- Congress.

In addition, the State and Federal legislatures were all carefully set up to give equal weight to the people -- the "lower" house -- and to the regions (various regions of a state, or the several States) -- the "upper" house.

A democracy is not set up that way.  For better or worse, a democracy gives each person an equal vote.  The old New England Town Meeting is a democracy -- and originally the only one.

The United States has moved much closer to being a democracy, and there is some agitation for moving even farther that way.  Is this good or bad?

It is my personal opinion -- and strictly my own; no one need agree with me if they don't want to -- that this shift is bad.  Pure democracies, from Athens on down, have shown a lamentable tendency to elect leaders based on popularity, rather than on ability, have also shown a lamentable tendency for those leaders to act so as to increase their popularity, rather than to lead in a statesmanlike fashion.
Ian

Offline deidre

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Deirdre -- it is worth remembering (although almost no one ever does) that the United States was not originally set up as a democracy, but as a republic.  There is a difference, and a very critical one: the original intent was that each small community would send it's very best, most respected person to serve in a larger assembly; typically a Town would send it's best people to the State.  Then the States would send their very best, most respected people to the Federal level, and, at the same time, the States representatives, called Electors, would select the person they felt was most qualified and best to be the chief executive -- the President of the republic -- whose job was to represent the country as a whole abroad, and to faithfully execute the will of the Legislature -- Congress.

In addition, the State and Federal legislatures were all carefully set up to give equal weight to the people -- the "lower" house -- and to the regions (various regions of a state, or the several States) -- the "upper" house.

A democracy is not set up that way.  For better or worse, a democracy gives each person an equal vote.  The old New England Town Meeting is a democracy -- and originally the only one.

The United States has moved much closer to being a democracy, and there is some agitation for moving even farther that way.  Is this good or bad?

It is my personal opinion -- and strictly my own; no one need agree with me if they don't want to -- that this shift is bad.  Pure democracies, from Athens on down, have shown a lamentable tendency to elect leaders based on popularity, rather than on ability, have also shown a lamentable tendency for those leaders to act so as to increase their popularity, rather than to lead in a statesmanlike fashion.
I don't disagree, but the part of government that is broken, is the fact that it seems to be more about subjective personal (er 'hidden') agendas, than it does about governing the states in a way that is best for the whole. The government should serve its people, we shouldn't be serving it. Regardless of how it was founded, and what respective ''party'' we all cling to...that is what it's turned into.

 :(
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands. ~ Norah Jones

Offline pianoplunker

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Right wing = repub and left wing = democrat...but really, two 'made up' phrases for either side to feel superior to the other. Democracy was never intended to create such a rivalry.  :(
This is why I'm now an independent, and I hope that someone pulls up in that category to win the presidency some day. (speaking for the US, as that's where I reside)

I think the whole 'system' is broken, for democracy doesn't seem like it's government for the people, by the people, anymore. It's a shame what it's turned into!

I think you are right. These days the term Repub Democrat , or Red vs Blue - is all more of media labeling than based on any ideals.  Almost like a soccer team name or something.

Offline malaguena

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Right wing =Tea Party/Republican values
Left wing = Democratic/Liberal values

I myself am a proud Tea Partier. As a Tea Partier, Liberals would consider me an "extreme right winger".

As a Tea Partier, I consider Liberals "extreme left wingers"

Bam. Politics. Don'tcha love it?
Malagueña
~Piano teacher and student~

Offline emill

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Right wing =Tea Party/Republican values
Left wing = Democratic/Liberal values 

Democratic/Liberal values = Left Wing ????   REALLY???

Left Wing is often associated with the Socialists and communist-leaning political groupings.
Democrats would be centrists and the Republicans would be Right of Center.
member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline deidre

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Democratic/Liberal values = Left Wing ????   REALLY???

Left Wing is often associated with the Socialists and communist-leaning political groupings.
Democrats would be centrists and the Republicans would be Right of Center.
Curious, how would you define a centrist?
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands. ~ Norah Jones

Offline iansinclair

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Curious, how would you define a centrist?
Deidre --
Take a look at my first rather long post on this -- a very important point which I may not have made adequately is that the lines between "left", "centre", and "right" are very fuzzy.  Even more important, the definitions of the positions of the three are very much dependent on which country one is talking about -- particularly if one is comparing two countries, and even more particularly if one of the countries is the United States.  The centre of gravity of politics in the United States -- even in the northeastern megalopolis (Boston to Washington) and the so-called "left coast" -- is considerably less socialist, and hence more "centre" -- than the centre of most European countries.  One does find, on the more "left" wing of the US Democratic party, true believers in the Socialist ideals, but relatively few, and an avowed Socialist has never held major political office in the United States (there have been some local offices held by Socialists).  This is quite unlike most European countries, where there is usually a strong Socialist party or parties, and they quite often hold national power.

Perhaps as important in seeking definitions, one must remember that it is quite incorrect to examine the major political parties of the United States in terms of party definitions.  Again, unlike most European countries, there is no required party line, nor is there in the US congress or State legislatures anything like the party discipline seen in most European Parliaments.  Thus to say that such and such a Congressman or Senator is a Democrat or Republican tells you remarkably little about what political views the person holds, never mind how he or she will vote, whereas if you describe a member of Parliament as being a Labour MP, you can pretty well define what he or she stands for (at least in public!) and how he or she will vote.

So back to your question -- the definitions would have to depend on the country you were talking about. 

I might add that remarkably few Europeans really understand how the US system works -- and remarkably few US citizens really understand how the European systems work, unless they are students of government either formally or informally.
Ian

Offline fleetfingers

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Left Wing is often associated with the Socialists and communist-leaning political groupings.
Democrats would be centrists and the Republicans would be Right of Center.

For a while, there have been socialist/communist influences at work in the US, and some would say they have infiltrated the democratic party. One problem with labels is that they are not always defined the same way by all people. I believe most registered democrats do not align themselves with socialism, but that doesn't change the fact that those with socialist political views are using the party to change policies in that direction. I am not old enough to know by experience, but I understand that the democratic party used to be in the center, as you say.

Offline fleetfingers

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I think you are right. These days the term Repub Democrat , or Red vs Blue - is all more of media labeling than based on any ideals.  Almost like a soccer team name or something.

I have felt this same frustration. Honestly, people need to turn off the cable news every once in a while - whatever channel, it doesn't matter. Watch C-span. Read the websites of the politicians who are running in your district and state. Look up their voting records. Read their speeches. Maybe you already do. I'm talking about the general public - if people did their own fact-checking and educated themselves and became more involved than they are, then the labeling and team-cheering wouldn't have the power that it does - and politicians wouldn't have to go on Late Night to get their message out. They've done polls that show that many voters get all of their political information from satirical comedy shows. That's sad, and it says more about the people of a country than it does about the leaders or the political system.

Offline fleetfingers

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When one is left out, or feels that way, one tends to become a bit more strident -- which may account for a feeling that the country has moved right when seen (and heard!) from a distance.

Thanks for your insight - liked your post. I agree that it's moved left overall, which is why I questioned the other poster. I may have misunderstood, which is why I asked, but the comment seemed to suggest that the country has moved right. I'm still not sure what it meant, but oh, well . . .

Offline deidre

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Socialism, just to touch on it...was a good idea at the onset. Like most idealogies, it was contaminated by greedy and ego driven politicians, and thus...now, it has morphed into something that it really never was intended to be. Socialism is a good ideal. I believe in the goodness of altruism, and I want to believe that socialism was a construct of altruism.

We need to go back to the drawing board, I'm afraid and begin anew.  ;D
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands. ~ Norah Jones

Offline deidre

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Deirdre -- it is worth remembering (although almost no one ever does) that the United States was not originally set up as a democracy, but as a republic.  There is a difference, and a very critical one: the original intent was that each small community would send it's very best, most respected person to serve in a larger assembly; typically a Town would send it's best people to the State.  Then the States would send their very best, most respected people to the Federal level, and, at the same time, the States representatives, called Electors, would select the person they felt was most qualified and best to be the chief executive -- the President of the republic -- whose job was to represent the country as a whole abroad, and to faithfully execute the will of the Legislature -- Congress.

In addition, the State and Federal legislatures were all carefully set up to give equal weight to the people -- the "lower" house -- and to the regions (various regions of a state, or the several States) -- the "upper" house.

A democracy is not set up that way.  For better or worse, a democracy gives each person an equal vote.  The old New England Town Meeting is a democracy -- and originally the only one.

The United States has moved much closer to being a democracy, and there is some agitation for moving even farther that way.  Is this good or bad?

It is my personal opinion -- and strictly my own; no one need agree with me if they don't want to -- that this shift is bad.  Pure democracies, from Athens on down, have shown a lamentable tendency to elect leaders based on popularity, rather than on ability, have also shown a lamentable tendency for those leaders to act so as to increase their popularity, rather than to lead in a statesmanlike fashion.
If this were facebook, I'd SO like this sentiment of yours.  ;D

Excellent post. I wholeheartedly agree with most of what you say. Absolutely agree that the ''leaders'' of countries today, are elected for popularity, and certainly not substance. But, I suppose it's better than the dictatorships that exist in other countries. lol I'll take living in the US (and live free to complain about it without being imprisoned or killed) over living in a third world country ...thank you very much!  ;)
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands. ~ Norah Jones

Offline emill

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For a while, there have been socialist/communist influences at work in the US, and some would say they have infiltrated the democratic party. One problem with labels is that they are not always defined the same way by all people. I believe most registered democrats do not align themselves with socialism, but that doesn't change the fact that those with socialist political views are using the party to change policies in that direction. I am not old enough to know by experience, but I understand that the democratic party used to be in the center, as you say.

Read through your posts and must say .... posts of substance!! ;) ;D

Fully agree that labels are just relative positions of individuals and their parties across the political spectrum and varies from country to country.  Except for the ultraRight and UltraLeft which I would say is not "mainstream" in the US, I would personally consider the DEMOCRATIC and REPUBLICAN PARTIES in the CENTER of the political spectrum if compared to European Parties.
 
Admittedly there is though a minority in the Republican party which seems to be "more conservative" therefore Right of Center, but still Center  ;D ;D ; while there are clearly some "democrats" who are behaving more like socialists and may be placed left of center ... but still center!!! ;D ;D ;D

A good number in both parties intermingle and cross party lines on many national issues. Often, the political convenience and stock of the lawmaker comes way ahead of their party or their constituents. It is difficult to predict how they may vote as sometimes when political stock is at stake, like the coming midterm elections, the lines between parties become blurred.  That is why personally, for all intents and purposes, Republicans and Democrats are CENTER parties with the Republicans leaning more to the Right and Democrats to the Left.  Just my view .... as a Filipino. ::)  :o ;D




 

member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline timothy42b

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Thanks for your insight - liked your post. I agree that it's moved left overall, which is why I questioned the other poster. I may have misunderstood, which is why I asked, but the comment seemed to suggest that the country has moved right. I'm still not sure what it meant, but oh, well . . .


It may be that the country as a whole has drifted a bit left in the 30 years I've been paying attention. 

But the rightmost wing has charged to the right like they were determined to overtake Genghis Khan. 

The Tea Party is an extreme example but the whole Republican party has been dragged that direction.  They are no longer as close to centrist as they used to be. 

The Tea Party is also associated with some other aspects that have little correlation with political principles:  they despise intelligence, education, and scholarship.  They are, however, determinedly pro-God! 
Tim

Offline iansinclair

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The Tea Party is also associated with some other aspects that have little correlation with political principles:  they despise intelligence, education, and scholarship.  They are, however, determinedly pro-God! 
Oh dear  I'm afraid I have to take a bit of an exception to your rather sweeping generalisation here.  I would say that your description of Tea Party members could be applied to many members of all parties in the US.  As it happens, I myself would identify most closely with Tea Party positions (I would be a classic UK Liberal if such a thing existed in the US).  But I wouldn't say that I despise intelligence (I am a bit above average, as are many of my friends -- but not all), nor education (I have a Ph.D., as do a number of my friends, but not all) nor scholarship.  I am, however, a Christian and not a bit ashamed to say it -- and live it, to the best of my ability.
Ian

Offline iansinclair

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I might add, by the way, lest one gets carried away with the idea that I am an educated intellectual idiot (of whom I know a few), the finest man I ever knew -- a real example of how to be a real human -- was a half breed Mohawk/French Canadian woodsman.  Never got beyond eighth grade (I'm not sure he actually ever got that far), didn't have polished manners, but -- absolutely finest kind.
Ian

Offline timothy42b

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Oh dear  I'm afraid I have to take a bit of an exception to your rather sweeping generalisation here.  I would say that your description of Tea Party members could be applied to many members of all parties in the US. 

There is some truth to that, but.........sigh...........only the Tea Party members are actually proud of it. 
Tim

Offline ahinton

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Right wing =Tea Party/Republican values
Left wing = Democratic/Liberal values

I myself am a proud Tea Partier. As a Tea Partier, Liberals would consider me an "extreme right winger".

As a Tea Partier, I consider Liberals "extreme left wingers"

Bam. Politics. Don'tcha love it?
Tea? I prefer coffee.

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline deidre

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There is nothing inherently wrong about Socialism. It would be an ideal world if we could take the perfect fruits of both capitalism and socialism, and mold them together. Would that be 'center?' Idk.
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands. ~ Norah Jones

Offline j_menz

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There is nothing inherently wrong about Socialism. It would be an ideal world if we could take the perfect fruits of both capitalism and socialism, and mold them together. Would that be 'center?' Idk.

Not so much "centre" as "middle", as in Middle Kingdom, aka China.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline theholygideons

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Not so much "centre" as "middle", as in Middle Kingdom, aka China.
It would be anarchy if China became a democracy, think of how long the lines would be at the voting booth!!!

Offline j_menz

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It would be anarchy if China became a democracy, think of how long the lines would be at the voting booth!!!

They'd probably decide to have more than one.  ::)
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant