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What does it mean to be leftwing today (and I might add in the UK)

(19 Posts)
Grannyknot Tue 29-Oct-13 13:59:18

Still trying to get my head around UK politics, and came across this, posting in case others find it QI

gettingonabit Tue 29-Oct-13 14:49:00

Interesting link: thanks. Sums up the point that political ideologies are a moveable feast, and that only issue that polarises right and left nowadays is the way in which wealth is distributed.

Must be difficult for new voters to grasp the complexities, though. I was lucky in that I was brought up in an industrial labour heartland and I've never been tempted to vote anything else.

If politics is not on the school timetable, then it should be.

Ana Tue 29-Oct-13 15:07:22

The fact that you've never been tempted to vote anything other than Labour implies that you vote without even having read the various parties' manifestos, or listened to the Party Political Broadcasts, gettingonabit. Surely it's better to be a bit more open-minded...?

thatbags Tue 29-Oct-13 15:26:02

Minibags studies current affairs at school as part of her normal curriculum. That's in Scotland. I don't know if it's the same in other parts of the UK.

Nelliemoser Tue 29-Oct-13 15:35:36

ANA The same principal of not thinking about other views applies to anyone who always votes for exactly the same party. It makes no difference which party it is.

Its got nothing to do with whether they think deeply about politcal ideologies or not. The question to ask is to get them to offer an explanation of why they always vote in that way other than "because my Dad did." By which I mean they should be able to show some understanding of the issues and principals involved.

I would suggest that those who vote differently each time are the ones who are out for the main chance and have the least level of political convictions of all.

gettingonabit Tue 29-Oct-13 15:42:52

Ana: I've never been remotely tempted by another party because I HAVE read all their blurb! The Labour Party suits my values best, even if I disagree with some of their policies.

I think the trouble with voting according to the manifesto is that a party will use a "hot" issue to gain cheap votes. People are encouraged to vote for the party regardless of the deeper political issues, and whether their actions are good for the country.

janeainsworth Tue 29-Oct-13 15:44:31

Is it not possible to listen to the Today programme, watch Channel 4 news every night, and read a plethora of articles reflecting all colours of the political spectrum and still not be tempted to vote for a party different from the one you've always voted for?
It seems a bit harsh to assume that just because someone votes the same way at every election, they haven't given due consideration to what the issues are.

Ana Tue 29-Oct-13 15:45:20

I wasn't making a judgement on any political party, Nelliemoser, just making the point that blindly voting for a particular party just because you always have isn't particularly praisworthy, in my book.

thatbags Tue 29-Oct-13 17:09:37

the poster said she'd never been tempted to vote any other way. That implies that she has listened to the temptations and found them untempting. #interpretation

Ana Tue 29-Oct-13 17:37:39

Yes, I may have done the poster an injustice, for which I apologise. My main point still stands, though.

thatbags Tue 29-Oct-13 17:51:44


Iam64 Tue 29-Oct-13 18:04:32

I always vote Labour, though on occasion on the least worst principle. We have a good local MP, who has held the seat for Labour for a number of years, despite the fact we're a tory/labour marginal. Like others, I don't vote without giving serious consideration to what I'm voting for, rather than just 'against'.

Nelliemoser Tue 29-Oct-13 18:11:18

No Ana, but as you seemed to single out the Labour party in this instance, I thought I ought to clarify that it applies to the supporters of any and every political party.

penguinpaperback Tue 29-Oct-13 18:21:55

I'm still so disheartened by the whole expenses scandle. I only hope I can find someone worthy of my vote.

bluebell Tue 29-Oct-13 18:25:28

Anyone who thinks that party manifestos or party political
broadcasts are worth taking seriously really has a problem.Its more about a general engagement with politics over time that shapes our views. Every winning party every election does things afterwards they never said they would and don't do things they said they would.

Iam64 Tue 29-Oct-13 19:05:33

that's a real problem bluebell. We have a coalition cutting a swathe through so many public services and benefits, without these things being politically mandated. What will happen at the next election. It seems clear that many former libdem voters won't feel able to support them. There is dissatisfaction from 'traditional' labour and tory voters and enough alternatives to vote for that may lead to another hung parliament.

Granny23 Tue 29-Oct-13 21:35:50

I am saddened that all the 'passion' seems to have gone from the political scene in the UK. In my younger days, everyone seemed to take a real interest and would engage in lively discussions about policies and the ethos of the different parties. Public meetings were packed out and activists went doorstepping regularly, not just in the run up to elections.

Now the voters seem so passive - to such an extent that half of them do not even bother to vote and are much more interested in the Football, Strictly and X-factor results than those of a local bi-election. When I ask people why? the answer is usually that the Politicians are all the same (i.e. only in it for themselves) and that no matter which party gets in the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. People either change channels when anything political comes on or watch and become frustrated by hearing the same sound bites and clichés (hardworking families, illegal immigrants, north/south divide, going forward) from all sides. Their is no proper reasoned debate in the MSM - how can there be with a presenter, a panel of four and 3 or 4 topics to be covered in half an hour. If you watch PMQs on a Wednesday, all you see is petty point scoring and pathetic put-downs.

I know many former political activists of all parties who have all but given up as there seems to be no chance to put forward their own views at meetings or conferences. The 'grassroots' membership's role has been dummed down to fund raising and parroting whatever policy or statement has been handed down from above. Even my own, very democratic, one member, one vote Party, the SNP, has drifted into a Leadership/Membership divide, where any dissent from the party line is smothered and discouraged by admonitions to keep quiet until after the referendum. Many of the older activists, who have been nationalists for 50+ years, and built the Party to the status it enjoys today, take exception to being handed a 'script', from which we are not supposed to deviate when canvassing, by bright young things, who would never have countenanced becoming involved in the days when being a Nationalist was political, social and career suicide. My 'former Labour activist' friends tell me that it is even worse in their ranks and that their party is now over-run by middle class, career politicians who can never represent the working man because they have never done an honest days work in their lives.

One ray of hope here in Scotland is that the run-up to the Independence referendum is steadily breaking through the prevailing apathy. It is becoming a subject of conversation on social occasions and at work. I have been involved in organising a few Public Meetings on behalf of the 'YES' campaign which have attracted up to 200 members of the public (mainly not members of any party.) who have asked sensible, relevant questions and seemed satisfied with the answers they got and the opportunity to talk face to face afterwards with 'experts'. Likewise, when I have been canvassing, door to door, there has been much more interest than during the last several elections. Perhaps this is what 'Politics' needs throughout the UK - some real issues with clear divisions of opinion for people to get their teeth into rather than endlessly discussing whether 'winter fuel allowance should be means tested , or phased out, or added to pensions, or paid to people abroad, or whatever'.

gillybob Tue 29-Oct-13 23:56:48

Speaking as an ex member of the Labour Party I think that the public quite rightly have a degree of cynicism when it comes to political parties. The rich do get richer and the poor do get poorer whichever party happens to be in government . Does the Labour Party really represent the ordinary working class in 2013 ? For me the answer is a definite NO it does not. IMHO the Labour Party represents anyone working in the public sector (at whatever level) and has no connection at all with anyone in the private sector (even at the lowliest level). I am desperately unhappy with the current government who seem to forget that the North of England even exists and can support a high speed rail link to and from London- Birmingham (costing an estimated £52 billion, which will probably end up at £100 billion) when the A1 connecting the North of England through the Scottish Borders to Scotland is still a single carriage way!

I wouldn't even bother to argue talk about the winter fuel allowances as I can see that no party will cut their own throat by upsetting such a huge percentage of the electorate.

absent Wed 30-Oct-13 00:36:59

gillybob The Labour Party had in recent years and has now considerable interest in the private sector, especially banks and transnationals – but only at the highest level. I seem to recall a certain interest in Formula 1 and the media, but only in connection with Bernie Eccleston and Richard Desmond. (The latter once published a porn mag called something like "Legal Babes" and I often wondered what Cherie Booth QC thought about it as clearly Tony Blair MP didn't think about it at all.)