Right or Left?

From ‘I don’t get politics’: Left wing beliefs are usually progressive in nature, they look to the future, aim to support those who cannot support themselves, are idealist and believe in equality. People who are left wing believe in taxation to redistribute opportunity and wealth – things like a national health service, and job seeker’s … Continue reading “Right or Left?”

From ‘I don’t get politics’:

Left wing beliefs are usually progressive in nature, they look to the future, aim to support those who cannot support themselves, are idealist and believe in equality. People who are left wing believe in taxation to redistribute opportunity and wealth – things like a national health service, and job seeker’s allowance are fundamentally left wing ideas. They believe in equality over the freedom to fail.

Right wing beliefs value tradition, they are about equity, survival of the fittest, and they believe in economic freedom. They typically believe that business shouldn’t be regulated, and that we should all look after ourselves. Right wing people tend believe they shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s education or health service. They believe in freedom to succeed over equality.

Based on this, I’m firmly in the left wing camp. Which means that some self-styled politicos are either talking shite or both this web site and Wikipedia are wrong.

Obviously this is reductionist. I’ve said before that I’m socially liberal, fiscally conservative (as opposed to ‘tory’) and economically progressive. That means I think everyone should be treated equally and the laws of the land should reflect the will of the people,. It means we need to be careful how we spend our money but it also means ensuring that everyone has enough to live on with adequate healthcare so they can enjoy it, otherwise it’s not a society you’re maintaining). It means we need to think outside the box when designing how our wee province will thrive and this means taking some bold steps in productivity and creating opportunity

I feel I need to write my 95 theses.

7 thoughts on “Right or Left?”

  1. I know the feeling. I’m somewhere left of centre, with the fundamental belief that provided that you don’t exploit anyone, you can earn as much as you like and keep it.

    Examples of what I’d call exploitation:
    – Forcing suppliers to accept lower prices which damage them when you can afford to pay more.
    – Paying your staff the least you can get away with instead of what they are worth (which leaves the State to pick up the tab in in-work benefits such as working tax credits!)
    – Charging your customers as much as you can possibly get away with
    – Arranging your financial affairs using offshore accounts so that others have to carry the tax burden that you are avoiding
    – Playing the system and giving those who need help a bad name by your own selfishness (particularly the benefits system – look at the outcry against all claimants, when only a tiny number are playing the system, and genuine claimants are losing out)

    Why all these? Because maximising your own income at the expense of everyone else impoverishes them, and makes it harder for them to fulfil their potential, meaning we lose entrepreneurs and great ideas that would be objectively good for our economy to lack of wherewithal to make it happen. In other words, capitalism is freedom of opportunity for only the few (and logically unfettered competition will see the rich squeeze competitors out of the market), and erects barriers to the freedom of the many.

    I think it would be considered to be classic liberalism – do what you like as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

    Selfishness of course means that people don’t really care whether other people are harmed, and that is the fundamental problem with both capitalism and socialism – capitalism is survival of the fittest and rewards selfishness, while socialism followed to its natural conclusion means there’s nothing in it for the individual if they work harder so they might as well be lazy.

  2. I empathise. It pains me when folk that I consider to be friends take pains to describe me as “tory” because I don’t want to be (in this case), green.

    I spend all of my time working to better the situation of others. I do this and yet others, who promise much and deliver little in terms of social responsibility, have some cheek.

    It seems that if you want to encourage some to better themselves through education or work, then you’re automatically a tory.

    For the record also – I bloody hate the word “progressive” because it is utterly without meaning in the absence of context. And yeah, certain folk describe themselves as “progressive” but when pushed can only say “not tory”.

      1. It galls me that “centrist” parties, who have most to gain, who have the greatest opportunity, fail to talk. They have to realise their opportunity is huge but not while they are fighting for the same ten North Down voters.

        1. The problem with “centrist,” and indeed, all non-sectarian parties is that the threat posed by NI21 might only last until 2015. North Down is the only place with a threat to Alliance electorate other than NI21, and I think the Tories (who are hardly centrist of course) are on the way down, while in practice I think the common ground with the Greens makes them people to work with constructively rather than a threat.

          I’m in no danger of accusing you of being a Tory. 🙂

          1. Except that if you talk to GPNI, you get accused of not being “progressive” and being a “tory” if you’re affiliated with NI21 in any way.

            And maybe it is because I’m in North Down which would challenge GPNI – but really I have no interest in seeing the Greens unseated. I’d welcome a power share between a moderate unionist, a moderate other and a moderate nationalist coalition. Especially if their first act was to rid us of designation.

          2. Hardly fair of them, when you look at NI21’s policies on the website. In general I’ve struggled to see clear water on most subjects between NI21 and Alliance, other than the fact that NI21 are specifically in favour of the union, as opposed to that being the preference of what I would say is a decent majority of the Alliance party members.

            The challenge for both parties, and I think they’re both aware of this necessity, is to promote indigenous SMEs with global impact, creating real GDP and meeting needs.

            In particular, and if I understand anything about you it’s that you think this too, that means to lower barriers stopping ordinary people with dreams from making them reality such as money and access to training – the old “I wish I could…” that you hear from people like me, for example! If people can’t try in the first place, they have no option but to fail.

            Part of that is fiscal policy. If you cut spending, it affects the ability of dreamers without much money to make things happen. If you increase indirect taxes, it does exactly the same thing. Progressive taxation, ie richer people giving up more of their income (assuming they don’t avoid tax!) makes it easier for those with lower incomes to make things happen – and without reducing safety nets, wasting money on privatisation deals that cost more and deliver less (because while the private sector is more “efficient”, doing more with less by cutting their own costs, badly written contracts and the private sector’s desire for profit pushes the cost up – or see also Balmoral High School), you can still balance your books.

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