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Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

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Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Tashski on Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:31 pm

First topic message reminder :

(Not sure if this has been brought up before, apologies if it has but I couldn't see anything like it on the list)

I just read an article on the Guardian website (I retweeted it on Twitter) that discusses the ongoing problems on the left of politics in the UK. It asks whether the left need a leftist version of UKIP to effectively challenge Labour's dominance of the left. Reading the article and the interviews they took for the article it seems that the writer thinks it is possible due to the fragmentation of the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party, however, it is unlikely to happen any time soon.

so what do we all think? Is it needed? Is it indeed possible?

Personally I think it is needed but I'm not sure how likely it is to happen or indeed if it would be successful.

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:28 pm

It is perfectly natural to aspire to greater things, and parents almost always hope, and even make sacrifices to ensure, that their children will have a better life.

There will also always be people like the television character Mrs. Bucket who insisted that her name be pronounced bouquet. Harmless until you realise that some of these folk are voting against their own interests by supporting a political party which represents the filthy rich. Anybody who has practised "Keeping up with the Joneses" knows how difficult it can be to emulate the swan - serenity on the surface with exhausting activity beneath.

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:18 pm

boatlady wrote:It's a date

 lol! 

That is one date that will give me pleasure to keep boatlady  cheers 
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by biglin on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:47 am

How do you define left-wing? I've recently been told that I'm left-wing which is quite amusing as I'm neither left nor right but broadly centrist.

And leaving aside all the practical problems what actual policies would such a party put forward?

What would its attitude on the EU be? On immigration? On law and order? On the public deficit? On welfare?

Just to take a few obvious problem areas.

But (as Blair showed) rebranding might win you votes but if the soap you're selling is worthless eventually people will see through it.

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:04 am

if the soap you're selling is worthless eventually people will see through it.
Is that what you call a mixed metaphor?  scratch 
 
Left-wingers believe in the redistribution of wealth in order to reduce inequality, and that we should support those who are unable to look after themselves – the sick, the poor and the disabled. Left-wingers support good public services for all, rights for workers and minorities, and regulating businesses so that they serve everyone’s interests.
 
Right-wingers tend to take the opposite view, arguing that businesses shouldn’t be regulated, and that we should sink or swim on our own and not expect state support. Right-wingers would rather have low taxes than pay much for decent public services which they may well be rich enough not to need.
 
Left-wingers believe we’re all part of a society, right-wingers are selfish and more likely to argue that we’re just individuals. I don’t see any difficulties in defining left and right in politics, except to say that people can be on the left on social issues and on the right on economic ones, or vice versa.
 
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:25 am

IVAN Thank you for the definition of right or left wing, after reading what makes you left wing I am proud to say "I AM A LEFTY" and very happy to be so.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by biglin on Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:57 am

I'd say that was a definition that's highly dubious.

People of all political persuasions can believe in supporting those who are unable to look after themselves.

People of all political persuasions can support rights for workers and minorities.

People of all political persuasions can support good public services.

People of all political persuasions can support business regulation..

It's arguable whether low taxation and public spending are as incompatible as many people on both left and right claim.

As for the paragraph about 'left-wingers believe we're all part of a society, right-wingers are more selfish and likely to argue that we're all individuals' - well, apart from the fact that it begs the question it's also suffering from the unspoken assumptions that a) communitarianism and individualism are incompatible when in a rational world they'd go hand in hand; b) calling names and spouting propaganda works. It's a case of screeching to the converted I'm afraid; I simply don't recognise these caricatures of right-wingers and left-wingers any more than I do the opposite stereotypes put forward by those who consider themselves on the political right.

I agree with your comment about social and economic issues not always being easy to categorise in left/right terms; sadly, as someone who belongs to a lot of boards where the majority of members are Americans people of all political persuasions in America seem not to grasp that distinction.

I'll take your test but I know that too often these things don't allow for what you might call a 'nuanced' answer to questions.

But if people don't mind me discussing these things I'd love to keep on doing so.

As a perennial floating voter - in every election since 1997 I've never voted the same way twice - I'm exactly the type of person who needs to be convinced!

And I AM genuinely open to persuasion.

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:05 pm

All of modern political history demonstrates without any shred of doubt that the British Public do not elect an extremist government.

Communist aspirants in the UK have always found themselves an impotent minority, and Fascists are usually laughed off the stage in the polling-booth.

So the governing parties at Westminster perform a stately gavotte around the vanishing-point of a political Centre, changing places on occasion though rarely producing any useful progress in terms of bemefitting civilisation. But there's little to be done about that because it's what the Voters have chosen. Time after time.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by biglin on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:06 pm

oftenwrong wrote:All of modern political history demonstrates without any shred of doubt that the British Public do not elect an extremist government.

Communist aspirants in the UK have always found themselves an impotent minority, and Fascists are usually laughed off the stage in the polling-booth.

So the governing parties at Westminster perform a stately gavotte around the vanishing-point of a political Centre, changing places on occasion though rarely producing any useful progress in terms of bemefitting civilisation.  But there's little to be done about that because it's what the Voters have chosen. Time after time.

Are you seriously suggesting that Thatcher was moderate?

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by biglin on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:09 pm

This is the result of my test - several questions I felt the choices were not really applicable.

Economic Left/Right: -5.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.00

I don't know quite what they mean but what the hell!

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:16 pm

Psychometrics are an invaluable measure of human characteristics until a human-being becomes involved in answering the questions.

The bible-thumping fraudster who sank the Co-Op Bank passed the psychometric tests with higher marks than life-time Bankers who were also in competition for the job as Chairman.

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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:37 pm

It seems to be the assumptions made about the 'social desirability' factor which can scupper what might otherwise be regarded as an 'accurate' psychometric test outcome.

Or was that just my take on it...?    Shocked    

I have no political affiliation and tend to drift reluctantly ( if at all) to whoever seems 'least worst candidate' in a given situation. That said , it is never a Tory , or any unpalatable creature to the right of even them.


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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Penderyn on Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:08 pm

Ivan wrote:Left-wingers believe in the redistribution of wealth in order to reduce inequality, and that we should support those who are unable to look after themselves – the sick, the poor and the disabled. Left-wingers support good public services for all, rights for workers and minorities, and regulating businesses so that they serve everyone’s interests.
 
Right-wingers tend to take the opposite view, arguing that businesses shouldn’t be regulated, and that we should sink or swim on our own and not expect state support. Right-wingers would rather have low taxes than pay much for decent public services which they may well be rich enough not to need.
 
Left-wingers believe we’re all part of a society, right-wingers are selfish and more likely to argue that we’re just individuals. I don’t see any difficulties in defining left and right in politics, except to say that people can be on the left on social issues and on the right on economic ones, or vice versa.
 
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This 'left-winger' certainly doesn't believe in 'the redistribution of wealth in order to reduce inequality' - as you know, that would last all of ten minutes.   The only sensible answer is the utter destruction of rule by the thieving capitalists and the introduction of democracy.   All the rest is gesture.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:22 pm

biglin wrote:-
People of all political persuasions can believe in supporting those who are unable to look after themselves.
Not true. Apart from maybe a very basic ‘safety net’ (which the likes of IDS are trying to destroy with the abolition of social fund grants), right-wingers expect people to "stand on their own feet", while those who can’t cope are supposed to rely on charity. Have a read of what one notorious right-winger thinks about supporting the poor:-
 
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People of all political persuasions can support rights for workers and minorities.
LOL. When have Tories ever stood up for workers? And the only minority they are interested in consists of the richest 1% - bankers, millionaires and Tory donors.
 
People of all political persuasions can support good public services.
It’s a left-wing thing to want good public services. Right-wingers subscribe to the lie that everything is better in private hands. What do you think has been going on with the NHS under this government?  Rolling Eyes 
 
People of all political persuasions can support business regulation.
No. “Laissez-faire” and “you can’t buck the market” are the usual bleats from the right.
 
It's arguable whether low taxation and public spending are as incompatible as many people on both left and right claim.
Care to explain that one? If you have good public services, someone has to pay for them.
 
I'm seriously detecting a real whiff of fascism in some posts on this thread!......There are far too many fascists on the left just as there are on the right.
Now there’s another word you obviously don’t understand. Fascism is the fusion of state and corporate power; Mussolini said so, and he should know! Or you can have Google’s definition: “An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organisation.” As Wikipedia tells us: “Fascist movements are hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism”. One of the first things that fascists usually do when they seize power is to persecute those on the left. There is no such thing as a left-wing fascist.
 
All the features which you probably associate with fascism are in fact traits of authoritarianism, which can be found on the left, especially with monsters like Stalin and Mao. But then you know all about authoritarianism because you’ve just taken the Political Compass test!  Smile
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:40 pm

If left wing parties are to succeed in power, they need more than passion

From an article by Owen Jones:-

"Social democracy is imploding. Its original social base – an alliance of the industrial working class and the progressive middle class – has fragmented. Social democrats’ acceptance of pro-market nostrums in the 1990s and 2000s left their political mission ever vaguer. When mainstream social democracy – however reluctantly – embraced austerity, attacking its own supporters and leaving it without any clear purpose, it left a large vacuum.

In Britain, the Miliband era was a striking chapter in the crisis of European social democracy. Five years of ideological mush that satisfied nobody; the failure to offer any coherent, let alone compelling, vision; the failure to rebut the myth that Labour’s spending threw Britain into economic crisis: all these ensured that Britain was returned into the Tory fold.

Thousands then flooded into Labour’s membership and people queued around the block to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak. The same discontent that has been sweeping the Western world latched on to Corbyn’s unlikely candidature, a man who ended up with the most impeachable democratic mandate of any party leader in history.

Labour now had a leadership with little experience in either mainstream politics or media, colliding with a hysterically aggressive press and a Tory Party dripping with McCarthyite invective. Smears about Corbyn being a threat to national security might seem laughable to tweeters, but they can resonate in the wider world. Hence the need to emphasise that the left’s intent to rid Britain of injustice is an inherently patriotic act. The lesson of 2015 is not to despair, but to learn
."

For the whole article:-
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:29 pm

Ivan we have a left wing pary NOW with JC in charge of the Labour party, why will people & MPs not give him a fair go at leading the Labour party, JC has never had a ministial job in his 30 years in the HOC so we need to give him a chance to settle into the job otherwise we need to get prepared for a one party state and the Tories ruling us for ever.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Penderyn on Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:41 pm

Those who believe in fuhrers should join a fascist party. The question is whether a party's policy stands for the great mass of working people or the failing capitalist system and a few careerists who have made a bet against the existing tory party as a way to feather their own nests.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:35 am

Penderyn I think Jermy Corbyn's policies would be good for all working people, I agree that those Labour MPs that want to bring in Tory policies should EFF OFF and join a FACIST party if they cannot bring themselves to believe in the TRUE Labour values.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Penderyn on Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:24 pm

Redflag wrote:Penderyn I think Jermy Corbyn's policies would be good for all working people, I agree that those Labour MPs that want to bring in Tory policies should EFF OFF and join a FACIST party if they cannot bring themselves to believe in the TRUE Labour values.

I have no doubt that the policies supported by Mr Corbyn and most decent people would be good for workers, but because they are the right policies, not because any 'Leaders' supports them.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:02 am

I think you have a good point there Penderyn, I just wish that people would wake up and smell the coffee before its too late, before Davy boy has sold off all our public service's because all he will have left to sell to his banker mates is the UK itself.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:24 am

How Jeremy Corbyn has reshaped the Labour Party

From an article by Ewen MacAskill:-

Jeremy Corbyn’s hopes of remoulding Labour have been boosted by a detailed ‘Guardian’ survey into the party at grassroots level that shows overwhelming support for him, a decisive shift to the left and unhappiness with squabbling among MPs.

‘The Guardian’ has interviewed Labour secretaries, chairs, other office holders and members from more than 100 of the 632 constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales. Almost every constituency party across the country we contacted reported doubling, trebling, quadrupling or even quintupling membership, and a revival of branches that had been moribund for years and close to folding.

Reflecting increased interest among the young, university cities and towns recorded some of the biggest rises, with Bath jumping from 300 to 1,322 members and Colchester from 200-250 to almost 1,000. Neither is a traditional Labour seat.

The survey findings are borne out by Labour’s national figures, released to ‘The Guardian’ in a break with the party tradition of keeping them secret. Membership jumped from 201,293 on 6 May last year, the day before the general election, to 388,407 on 10 January.


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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:06 am

The survey also proves the people of the UK are getting there brains into gear, now all we need is those Labour MPs get there brains into gear Labour should be able to do what they should be doing telling the people of the UK the truth about what the Tories are REALLY doing to the UK.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:21 pm

In 1945, politics in the UK took a decisive shift to the left with Clement Attlee’s landslide victory. After the destruction of World War Two, there was an appetite for something different – national reconstruction, with an emphasis on homes to replace those destroyed in the war and jobs for demobbed servicemen. New towns were built, the NHS was set up and coal mines and the railways were nationalised.

Despite receiving even more votes in 1951 than it had in 1945, Labour was evicted from office because of the vagaries of our voting system, and the party remained in opposition for the next thirteen years. However, during that time the Tories continued to build council houses and made no attempt to reverse the post-war shift leftwards. In other words, they accepted the social democratic consensus which came to be known as ‘Butskellism’, after the prominent Tory politician Butler and the Labour leader Gaitskell. In 1956, the Labour politician Anthony Crosland published ‘The Future of Socialism’, a book which celebrated “a leftward shift in the balance of electoral opinion”. Thatcher later complained that the Tory Party had “merely pitched camp in the long march to the left”.

As we all know, Thatcher came to power in 1979 (despite having been described as “unelectable” by her opponents – does that sound familiar?), and she moved British politics sharply to the right, succeeding with bribes of council houses and cheap shares, using mass unemployment to all but destroy the trade unions, and stirring up jingoism with an unnecessary war over some worthless (and expensive to defend) rocks in the South Atlantic. Maybe after forty years of neoliberalism, enough of the British public will be ready for another dramatic shift at the next election, this time leftwards. Only time will tell.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:44 pm

If logic were to apply to the way Britain votes, a Labour government would be the only possibility at the next election.  The Tories have gone out of their way to upset the less well-off, naturally, but also in their sights recently have come the Military, Police, Medical profession, Barristers, Teachers and public employees.

Now, from April, the Chancellor is capping the amount you can save in a lifetime pension fund at £1million, anything over being heavily taxed for the first time ever.  Women are being severely penalised by the later retirement age, because many weren't told in time to pay extra NIC for the best entitlement, when the flat rate comes in.

That only leaves fat cats not smarting from Tory rule.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:07 pm

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Britain who are perfectly well-off despite what Cameron and his Cruel Cohorts are doing and have no real need for their demise - I am one of them.

My motivations for wishing to see the Tories unseated are based purely upon fairness for those who are not in that happy position. But not everyone cares that much and for those folk there needs to be some other reasons to support Corbyn. I suggest that it will not be a raft of left-wing dogma and hard-nosed socialist ideals - of which many are suspicious, or otherwise nervous or unconvinced - which will get these people into the Labour tent.

But there is absolutely no reason for anyone to wish for anything other than a considerable leftward march, particularly if they are content with not having their preferred party in power.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Redflag on Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:30 pm

oftenwrong wrote:If logic were to apply to the way Britain votes, a Labour government would be the only possibility at the next election.  The Tories have gone out of their way to upset the less well-off, naturally, but also in their sights recently have come the Military, Police, Medical profession, Barristers, Teachers and public employees.

Good post OW and very true let us hope the Tories upset the wankers & hedge fund managers and that will be the end of the Tory party
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Penderyn on Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:43 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:There are hundreds of thousands of people in Britain who are perfectly well-off despite what Cameron and his Cruel Cohorts are doing and have no real need for their demise - I am one of them.........But there is absolutely no reason for anyone to wish for anything other than a considerable leftward march, particularly if they are content with not having their preferred party in power.

There is every reason why the vast majority of people should wish to abolish capitalism, and it has nothing to do with supporting fuhrers.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:24 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:-
There are hundreds of thousands of people in Britain who are perfectly well-off despite what Cameron and his Cruel Cohorts are doing and have no real need for their demise
According to the Child Poverty Action Group, there were 3.7 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2013-14, that’s 28% of all children. 913,138 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14, and the number is even higher now. They do have real need for the demise of the Tories.

15.75 million people didn’t bother to vote in last year’s general election. Some, like the 140,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the UK, will never vote because of what it says in Romans 13 about supporting a “superior authority”. Other groups – ethnic minorities, the young and the very poor – are much less likely to vote than pensioners who, despite the low returns on any savings they might possess, have to some extent been shielded by the Tories from the worst of the austerity cuts with above inflation pension increases.

Tory politicians are not interested in those who don’t vote, and that’s why young people are getting such a raw deal. However, some youngsters seem to be waking up to the fact that they’re likely to be less prosperous, and have to work longer, than their parents. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn can at least in part be attributed to those under-30s who have been motivated by his offer of a complete change from the neoliberal consensus that has developed since 1979.

I get annoyed when I hear ‘experts’ - professional or just self-styled on Twitter - repeating the mantra of the Tory press that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn can’t possibly win the 2020 election. For a start, as Harold Wilson reminded us, “a week is a long time in politics”, so four years is an eternity. And then there are Harold Macmillan’s “events dear boy”. Osborne is getting his excuses in early for a likely global crash, which this time might be precipitated in China rather than the USA - and which it will be impossible for him to try to blame on Labour. ‘Black Wednesday’ in 1992 destroyed the Tory pretence of economic competence, and the same thing could happen again. Anyone who claims to know how 45 million people might (or might not) vote in 2020 is an arrogant fool.

I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn has a hope in hell of persuading a million or so borderline Tory/Blairite supporters of becoming more altruistic and supporting his left-wing agenda. But he does have a chance of winning back the four million voters who have deserted Labour since 1997 because they felt the party no longer represented them and had become “just the same as the Tories”. As I said, 15.75 million people didn’t vote last May; Labour’s task is to persuade a million or two of those that it’s in their best interests to kick out this vile government. It would help if all MPs and members stopped behaving like bad losers, accepted the result of the party leadership election, and concentrated on highlighting the corruption and cruelty of Cameron and his cohorts.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Penderyn on Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:36 pm

Well said, Ivan. Our work is to fight cynicism just as much as tories. Bring back our lost millions, and to hell with the rich!
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:55 pm

"... an arrogant fool. "

I've been called worse...! Smile
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:36 pm

Many people might take the topic heading as a straightforward opportunity for abstract discussion on the question of "need". So it may seem odd to them when the general is taken to be particular by an individual. But that's probably what makes Sociology such an interesting study.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:18 pm

"Those who don't vote" are not the solution for Labour in 2020.

Ben Bradshaw ‏on BBC Radio 4 The World Tonight on Margaret Beckett's report about why Labour lost the election.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Penderyn on Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:27 pm

Who cares about 'the solution for Labour'?  What matters is the vast democratic deficit created by the desertion of the working people of Britain by the careerists, and our need to rebuilds the Movement for which our ancestors so often starved and died..
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by boatlady on Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:04 pm

But without a functional political party it may be difficult to change things?
And I don't see any other large party putting forward socially progressive ideas
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by bobby on Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:28 am

What has been proven since WW2,  neither extreme in politics works for the benefit of the relevant Countries. Take the extreme right and compare it to the extreme left you will not find much difference for Joe and Joann public other than commercially.
Both extremes rely on controlling their respective populations. The right by unfair economics, media control and gerrymandering amongst other things. The left is far more honest in that their control is based on fear and total control of peoples lives and do not bother to try and hide it unlike right wing leaders who will only show their true colours after they have full power.
Both are headed by Despots, fortunately we haven't moved that far right "yet" but are well on our way if this rancid Fascist Government are allowed to get away with all they have planned for us we know what to expect.
You only need to look at Adolf Hitler and compare him with Joseph Stalin to see what I mean.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:05 am

There is little evidence in General Election results to encourage extremists. The British electorate swings nervously but gently from moderate right to moderate left, and back again with an occasional nod acknowledging the centre.

The Tories support the wealthy, and accordingly have more money to spend on propaganda, so Labour has to balance that with troops on the ground to educate the disadvantaged majority, although they actually don't welcome that description. For Labour to win the 2020 election it must lift the blindfold from voters who follow right-wing-newspaper instructions and also motivate the apathetic.

That's all. Begin as soon as you like.
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Re: Does the UK need a 'true leftist' party?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:43 am

Hitler and Stalin did indeed have a few things in common. Both were very much on the ‘authoritarian’ axis of politics, both set about persecuting and liquidating minorities (Hitler with Jews and gypsies, Stalin with Kulaks), and both had serious mental issues. Stalin was responsible for more deaths (unless you hold Hitler responsible for everyone who died in WW2), but no doubt that was because he was in power for much longer (29 years as opposed to 12).

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I don’t accept that the British electorate “swings nervously but gently between moderate right and moderate left”. 1945 saw a sharp swing to the left, admittedly in unusual circumstances at the end of fifteen years of depression and a world war. As her position on the above chart indicates, there was nothing ‘moderate’ about Thatcher, yet she contrived to win three successive elections. Then the most vicious and most right-wing government in modern British history scraped an overall majority last year. As we discussed on another thread, the concepts of left and right don’t cut much ice with the majority of voters, who aren’t political geeks like us. It’s all about how people feel and how effective parties are at conveying simple and seductive messages, which is always easier of course if most of the media is in your pocket.

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