Chalk & Cheese – The Real Left/Right Divide.

“Politicians are all as bad as each other. They all make promises they don’t keep, and say whatever they think will get them elected”. That’s the refrain time and again from all but the most loyal party supporters.

It’s easy to understand why they feel this way. David Cameron couldn’t answer a straight question on whether he could “live on a zero hours contract” – after some prodding he finally admitted he couldn’t*. While Ed Miliband refused to admit that Labour had spent too much money despite the head of his finance team leaving a note that “there was no money left”.

So for the independently minded and swing voters among us, we need to look behind the rhetoric and blatant self-promotion if we want to find tangible evidence to support the choices we are about to make in the next few weeks.

It seems to be that, while on the surface the two main parties (Conservatives & Labour usually share between 60% and 70% of the vote) can be tarred with the same brush, if we look under the bonnet it is clear that they are as different as chalk and cheese in terms of what they believe in and how they go about running our country and our government.

One party believes in small government characterized by individual rights with a safety blanket of collective responsibility, as lower taxation as reasonable, fiscal conservatism and free markets.

The other believes in a large state and public sector funded by a larger tax take, a generous welfare state that mitigates the need for greater personal responsibility, and heavily managed and in some cases subsidised markets.

The consequences of the latter, in terms of the debt and financial well-being of the country, is well illustrated in thus report from the Independent Office of Budget Responsibility. It shows very clearly that the level of debt and the country’s net worth became unsustainable during the 13 years of the last Labour government. This debt was built on the back of a massive surge in public sector spending.

So while politicians continue to confuse, obfuscate and in many cases intentionally mislead us  (sic the NHS has not been privatised under the coalition government, and the move toward ‘marketisation’ started under Labour), the divide between the politics of the right and the left is very clear.

We can either choose fiscal and personal responsibility backed up with by a safety net for those who truly need society’s help. Or we can choose a party that left the country bankrupt and believes the answer to most problems is not ‘people power’ but more government.

Those on the ‘left’ often point to Sweden as an example of an economy and society that has a large well run state sector, yet on any rank of wealth, health & happiness Sweden comes close to the top.

Their government is very much a coalition of centrist parties, and their PM makes a clear indictment of Labour’s stewardship of the British economy when he said Labour didn’t have the fiscal discipline that all Sweden’s main parties preach. “If you want to run a big welfare state you need to run surpluses in good times,” Mr. Borg says. “That was a huge difference between the Swedish Social Democrats and the Labour Party. Ours were far more prudent in terms of fiscal policy.”

I would vote for smaller government and ‘people not politics’ every time. Furthermore, if we are to have another coalition government as seems likely, then it must be a coalition built around the political centre and not one dragged to the extremes of the left wing which is invariably what will happen if the two Eds get to form the next Government.

The difference between Left & Right really is like chalk and cheese. What will you choose?

*As an aside I think that zero hours contracts in the hands of ‘responsible employers’ are a very smart way of giving both employers and employees the flexibility to work as and when they are needed or want to.

8 thoughts on “Chalk & Cheese – The Real Left/Right Divide.

  • 4th April 2015 at 11:21 am

    It is so annoying when one agrees with everything written!

  • 4th April 2015 at 3:50 pm

    1. 66% of people on zero hours contracts are happy leaving 34% of some 700,000, viz. 238,000 unhappy. 17 % of all such contracts are in the private sector, therefore it can be reasoned that the private sector has some 40,460 ( 17% of 238000) unhappy employees. With a UK employment figure of some 30.5 million this unhappy bunch in the private sector equates to 0.133%. These are the concern of the Milliband gang. What a pathetic campaign, which ignores the other 99.88%. Its time central office publicised this.

    2. The shadow Minister for Education makes much play of only employing `qualified teachers’. His definition appears to be those who have a degree and who have attended teachers training college. One has to ask if such persons without a degree in say Maths or the sciences, and who may not even passed these subjects at GCSE level and who regularly teach them are `qualified. Furthermore, and heaven forbid, should he hold office how will he replace the many unqualified teaching assistants, who regularly take classes.

    • 6th April 2015 at 11:00 am

      Great analysis Harry. Thank you. The issue is not the Zero Hours legislation, it is a few irresponsible employers who lack any corporate social responsibility that are the problem. As for education, with no children of our own, that is a debate I stay out of. That said, I understand that UKIP has a policy to scrap tuition fees for all studying Science, Technology, Engineering or Medical Degrees…..that seems like a sensible idea to me.

  • 4th April 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Clive!
    I think most would agree, but, how to achieve a centrist party in UK politics? We are stuck with the politicians we have!
    Seems to me the SNP will hold the whip hand over both Labour and Conservative efforts. That bothers me greatly!

    • 6th April 2015 at 10:56 am

      I am beginning to understand and appreciate why many Californians would like to succeed from the USA. Personally, if the SDP do hold the upper hand in the next government then I think we should be voting to succeed from Scotland probably before we renegotiate with the EU!

  • 5th April 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I agree Clive.

    I think zero hours is a good way of managing supply and demand. If there was a huge demand for David Cameron’s services under a zero hour contract for him, then the other side of supply and demand would kick in – in other words a rate that would or could support him. There is of course a correlation between zero hour contracts and minimal wage but there does not have to be. Instead of attacking zero hour contracts, maybe the magnifying glass should focus on whether the hourly rate is appropriate.

    Large government, large debt, large spending, more bureaucracy etc never really works for me. Smaller effective government, responsible investment that boosts economy and does not tax businesses to death is a lot more attractive.

    Now where has the sun gone?

    • 6th April 2015 at 10:54 am

      Sun is out now Sheyne….a beautiful bank holiday. Hope all is well with you and yours and thanks for following the blog!


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