Anatomy of the "right"


            The liberal media tends to call anyone “right” as a term of abuse for people they disagree with.  The “right” within the Conservative party is a term used  to describe a wide range of people, often with very different views on issues.

            There are, for example, right wing  liberals, and right wing authoritarians. The right wing freedom lovers want more civil liberties, seek proper checks and balances to the abuse and use of state power, distrust ID cards, excessive stop and search, detention without trial and the rest.  The right wing authoritarians think the state’s prime duty is to defend its citizens. They think the state might have to restrict freedom, keep more records, spend more on police, prisons and surveillance.

              The first group of “right wingers” often find themselves in alliance with “left wing” civil liberty lobbies. The second group of authoritarians have more in common with Blunkett and the populist authoritarianism of New Labour.

                There are then the small state “right wing”  Conservatives, who want the state to do much less, spend, borrow and tax less. These are countered by the better state Conservatives, who want expanded Armed forces, police and security budgets and budgets for some other public services even at the cost of higher borrowing and taxes.

                  There are “right wing” moral Conservatives, following a Catholic style morality. They want tight control on abortion, religious education, tax breaks for the married family, support for traditional families. There are then the new liberal right wingers, who want much greater freedom for various lifestyles, and favour liberalising drugs, and avoiding moral comment on how people live.

              In foreign policy there are “new right” neo-cons, who support muscular intervention, often led by the USA. They gave Tony Blair strong support for Iraq and Afghanistan. They are opposed by small state Conservatives, who disliked the assertion of force in the Middle East by the UK.

                 The Commons often throws together some unlikely collaborators. Traditional socialists want less power to go to the EU, as they see the EU as a kind of capitalist plot. Many Conservatives want less power to the EU, as they see it as a kind of social democrat plot. The two groups agree about several things, They agree that decisions should be taken in the UK, not in Brussels. The main decisions should be taken by elected officials answerable to the UK electorate. The decisions should be capable of reverse if the Uk government changes.  They merely disagree passionately about what those decisions should be. Anti EU votes bring together so called left and right.

                Some Labour people were upset by the attack on civil liberties mounted in the name of counter terrorism by the last government. They do end up voting with Conservatives to curb the powers of the state.

                      The Catholic family agenda has adherents on the Labour benches as well as on the Conservative benches.

                      It is all a lot more complex and fluid than a simple left-right analysis would suggest. The prism of party loyalty and dog fights is no longer a perfect one through which to see three party politics with many pressure groups and splintered factions within main parties.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    To the BBC it is simple- right wing usually is just associated with racism and police brutality, uncaring for the poor or disadvantaged or anything else evil that they can associate it with.

    I want a smallish state, civil liberties, real science and keep religion and envy out of everything person – perhaps a right wing freedom lover as you put it.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Huhne speaking on The Politics Show on the BBC said:

      “You could foresee a situation where it [the 80mph limit] would apply to electric vehicles, in which case there would be absolutely no extra carbon emissions.”

      Perhaps he will next suggest we go over to driving on the right like the rest of the EU, starting perhaps with the electric cars this year, petrol next year and the trucks the years after.

      The man is clearly bonkers – please could you tell him that electric car have lots of emissions (often more than internal combustion) just not at the car end. Also that having some cars doing 80 when others are restricted to seventy, on the same road, is not very sensible. Anyway can most electric cars even do 80 at all certainly, not for more than a few miles or up hill?

      Some are certainly not very save at any speed I hear – often having far lower safety standards.

      • Gary
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        A man wandering daily through a park, depositing sensitive documents in the bin. Now that’s bonkers. I have only seen that in comedy or spy movies.

        I hope we only have a govt of clowns, anything else is too dark to contemplate.

        “reduce the size of govt, so that it can be drowned in the bath tub” – to paraphrase Norquist.

        • Stuart Fairney
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          Sorry for the O/T but does anyone know what the lapel badge the Chancellor was wearing at the G20 finance ministers meeting was? Most of ’em were wearing them so I guess it is some kind of G20 thing?

          • zorro
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            Not sure either, Mr Geithner wasn’t wearing one though…maybe it was something about carbon emissions but probably should have been about a pact to limit hot air emissions….


      • Disaffected
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        You are quite right Co emissions from building electric cars is much higher than conventional ones. Huhne always seems to forget the energy in and energy out principle. If he applied the true extent to windmills the public would be horrified at the huge cost, in financial terms and emissions. Wind machines will rarely reach capacity and on average will be 35% less efficient and 22 times more costly. They will not recover the energy used to build them especially if set in the sea. It has been described as economic lunacy by some and I happen to agree with that view.
        Mean while back in the fruit farm of cabinet we will be told that we are in dire fiscal circumstance.
        Reading the papers today Osborne has admitted that the UK will be contributing to the Eurozone through the IMF in the tune of billions of pounds- we were told the UK would not contribute.
        Two more immigrant criminals successfully claimed right to family life to stay in the UK after committing horrendous crimes. When are the Tories going to behave like Tories??

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      You say “It is all a lot more complex and fluid than a simple left-right analysis would suggest” indeed it is and that is why a single vote on all the many issues between two or three candidates (with an actual chance of winning) on the whole basket of issues, every 5 years, is no democracy at all. Even without the undemocratic EU element over the top.

    • wab
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      “I want a smallish state”.

      Translation: I only want the state to spend money on things I want / need.

      “I want … real science”.

      Translation: I have no clue about any of the physics or mathematics behind climate science but I don’t like the conclusions that climate scientists have reached so I am going to pretend that it is all wrong.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        “I want a smallish state”.

        I only want the state to do what it is sensible for the state to do (and where it can do so more efficiently than the people can themselves).

        “I want … real science”.

        As it happens my university education was in Maths and Physics. I know, from this training, that although C02 is clearly a factor (one of many thousands) you cannot jump from that to the absurd Al Gore style exaggerations.

        Anyway the solutions pushed, wind and PV, do not even save C02 in any real sense, all things considered. Anyway there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995 no warming since 1997.

        See below if you do not believe my credentials and read his reports (this is why the “warmists” are getting so worried):

        There has been no warming since 1997 and no
        statistically significant warming since 1995.
        Richard S. Lindzen
        Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
        MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          In addition try “The truth about greenhouse gases” by Prof William Happer Professor of Physics at Princeton University.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          Could argue all day on the credentials of global warming scientists and how accurate their predictions are, but have you noticed that many people who are against the theory of global warming tend to be of the older generation. John Wallace of the University of Washington agreed with Lindzen that progress in climate change science had been exaggerated, but said there are “relatively few scientists who are as skeptical of the whole thing as Dick [Lindzen] is” (He is 71. Wikipedia) As global warming and climate change is so complex in my personal view I would see this as relevant. We are all doomed, but as an older person you are more doomed. Hence this viewpoint.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 17, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            You ask “have you noticed that many people who are against the theory of global warming tend to be of the older generation”.

            Some are old and wise and have seen all the bogus exaggerated scares before. Anyway the old have little to lose in telling the truth and many have grandchildren and great grandchildren.

            But some, like me, are youngish and just apply science and logic to the situation. What is the old saying something like – Show me a young person who is right wing and I will show you someone without a heart and someone old who is left wing and I will show you someone without a brain – or perhaps just someone with a clear vested interest.

      • Bob
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        The problem is that in real science you never say “the science is settled”, and you don’t hide data that undermines your theory.

      • APL
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        WAB: “Translation: I only want the state to spend money on things I want / need.”

        That I suppose is the Monty Python translation book.

        That’s probably a collectors item by now. Worth a bob or two.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        When this smaller state leads to civil unrest do you still want it? Pay for the police? Millions rely on the state and would suffer starvation and bad health without it, as they do now. How much is your health worth. All. Many are like simple like children. The private sector is clearly unable to fill the gap and many lack the most basic skills to service the private sector. You are unable to answer even the most simple questions on who will pay, and child poverty. My politics maybe simple, but at least they are joined up.
        You are like many on this site a simple apologist for the rich.

        • Bob
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.
          Could you clarify?

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Civil unrest is more likely if they do not cut the state down to size and so get real growth going again.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            Cut the state down to size? What does this mean? If you are poor you need the state in this country. There is no opportunity to become a peasant.
            By cutting millions of benefits? Which benefits specifically. Housing benefit? Child benefit? The NHS? Who will pay for healthcare. If you think there should be less healthcare and less benefits justify this. The simple truth is that if you have five children and no skills then it is not in your interests to work and has been like this for decades. Stop their benefits. Crawl out from under your stone and say so. Pay for healthcare or do not get any. Do tell. There would be riot from day one.
            Truth is you know this is a political non starter and a spiteful little middle class fantasy this is why no one on this site ever just comes out with this.
            Cuts to parasite privately owned companies bleeding the state and the middle class social security system. Don’t read much about this.

        • APL
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “When this smaller state leads to civil unrest do you still want it? ”

          That comment can be interpreted in at least two ways.

          1. A threat: If the government tries to cut back on the public sector there will be civil unrest.


          2. An assertion: a largely private sector economy is subject to more to civil unrest than a largely public sector economy.

          To refute the second case, I give you East Germany at the time the Berlin wall went down. A one hundred percent Public sector economy, where according to Bazman the pop0ulation should be deliriously happy, but inexplicably the population rose up and deposed the government.

      • paulo anonymous
        Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Instead of trying to put words in the poster’s mouth, why didn’t you simply ask him what he meant by smallish state and real science?

        • Steven Whitfield
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink


          Because a left wingers position is nearly always defended by attacking the character of an opponent. For the left it is not enough to say they disagree with you- they also have to suggest you are dangerous, selfish, ignorant or racist.

          The left’s view of society isn’t based on facts,reason, history or logic but on envy,spite and political correctness – so this is the only line of attack left open.

    • Bob
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      You can usually define left and right when they appear on the Question Time panel. If David Dimbleby interrupts you incessantly and you receive howls of derision from the audience whenever you speak, you are probably espousing the views of the right.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        It is quite rare for them to have anyone from the right even on the program. Given that most Tories are lefty too. Even when they are present they usually tone it down so that the lefty audience and other panelists to not get too excited. If they are politicians or senior businessmen they cannot tell the truth anyway.

        No one as the top of M&S for example is going to say nearly all the employment laws are daft and counterproductive and that most regulations make people worse off or give the real reason for the genders pay gap or that the CO2 agenda is nonsense.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          As all employment laws are pointless it is strange that you cannot even name one that could be abolished. Well not that strange.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            All should go pretty much beyond the normal laws of contracts and reasonable safety precautions.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            Indeed! Good idea! All business will be carried out in the spirit of chaps and gentlemen.

  2. Gary
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    All these splintered factions patently have little say over the right wing neocons. For no matter who we vote for, we get more imperialist wars, more backing for the fractional reserve system, more surveillance, more EU, more big govt, more bailouts, more threats of censorship.

    Who is actually installing these people ? It is not us.

  3. stred
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I have thought along these lines for many years. We have seen more regulations and laws to the extent where the number of lawyers has trebled. The result is often peverse, and for example we are phoned by firms of fee grubbing lawyers encourageing us to sue for dubious claims for accidents or to welch on our debts. The latter, thanks to Mr Mandleson’s efforts when a minister- he of big dodgy loans from his political frinds.

    Our relations with the police have also changed. From admirers of the police of the Dixon of Dock Green type to fear of being charged with some social crime when forgetting to follow the obsure laws, such as turning the knob on your car radio or eating a mars bar while driving. Meanwhile, the senior police have become left wing socialists in the way that they protect the thief and prosecute the householder. And expect the midnight call if you are an elected politician and a getting too close to something fishy and hidden by the estalishment.

    There is a part of right wing which is all for freedom of the individual, but the Liberal party seems not to include those of us in a job where we are trying to use our own professional judgement to do something creative. Here the State is all controlling.

    What is needed is a new party to represent the right/left voters who wish for a bonfire of all the suffocating laws and excessive rights to sue. A party which will redeploy the army of bureaucrats and jobsworths to do something the taxpayer actually wants.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed what is the point of endless laws that no one can possibly have the time to read or understand. Especially as they often self contradict or use vague terms and even the lawyers cannot give you a straight answer. The only point of their creation is that MPs like to be seen doing something and for the creation parasitic jobs bleeding the productive economy.

      Many laws are read and understood by about as many people as the number of dogs who have read the dangerous dogs act. So what real effect can they have? Other than the enrichment of lawyers and the like and the endless enlargement of the parasitic sector.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        That way of thinking will also apply to drug laws I take it?

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          I am so glad you said this.
          Yes. That is my own opinion. I would really like to see, as in Amsterdam, drug pubs where the whole thing could be regulated and people could learn a few manners.
          I am told that H is now very old hat and that people do actually learn what to take.
          Also, of course, we all know that the poor little black bloke by the garage gets busted while the A list Celeb is snorting like a flour mill.
          By the way, at 72, I am the wrong generation to do drugs. We just smoked ourselves to death!

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Sometimes yes but not always.

    • Bob
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      “What is needed is a new party to represent the right/left voters who wish for a bonfire of all the suffocating laws and excessive rights to sue. A party which will redeploy the army of bureaucrats and jobsworths to do something the taxpayer actually wants.”

      There is such a party, but they’re mostly overlooked by the all dominant BBC, and are not allowed to join in the election debates which were restricted to the BBC’s approved candidates (who always win funnily enough!).

      • ms m davies
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        I presume you mean the BNP? I voted BNP in the last Election and I will do so again if the Conservatives don’t start behaving like real Conservatives.

        • Sean O'Hare
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Don’t know why you should presume Bob was referring to the BNP! There is another (non-racist) party with a much larger following, which came second in the EU elections that was also excluded from the debates by the BBC.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:05 am | Permalink

            Maybe it was excluded because they very rarely win a seat in Parliament.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      “From admirers of the police of the Dixon of Dock Green type to fear of being charged with some social crime when forgetting to follow the obsure laws, such as turning the knob on your car radio or eating a mars bar while driving.”

      1) People never admired the police. That’s why Teddy Boys, Mods, Rockers, Skinheads, and Punks all fought against the police.

      2) These laws aren’t obscure, as they can all be viewed online. Also ignorance of the law is no excuse.

      • APL
        Posted October 18, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “Also ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

        An admirable dictum when you have a few but clearly laid out laws. Nowadays, the statute book has exploded to the extent that in my opinion it is no longer reasonable to expect the average man or woman to understand the law let alone be informed of every aspect of all laws.

        We are approaching the state [if we have not already arrived] where there are so many laws that it is almost impossible not to have breached one or other, in this condition you only have to annoy the powers that be a little and they can harras and imprison you on almost any pretext.

  4. stred
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Having sent calculations 6 weeks ago, proving that my house extension is safely built and does not need steel beams in the roof, under the front and back walls, and our 38 year old extension, stamped by the Council, should not be rebuilt to current standards,
    we are still waiting for a decision. The only reply so far has been a letter from the chief controller stating that ‘one thing is clear, the engineers have worked hard to obtain a conditional approval’. In fact, I obtained the approval and the engineer failed to stick to the brief, did about 1 days work, refused to put right his mistakes, delayed the project and I have had to use another one.
    We have been offered a sit meeting in another week and they have refused so far to let us see their own calculations which ‘prove’ that the extension should be taken apart and rebuilt. The chief engineer has also gone on holiday for 3 weeks, just as the inspector did when we first replied to their letter condemning the structure, having inspected it while being built and nearing completion.
    These people are the commissars an apparatchiks of our lost democracy.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      The building inspector has a duty of care only to the owner of the property commissioning building work.

      So, if a subsequent owner finds that the work done does not comply with building regulations even thought the inspector has signed to say that it does, there is no redress against the building inspector, nor against the local authority that employed him. The fact that a purchaser may have relied on the signed building regulation documents as a part of a decision to buy counts for nothing.

  5. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The less idealogues the better (right or left).

    Let’s have politicians who see society clearly through eyes uncluttered by young people’s fantasies of ideal society and so can clearly and effectively consult and analyse the implications of policy and work to eliminate unwanted consequences and unnecessary restrictions on freedom and increase efficiency and efficacy.

    Why the heck to the Westminster parties recruit these people? The SNP attempts to screen them out during their processes of candidate selection. Are you guys blind to the effect this policy has had on their success?

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Hello Rebecca,

      My own punctuation and spelling is far from perfect but may i respectfully advise you to use full stops a little less sparingly.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I’ve found that I have a particular propensity to use long sentences during X-Factor. 🙂 No idea why that is. Suggestions welcome. Suggestions on why the heck the Westminster parties continue to appoint idealists would be even more welcome.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    JR: “It is all a lot more complex and fluid than a simple left-right analysis would suggest.”
    Quite! Now can we get back to discussing issues that really matter please?

    • Yudansha
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      We now have a lot more interest groups in the UK. It’s near impossible to find a consensus on anything.

      But hey. That state of flux and confusion suits the broadly left wing establishment down to the ground.

      There is nothing ‘centre ground’ about any of it. What has been happening in Britain is extremely radical actually.

  7. Stephen Almond
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Notice the BBC never talk about ‘left-wing” trades unions or ‘left-wing’ think tanks.
    They label people ‘right-wing’ or they are ‘some of ours’.

    • sjb
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Googling “left wing think tank” will find many examples.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      When they, very rarely, do have a right wing person they like to get a slightly strange or extreme one a bit like a mad professor type. Just as they also do on science programs. A sort of Magnus Pike type if possible. Just to get the BBC message across that right wingers and scientists are all a bit mad.

      They also later seem to like it if some group says what that what they said was sexist, racist or offended some group or other.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    You often remark that the idea of Left and Right is out of date. Thank you for spelling it out so clearly.

    From out her in the English countryside, the government is into everything. It has more or less banned our free school. It has made the local Comprehensive into a replica of Nestle Purina, it pays out masses of money on flowers, on salaries and expenses, on the dole, on paying school leavers to remain idle, on drugs, as unmarried mothers and so on.
    The Police drive round shrieking from time to time. The NHS works well, although it is terribly wasteful.
    The local Churches are more or less on their last legs. There is little community spirit.

    None of this has anything to do with left and right really. Every political party seems, from here, to be saying the same thing: “Let us spend your money, because you know it makes sense.”

    Meanwhile more and more unfamiliar faces are appearing, at the moment mainly Lithuanian.

    • Oldrightie
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Our rural community holds its traditional values dear, including the Church. We need more true Oldrighties!

    • Bob
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Social engineering. That’s what tax is for, isn’t it?

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Also indoctrination and vote buying it seems.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      There was a good insight the other day by Dr. R.A.E. North suggesting that the divide was not vertical as in left/right, but horizontal, those above the line and those below. Politicians and hangers on were of course, above the line, the People, you remember those who are supposed to be Sovereign, us in other words, are well below. I have a lot of sympathy with the idea, it is much closer to reallity than the right/left artificial boundary.

  9. NickW
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    So; if none of the political parties in this country can be defined by a coherent and unifying set of opinions and aspirations about themselves and others; what is it that is binding people to any given political party, and persuading them to vote for it?

    Habit, tribalism and tradition is the answer, and it’s the reason politics is in such a mess in this country, and it’s also the reason why the Conservatives didn’t win a majority.

    To win in 2015 the Conservatives need to find an outlook and a plan of action which appeals to everyone in the party and a majority of the population.

    Blair style pick n mix popularity measures are not going to be enough.

  10. Amanda
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “These are countered by the better state Conservatives …….[higher] budgets for some other public services even at the cost of higher borrowing and taxes.”

    “There are then the new liberal right wingers, who want much greater freedom for various lifestyles, and favour liberalising drugs, and avoiding moral comment on how people live.”

    Then these are not conservatives, they’ve got into parliament on a false ticket. And, that is because there is a disconnect in the way MP’s are chosen at grass roots level. Cameron has made this worse.

    Why is favouring the family, and morals ‘catholic’? I come from a line of dissenters stretching back to the sixteenth century, who would support every word of what you have called catholic, and would be furious at being called by that name. Catholics believe you can only talk to God through priests, protestants believe ever man can talk to God and find the ‘true’ path.

    Well, Mr Redwood, perhaps this post highlights why you ‘right wingers’, are making such a mess of thinks. You don’t know who you are and what you stand for !!

    Reply: The group in Parliament who actively campaign most strongly for the family, and family tax breaks, just happen to mainly Catholics, and normally also oppose abortion.Of course other Christian groups have people who also believe these things, but they are not so prominent in the Commons.

  11. niconoclast
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    The Right and Left are both Statist ,they just differ in what aspects of personal life they want to interfere with.Now more than ever they meet happily in wanting a big State and just haggle over the fine print of differences.It is like a Ponzi scheme with two operators,one slightly more rational than the other ie the Right.Two false choices.Reject both and embrace Capitalism as the other two have a mystical irrationalist base and lead to the mixed economy mess we are now in.

  12. English Pensioner
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe the traditional “left” and “right” in politics still exists. Libertarian and Authoritarian is now often more appropriate. But one problem is that the Left (including the BBC) have manages to make the word “Right” in politics a term of contempt and spend their time trying to associate it with Nazism. Perhaps the Right wing who value our real freedoms (not those of the Human Rights Act, which are artificial), should get together and start a campaign against the word “left”, to make it a dirty word associated with Stalin and gulags. For some reason. the Left have always been better at this sort of tactic.

    • ms m davies
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      In my book:
      “right” = Conservative, which is right
      “left” = Socilaism, which is wrong.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Much of this right = fascist/nazi nonsense is to try and distance socialism from Hitler, because it stands to reason that something so utopian and ‘good’ as socialism could ever be at the root of a regime like the Nazis, now could it? The conservative right have been far too timid in not making more of this whenever the fascist slurs are unleashed.

      • APL
        Posted October 17, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Jon Burgess: “to try and distance socialism from Hitler”


        Jon Burgess: ” because it stands to reason that something so utopian and ‘good’ as socialism could ever be at the root of a regime like the Nazis”

        Or Stalin and his purges and Siberian death camps. Or China and its left totalitarian government with its death camps and cultural revolution.

        Then there was Pol Pot another extreme and extremely bloody Socialist.

        The list goes on and on. The early 20th Century was a real heyday for the left totalitarians.

  13. William MacDougall
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Well said. Hence it would not be enough to just replace Fox with a similar type of Thatcherite; several varieties of Rightwingers are too weekly represented in Cabinet, especially social conservatives. But even more important would be to have some conservative polices.

  14. Richard
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    There has definately been a breakdown of the tribal loyalties of the political party system with it set opinions and attitudes, both in Westminster and in the nation as a whole.
    This was one of the reasons we had the voting patterns we saw at the last election which gave us a Coalition government.
    Many people don’t know whether to define themselves anymore as being left, right or centre politically, just as they find it difficult to define themselves as lower, middle or upper class.

    There was a time when you were either a Labour or a Conservative or a Liberal supporter, often for all of your life, and the thought of voting for another party was unthinkable.
    An example of the effect of all this can be seen in the huge reductions in party membership levels over recent years.

    I think people now vote like consumers, choosing the party which they feel offers the most benefits to them and their families at each election time.

  15. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The assumption is that kindness and compassion is the preserve of the Left.

    This is often the opposite of the truth. Nor are they nice.

    On the whole I find Lefties patronising, argumentative, condescending, rude, self-important, over-puffed, easily offended, passively aggressive (they’re normally limp wristed so can’t be physically aggressive), hypocritical, schizophrenic and they smell of lentils.

    Other than that I suppose they’re OK.

    • Max
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Terrible generalisations – but spot on of course!

  16. Bazman
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    There is also the right wing of negligent government often in an alliance with right wing moral conservatives. and their supporters who when challenged to answer questions on their politics often cannot, but see no problem with this. However if you tell them you feel something is right demand to see conclusive proof. The proof further reinforcing their beliefs. The banking crash has exposed many of their beliefs to be a religion leaving the Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists sort it all out.

  17. Max
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    To put it crudely; we require a strong unashamedly right-wing government to sort out the shambles. There is no point in going into the minutiae of what is or isn’t right-wing. I am quite sure that most people on this site know what they want. Let’s not be shy about it.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      To punish the people who caused the mess like cleaners and hospital workers. Not to mention the large part of the population that relies on the state often because of right wing employment laws and redundancy from state projects stopped from being carried out by private companies.
      To put in crudely the ideas of a simpleton without a pie and the means of getting one.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        I always take your comments very seriously. they are a mirror reflection of my own. So by reading your comments, I can see why I have been chucked off “Labour List”.

        Could we just agree that it is the people who have made so very much money out of local government and yet who have turned round and sacked the people you are talking about who ought to be blamed? Some of them, what with severance, have walked away last year with half a million quid. Others with just a modest quarter.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Baz, do you really believe a large part of the population relies on the State because of right wing employment laws and private enterprise taking over state projects? Unless you’ve been out of the country for the last 20 years, Norman Tebbit’s been out of office for a while and you’ll be aware that most employment law now emanates from that bastion of conservatism, the EU.

        The budget for Welfare has ballooned in the last 30 years. In part this was a conscious ploy by the left in order to create an underclass who would always vote for more State.

        A lot of people rely on the state because:
        it is uneconomic for them to work, as working for a living will generally make them financially worse off than they are on State aid…
        their doctor says they are unfit for work and getting paid not to work slowly becomes a hard to break habit (a lie-in every day can be adictive after all…)
        they can. It was a positive career choice

        Of course there is a minority of people who cannot work and need financial help, but not the vast army that exists ‘on benefits’ today.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          As I have pointed out in some areas there is no work and often this leads to the person becoming unemployable, going to the doctor and getting signed off as depressed. To say he is just lazy is simplistic. There is no work, so how do they live? They claim benefits and their wife works in a shop or as a cleaner say, sometimes they are lucky and get a bit of cash in hand work for a night out. This is the reality.
          What are they supposed to do? If your solution lie in making them more desperate than they already are then you are wrong. If you want to argue they are not desperate you are more wrong. More lax employment laws will not help them only create more people like this.
          Don’t bore us with hard working Polish please.

          • Jon Burgess
            Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

            I agree that parts of the country have little work, but there are generally still vacancies available at job centres that those out of work can choose not to apply for. There is no compulsion to take work even if it’s available as benefits will continue indefinitely. That cannot be right.

            You suggest that I shouldn’t mention Eastern Europeans, but why is that those incomers from Eastern Europe can generally support themselves in a foreign country, whereas our increasing pool of long term unemployed cannot?

            It is a national disgrace that fit and able people can remain unemployed for their entire working life and pass that on to their children as a career choice.

            It is down to the individual to sort their life out, not the State, but too many on long term benefits have no incentive to do this. I don’t argue that living on benefits is easy, far from it, but paid employment needs to pay better than state aid, but in too many cases it doesn’t. Unfortunatelty without that distinction, you get what we’ve now got.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            In some parts of the country there is not enough work for everyone to have a job. Work that is available is not suitable due to the lack of skills.

  18. Bazman
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Worldwide anti capitalist protests by thousands of wrong headed people. The BBC world service should be stopped immediately and all reporting in this country stopped before it all gets out of hand.

  19. Nick Palmer
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Good article, and as John implies the left-wing scene is much more diverse than some believe. Moreover, there is scope for accepting nuanced trade-offs that cross between different general attitudes, e.g. accepting retention of DNA of suspects (with other evidence) while opposing detention without prompt trial. It’s a good thing – people who favour MPs being clearly in one camp all the time are essentially saying that they don’t want issues treated on their merits but according to some textbook ideology.

    Nick Palmer (Labour MP for Broxtowe 1997-2010)

    Reply: Thanks for that helpful illustration of the nuances of modern politics.

    • APL
      Posted October 17, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Nick Palmer: “e.g. accepting retention of DNA of suspects (with other evidence) while opposing detention without prompt trial.”


      You may retain DNA as evidence in a trial, once the trial is over it may be retained if the verdict is guilty or if it comprises the body of evidence found at the scene of the crime. Otherwise, a DNA sample should be returned to its owner. Trawling the population for DNA samples and surreptitiously building a National DNA database is quite wrong.

      Nick Palmer: “It’s a good thing – people who favor MPs being clearly in one camp all the time are essentially saying that they don’t want issues treated on their merits”

      You are right reality is much more nuanced but the instance you suggested, a gross over simplification.

      We expect Candidate for election to state his or her position on any issue that he is questioned on, to base his statement on a set of principles and to adhere to those principles.

      If he changes his mind during the course of his elected term, well and good. But he better have a good reason why when he next stands for election.

      What I don’t want, but many of my fellow voters seem satisfied with are Party Drones, running on autopilot with their mobile ready to take instructions from the central texting computer in Party HQ.

  20. MickC
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    An extremely good analysis of “the Right”, proving what a simplistic view many people, particularly the BBC, have of modern politics.

    Naturally they have their own agenda, generally inimical to all versions of “the Right” even when their views coincide with the liberal “Left”.

  21. Paul Danon
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    This is what’s so bad about the party-system, particularly whipping. The other night Alan Johnson plainly won the debate on keeping DNA-records yet lost the vote. We need to go back to independent MPs and the system should stop treating parties as though they were part of the constitution.

    • Quietzapple
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      You’ll find lunacy without parties, which, after all, came into being when some opposed and others supported the King.

      Inevitable, so please just try and get things right as Johnson no doubt did DNA records.

      Now the issue is Fox’s (alleged-ed)malfeasance for which he should be prosecuted. (If there is a serious allegation with evidence to back it up – no-one has produced any yet-ed) Get that right as some on the left and some on the right have. All about it being OUR Government, however rubbish.

      • APL
        Posted October 17, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        JR: “(If there is a serious allegation with evidence to back it up – no-one has produced any yet-ed)”

        Is it true that Werrity had the run of the MOD without security clearance? [You should be in a position to establish that ] While working as an paid adviser for …. who knows … any number of foreign companies. We know at least one.

        If that is the case would you not think that at least a potential security breach and very serious?

        Reply: No, I think that very unlikely. He would have needed an official pass to “have the run”.

        • APL
          Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

          JR: ” No, I think that very unlikely. He would have needed an official pass to “have the run”.”

          It’s a very rum affair. Let’s hope you are correct.

          Now, what about Letwin? Compromising client information – In the last company I worked for, that sort of behavor would get you marched off the premises immediately – it would be considered gross misconduct. He must surely have contravened the data protection act.

          Here we go again – one law for the rest of us and no law for you people.

  22. Quietzapple
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Yes politics is complex and a lot of commentary is perforce simplistic even when it is valid.

    Fox is a burden for almost anyone on the right now. Some suggest treachery, or malfeasance (ed- have removed allegation without evidence).

    I’ve often been amused by accusations of being a “Leftie”

    Most of those regard me as a Neo con.

    A lot of the time the important thing is to be right, while most of the time those who obsess about labels are many facts short of being anywhere close.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink


    The use of such generalisations when used in a derogatory way says much about the name caller. It reveals a wish to dismiss the views of others by categorising them as not worthy of consideration, and there by avoiding the need to engage in and win a debate about the issue. Further, it suggests not just laziness but doubt as to the merits of their own case.

    And by the way, worse than being on the “right” is to be criticised as being on the “far right”, but this equally well illustrates how far on the left is the critic!

  24. Kenneth
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I agree that politics is multi-dimensional and the linear Left-Right portrayal is insufficient.

    What concerns me even more is how the BBC quietly dropped the “opportunity” from “equal opportunity”, leaving us with the communist nightmare of “equality” and then dropped the “relative” from the phrase “relative poverty”.

    “Right wing”, “Left wing”, “poverty”, “equality” and “modernisation” are all terms used by the media to hold up a distorted mirror to the world.

    Six months after September 11, Radio 3 broadcast a lengthy and thoughtful discussion on America since the attacks. One panellist marvelled at the plurality of views. “We’ve got every shade of political opinion here,” he said, “from the radical left all the way to the centre.”

  25. Martin Marprelate
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I thank John Redwood for his most informative article about the Anatomy of the Right as it has helped me to codify where I stand on that wing of the Political spectrum.

    Using John Redwood’s examples, for which I acknowledge the use and partial quotations from his article, I am a Right Wing Authoritarian. One who feels that The State’s prime duty is to defend its citizens, both from the Foe without and the Felon within. I agree that The State might in some cases have to restrict individual freedom, keep more records, spend more on police, prisons and surveillance.

    I am also a “Better State Conservative”, who wants expanded Armed Forces, Police and Security budgets and budgets for some other public services even at the cost of higher borrowing and taxes.

    Principally however I am a Right-Wing “Moral Conservative”, following a Catholic style morality, although I am myself High Anglican and NOT an RC. Apart from Abortion,of which I am in favour, I support Christian Religious Education in State Schools, (with exemptions of course for the children of people of other Faiths), tax breaks for the married family, and strongly support Traditional Families in preference to other lifestyles and relationships. I also totally reject “Liberal Interventionism” as in Iraq, Afghanistan and now the use of Military force in the Middle East as in the skies over Libya by the UK.

    As John Redwood correctly and clearly states “It is all a lot more complex and fluid than a simple left-right analysis would suggest. The prism of party loyalty and dog fights is no longer a perfect one through which to see three party politics with many pressure groups and splintered factions within main parties”.

    I for example have virtually nothing in common with the “Right Wing Liberal Economics” Conservatives who seem to be the vogue at this time and are often posting on Conservative Home and other Political Blogs but taking John Redwood’s analysis as a basis I am as entitled to describe myself as “Right Wing” as they are.

  26. Bazman
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Ultra right wing thinking on immigration would be to build fortress Britain with anyone who got in being asked why it took them so long?

  27. lojolondon
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that the whole media is VERY left wing, so everything that does not agree with them is considered right wing. Here I particularly wish to point out the pampered BBC, as they misuse taxpayers money to spread Labour, EU, Palestinian and warm-ist propaganda.
    The BBC have complete power, and it has corrupted them completely. To the point where they have decided internally, ‘that the case for Global Warming is so strong that there is no requirement to present the alternative view’ – thus giving themselves the licence to present one side of the argument only, and to ignore contrary evidence.

    Cancel the BBC’s licence fee forthwith and let the market decide what news we want, what programmes, what comedies and entertainment shows etc.

    • sm
      Posted October 17, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      You must consider cancelling your own subscription and let others know you have.

      Only if enough people do this will change be forced.

      Its a kind of unadvertised/unintentional referenda that we have been allowed to have. Use it.

      This coming with a legal restriction of restricting your use to non ‘air’ broadcasts, for example pre-recorded stuff or perhaps to non-live viewing of any over the ”air” broadcast events.

      If enough do this the current licence system will collapse.

      If you believe in democracy and plurality of views, then a price will be exacted to regain them.

  28. forthurst
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    “There are, for example, right wing liberals, and right wing authoritarians.”

    The opposite of authoritarian is libertarian, not liberal; one only has to examine ‘liberal’ policies both on this and the other side of the Atlantic to realise that they are are actually Cultural Marxist or simply Marxist insofar as they are levers of revolutionary change in order to undermine the status quo, not to release minorities from oppression but to deprecate, stigmatise and persecute the majority. In other words, liberalism is the authoritarianism of the Cultural Marxist.

    Libertarianism opines that homosexuals should not be subject to legal sanctions for their behaviour. Cultural Marxism opines that homosexuals can be the equivalent in terms of their relationships with married couples and not only should those relationships therefore be treated equally under the law but that any person who publicly condemns them should be deemed a ‘hater’, subject to legal sanctions and locked up. The very same rigmarole applies to issues of race and religion and of course education where equality of outcome is the primary objective. In all cases the purpose is to intimidate the majority and thereby, whilst disarmed, their country can be subject to irreversible revolutionary change.

    When the Conservative Party announced that they were going to select candidates simply on the grounds that they represented ‘minorities’ rather than on any other basis, they were being Cultural Marxist, they had adopted the authoritarianism of liberalism; they were opting for self-distruction not salvation because to accord merit to any characteristic of difference in substitution for merit as expressed by the ideal of excellence is what is driving this country to its dissolution. Another expression for Cultural Marxism is ‘political correctness’, PMs and others take note.

    • APL
      Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Forthurst: ” they were opting for self-distruction not salvation because to accord merit to any characteristic of difference in substitution for merit as expressed by the ideal of excellence is what is driving this country to its dissolution”

      Conclusion: The Tory party is fatally compromised by the PC brigade, AKA the Cultural Marxists.

    • Max
      Posted October 20, 2011 at 2:26 am | Permalink

      A very clear and concise analysis.
      The Conservatives have been forced to dig their own grave. Now they just await the bullet.

  29. Bernard Otway
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Anyone read LIBERAL FASCISM by Jonah Goldgerg,encapsulates absolutely that the LEFT are the real FASCISTS/NAZIS.After all George Orwell in writing both Animal Farm and especially 1984 recognised that his own left wing side were actual dictatorships as under the Communists and absolutely capable of being a cruel BIG BROTHER state as in 1984.
    Then look at what Communist Fidel did after taking power in Havana in 1958 to his predecessors,and his regime is still in place 53 years later,so good are they that people escaped on inflated tyre tubes to try and get to Florida from 1958 till now,and how many people did the STAZI shoot dead trying to cross to the west from that communist paradise
    East Germany,how about the steady stream of defectors until 1989 from all the Warsaw Pact countries,Dubjek in Czecoslovakia in 1968 gave a SPRING to his people a SMALL one and BREZHNEV sent in the Tanks,what about Tianmen square,anyone ever drowned swimming the canals to ESCAPE west Berlin to East Berlin ?,Didn’t think so. Someone above mentioned the words Commissars and Aparatchiks that is what we are now getting from the EU and our own public sector,a young lady friend who my wife knows tells of
    arriving back in this country from Spain,where she moved with her Mother 2 yrs ago
    who BY ACCIDENT saw her file at the jobcentre which labelled her a trouble maker
    because she complained,this is now seen by all potential employers and the refuse to
    erase it,HOW therefore is she supposed to find a job using them ,that is why we recommended her to a friend who has employed her and he thinks she is a very good worker quite unlike her label by the COMMISSARS. The LEFT always is like this,including
    the liberals especially,but they do not like Censure the local liberal candidate in my constituency for the last 3 elections supposedly a cuddly lady by temperament,avoids me like the plague ever since I eviscerated her at a Public election meeting of all candidates
    because she could not support her arguments for their policies,in fact the Tory MP who won and knows me well was embarrassed at what I did to her,you should have seen the look on his face when he found out I am now UKIP and will now go after him,unless he can argue against me which I know he can’t.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      What about all the right wing dictatorships in the Middle East, Africa, and South America? You seems to have forgotten about all the problems these regimes caused.

      • APL
        Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “You seems to have forgotten about all the problems these regimes caused.”

        On what grounds do you label these regimes ‘right wing’?

        They are one party totalitarian, certainty. Do they advocate open free markets? No, everything is done and licensed by the state.

        That isn’t free market. Suggesting they are not right wing!

        Once you have a totalitarian state, to argue is it left or right is pretty meaningless. Even if there was a Right wing totalitarian state its means of repression are identical to the Left wing totalitarian state.

        Both hate freedom for the individual. Therefore there can be no free markets in a ‘right wing’ totalitarian state, nor free consenting individuals choosing what product he or she wants.

        Left or Right totalitarians it makes no difference when you languish in the state prison for thought crimes.

  30. Frank Vernor
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article John.

    However, you missed out the most common member of parliament…

    The Weathervane.

    They are neither Left nor Right, have very little experience of life outside Westminster. They don’t take local surgeries very often in their constituencies. They are usually well versed in public speaking, yet never invoke real passion. They will never ever touch a “risky” subject in debate, such as racism or equality, through choice, and if they are forced, they will choose the path of least resistance of media opinion. They are always aware of the latest news stories and poll scoring and their entire reason for being an MP is usually for their own career advancement or the feeling of power they can weild. They will all aspire to becoming a Lord at the end of their term if possible.

  31. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that this article doesn’t contain any reference to the political correctness so beloved of the’ left’, now that this monster has it’s tentacles firmly entwined within the Conservative party.

    This is the elephant in the room that hasn’t been mentioned and the single issue that most clearly defines the ‘right’ / ‘left’ political debate in my view.

    What Mr Redwood illustrates (the list of differences is extensive and that’s just on the ‘right’ side of the party) is that the Conservate party is an impossibly diverse party that has have drifted too far away from it’s uniting core values and beliefs.

    In my view it would be the best thing if the party was to split. Then those that wanted to pursue a more ‘ left’ wing agenda could do so. Then, finally, the voters could be given a real choice – a ‘right’ or’ left’ wing government.
    Properly Conservative MP’s like John Redwood would then be free to play a much bigger role in shaping policy once free from the dominant ‘left’ wing of the party.

    Instead the poor voters get to choose between a range of party’s that are very ‘left or ‘left of centre’ or in ‘the middle ground’ or ‘progressive centre’ etc. etc. It’s a very despressing, un-democratic situation that switches off millions of potential voters.

    Those on the left of the debate could propose policies that observed the Politically correct truth, the ‘ righ’t would be free to base it’s policies on the factually correct truth.

    So for example the ‘right’ could campaign for better governance in the third world.
    The’ left’ could campaign for more aid spending

    The ‘righ’t could point out that women are paid less because of different work/life choices.
    The ‘ lef’t could campaign against sex discrimination and demand more legislation to ensure equal pay.

    Rather that examining what defines the ‘right’ in 2011 it would have been more illuminating if John Redwood had examined what exactly defines and unites modern Conservatives and sets them apart from Labour?. What issues unite Francis Maude and John Redwood?

    Does the politics of Theresa May have more in common with those of Margaret Beckett than Iain Duncan-Smith ?

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Cameron quite clearly is closer politically to Clegg than Tebbit, despite what he said before the election. It’d be nice to hear from Mr Redwood how he can sit on the same benches as Messrs Maude, Patton, Heseltine, Clarke etc, etc..

      Reply Messrs Heseltine and Patten do not sit on the Conservative benches! They are not MPs.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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