home

 

intro

Conservative, Labour and Liberal (Left and Right)

Capitalism, Communism, Mixed Economy, Socialism Democracy Where do you get the facts? (a) sources (b) crapometers


A major difference between them is how much a government should control people - how much ‘freedom’ can we have from rules. Conservatives prefer governments not to interfere. They say we should be free to act as we choose, within the law. They often want fewer laws and less red tape for business. Labour argues that this means the strong will bully the weak and behave badly, for example having low standards when selling food or being unfair when they employ people.

 

Labour

 

Conservative

Control people if you have to, to make them behave well towards each other.

Leave people alone as much as you possibly can.

Of course, people are not all the same. There are shades of opinion within parties.
The Liberal Party also think government has to control people to bring about a more fair society and solve problems like not having enough houses. They disagree with Labour members about who should do the controlling and how. Should it be governments (the state)?


Another basic difference is that conservatives want to ‘conserve’; or protect what they think of as good in society, to resist any change that might spoil what we already have. Labour and Liberal members are more likely to argue for change. Parties, and individuals within them, might disagree over what kind of change we need and how much we need. 


Now we can think about left and right wing. Very roughly, right wing policies tend to favour personal freedom over controls; left wing policies tend to favour equality and justice for the majority over the freedom of an individual or powerful company to behave as they choose.

Labour (more left)

Conservative (more right)

 

Control people if you have to, to make them behave properly.

Leave people alone as much as you possibly can.

Things need to change to make a fair more society.

Don’t change things if you don’t have to.

It is not quite that simple.


Right wing people think you should make your own way in the world - solve your own problems. They say if you work hard you will succeed, and we should all work hard to make a strong country.  Leave people alone and let them look after themselves. The left wing argues that some people come from difficult backgrounds with rotten schools, poor housing and not enough food. It’s not their fault but they may not get far unless we help them, to make the competition fairer. The right wing point to people who became millionaires from very poor backgrounds and ask why other people don’t try harder. The left wing says this is only a small number who succeed and we need to help the majority who are not going to be millionaires. Within the Liberal Party, some people will argue for more state control and some for less. A very simple version might put them somewhere in the middle of this table. 

Liberals

Labour (more left)

Conservative (more right)

Control people if you have to, to make them behave properly.

Leave people alone as much as you possibly can.

Things need to change to make a more fair society.

Don’t change things if you don’t have to.

People need to have equal opportunities. Provide a council house if they can’t afford their own.

People need to take responsibility for their own lives. Help them buy their own house.

 

Next page: Capitalism, Communism, Mixed Economy, Socialism