Wednesday, May 20, 2015

So Long, It's Been Good To Know You (2)

II: Note, for the edification of people in the United States and other non-cricket playing nations.

In England, the liberal party is called the Labour Party and the conservative party is called the Conservative Party. However the Conservative Party is much more liberal than any American liberal party.

The Liberal Party used to be more liberal than the Conservative party but more conservative than the Labour Party, but in recent times the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have both become much more conservative. This process is known as “moving to the centre”.

When we say "liberal" we don't mean what you mean by "liberal". When British Liberals say they are liberal they mean that they believe very strongly in personal liberty and civil rights. When other people say that someone is liberal they mean that they are moderate, middle of the road or "sitting on the fence".

What Americans mean when they say "liberal" is closer to what the British mean when they say "socialist". What the Americans mean when they say "socialist" is closer to what the British mean when they say "communist". However, in British English "communist" is a description of a political point of view, as opposed to an insult.

Our Liberal Party is actually called the Liberal Democrat Party, because it merged in 1988 with the Social Democrats, who were a group of socialists who left the Labour party in 1981 because it was too socialist. Our Liberal Democrats are nothing like your liberal Democrats. (We also have Liberal republicans; as a matter of fact most of our Liberals are republicans.)

The word "Tory" is simply a nickname for the Conservative Party, although it has connotations of an aristocratic, high-church, Royalist politics that would be regarded as old-fashioned in modern party. The word originally means "brigand" or "cattle thief", obviously.

Our Private Schools are called Public Schools and we drive on the left hand side of the road.

Lady Bracknell: What are your politics?
Jack.  Well, I am afraid I really have none.  I am a Liberal..
Lady Bracknell.  Oh, they count as Tories.  They dine with us.  Or come in the evening, at any rate.

No comments: