I don't understand politics

Never have, never will.
The little I know about politics would fit on the head of a pin with room to spare.
 It wasn't taught in my limited years at school.
And I've had very little interest in learning more.

I came across this* passage in a book I've just finished reading and it got me thinking a bit.
Just a bit, I try not to think too much, it doesn't agree with my drift-along lifestyle.

*The passage: "Although Dad does not share my politics, defining himself as somewhat left of centre, we respect  each other's opinions and would have interesting political discussions".

The book?

All That Is Bitter And Sweet by Ashley Judd.

Yes, you read that right; Ashley Judd,  the movie star.

It's a "must read" for anyone concerned about the poverty and injustices of the third world countries. In particular, the injustices against women and children.

Moving back to the politics....."left of centre".  I understand there is Left Wing and Right Wing politics. (Left of centre, Right of centre).

But why the difference? 

What does the left stand for?  What are their policies and platforms?
What does the right stand for?  What are their policies and platforms?
Is the difference the Republicans on one side and the Democrats on the other?
Or whatever the Australian version is; that would be Liberal and Labor perhaps?
Are they "one is left" and "one is right"?

What is this centre they're standing either side of? 
Who decides where the centre is?
Do they even need a centre? 
Or sides?

I look forward to your comments on this, even though I probably won't understand them.


  1. Left and right are so close now, it perhaps matters little.

    Left stands for alleviation of poverty, education for all, including the poor, rights for workers, caring for the environment, social justice, good health care for all....you get the drift and these are supposedly the policies of Labor here and the Democrats in the US.

    Right stands for big business, paying workers as little as they can get away with while they pay themselves huge salaries, private health insurance and only private doctors and hospitals, provide for yourself in your old age and don't expect others to look after you, private education with fees to pay, although they are rather fond of taxpayers paying for private education, being able to keep profits when times are good but expecting taxpayer subsidies when business is not good, very low taxation for the rich but high taxation for the poorer, avoiding paying tax by complicated schemes, private companies running essential services. So we have Liberal Party, National Party and in the US, Republicans.

    If this reads like I am politically biased, then well spotted.

  2. That is Liberal and National parties here, Republicans in the US and the Tory Party in the UK.

  3. You see it's all related to Einstein Theory of Relativity where everything is relative to everything. You didn't know we were relatives I bet. I didn't either. Just kidding I think the "left" and "right" terms come from France. Conservative and Liberal are probably better terms but there's problems with those terms too. We have an American group called Libertarians and I'm not sure what they are but it's not either of the other two. Really I don't think we should try to label everything. It sorta ruins the scenery.

  4. I am with Andrew. Prejudices and all. Sadly I believe our Labor party is moving closer to the centre and sometimes (think asylum seekers) crosses over to the Right.

  5. Left, Right, Left of Right, Right of Left....I think they're all "out to lunch" myself.

  6. That's a great question. If true, a great answer. In the French
    National assembly the Lords sat on the right side of the assembly room, the more revolutionary third estate on the left side.

    Sadly, politics got in the mix.

  7. Hi River,
    After the above comments, I'm not sure what else to add to the left and right bit. I do know that the further 'left' you are the more 'liberal' your thinking is, evidently. And the further right you are, the more 'conservative' you are in your thinking, supposedly.
    Of course, to really confuse things, in Britain, they have a coalition Government. Where the big 'right wing' party has joined forces with the little 'left wing' party. This has left the slightly leaning to the 'left', closer to the 'middle of the road' Labour party, waiting for the next election. Sorry, this was a totally useless comment. Almost like a political statement.
    Gary :)

  8. I've not visited your blog before but I noticed the title of this post (you are a follower of my daughter kakka) and I as interested to see comments that had been left here.
    I personally feel in the case of Australian politics Labor (you notice they leave 'u' out) has drifted so far right in most cases that it is no longer the Labor Party of my youth when Ben Chifley was in charge. I find it very difficult these days to tell the difference between the two main parties here. Nobody has mentioned the Greens who are so far out there that I believe they are dangerous. The expression being left or right of centre means very little to me because, as you said, who defines what 'centre' is anyway.
    As far as American politics are concerned my only hope is that we never ever become a republic and have to elect a president. Not likely to happen in my lifetime thank goodness. I detest the idea of the millions of dollars spent in the Presidential race when America has so many people in need of help.
    There I've said my piece and hope you don't mine me joining in.

  9. Thank you everyone. I'll think on these answers and maybe get a little less confused.

    Andrew; Left is for alleviation of poverty and education for all etc? Then I'm a Leftie and should vote for whoever is going to do those things, which indicates the Labor party, but they've been in power for how long now? and they seem to do nothing much more than fight amongst themselves and the other parties.

    bill lisleman; Conservatives are probably the same as our Labor party and the Liberationists might be the equivalent of our Greens.

    Elephant's Child; it does seem as though the Labor Party has lost the values I remember my dad voting for when I was very young. They're so close to the fence they're practically falling over it.

    Delores; you're probably right, they ARE all out to lunch. Too long and too often.

    Joanne Noragon; sadly politics is always far too involved, mostly in the form of how much more they can tax the workers.

    klahanie; Left is "Liberal" thinking, yet belongs to the "Labor" party. That's enough confusion right there. We have a Coalition party here too, but I've always thought that just meant whichever party wasn't currently in power.

    Mimsie; I agree there is no longer much difference between the two major parties, hence my confusion. It's no longer clear which party stands for what and how they are going to achieve their goals. Their sole aim seems to be to put down the other side, or indeed anyone who doesn't agree with what they are saying and doing. Childish fighting instead of ruling and developing.

  10. Andrew; what is it the National party does? Where do they stand in all this? Do they just follow along with whoever is in power? Do they have their own agenda?

  11. Find someone in the Labor party who isn't a lawyer or some other professional, a working class wage is small change. Find a reform they've introduced that wasn't middle-class.
    There's no one in Labor I'd identify with; it lost its traditional support since crawling up the arses of office workers. What did that Gillard thing say: "Why give pensioners a raise, they don't vote for us."
    The Greens are even worse than the Democrats were, a useless trendy-left Party. A Party for fashionistas who find the Labor mob a little grubby, and who like the Democrats will undo themselves chasing cock.

    Australia is a very conservative country. Labor and Liberal. Any true reformer would cop the firing squad.

  12. While you and I are defining what's what, the politicians still have their hands in the cookie jar.. It's all a smoke screen to keep us somewhat baffled and confused while they continue ripping off the system. (kinda like the confusion caused for Area 51)

  13. R.H. Gillard said that?? How rude of her. I'd like to see her survive on a normal pension as opposed to a politician's pension. Not for a week or two as a trial either. Let her live on it for a year with no access to any of her benefits or bank accounts.

    Tempo; You're right I'm afraid. To them it's all "how much can we tax them for this year?" "How many new levies can we introduce"?

  14. Australian politicians are weaklings, giving in to depravity; homosexuals raising children...

    The future will piss on the graves of this generation.

  15. I'm a Conservative, and I disagree with Andrew, but that's the beauty of a democracy.

    The Liberal Party proposes policy on the following:
    We Believe...
    In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative
    In government that nurtures and encourages its citizens through incentive, rather than putting limits on people through the punishing disincentives of burdensome taxes and the stifling structures of Labor's corporate state and bureaucratic red tape.
    In those most basic freedoms of parliamentary democracy - the freedom of thought, worship, speech and association.
    In a just and humane society in which the importance of the family and the role of law and justice is maintained.
    In equal opportunity for all Australians; and the encouragement and facilitation of wealth so that all may enjoy the highest possible standards of living, health, education and social justice.
    That, wherever possible, government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals - not government - are the true creators of wealth and employment.
    In preserving Australia's natural beauty and the environment for future generations.
    That our nation has a constructive role to play in maintaining world peace and democracy through alliance with other free nations.
    In short, we simply believe in individual freedom and free enterprise; and if you share this belief, then ours is the Party for you.

    This is where it all gets confusing, I suppose -- because all political opinion runs through someone elses' perception filter, and as we all know, THAT means nothing you hear is ever the clean, unfiltered truth.

    What I want to see is a country where people take responsibility for their own actions, where the genuinely disadvantaged are cared for, where criminals are punished, where people are left in peace to run their own lives and their own business on their own merit.

  16. Hi River,

    All politicians, without exception, are egotistical, arrogant, lying psychopaths.

    Don't try to understand them or their causes because they are all, again without exception, hypocritical nutcases. Why else would a communist leader live a decadant lifestyle?

    And does Obama or his rival Romney actually care one jot about a poor wretch living in Harlem?

    No - never.

    Liars, cheats and nutters who should be put into a spaceship and blasted to the planet Tharg.

    I will get down from my soapbox now.




  17. The National Party used to be called the Country Party. They were supposedly a party to better the fortunes of those in the country. What it actually is, is a party to push for benefits for large scale farmers, graziers and huge outback sheep and cattle stations. It is sometimes in a coalition with the Liberal Party but there is often conflict between the two. Don't be thinking they represent a modest sized dairy farmer, fisherman or vegetable grower. They do nothing for them.

  18. You've made it all clear Andrew.

  19. Toni; thank you. Now I know what the Liberal party stands for and I have more to think about.

    Plasman; my brain is getting quite full here with all these new things to consider. How far away is the planet Tharg?

    Andrew; thanks for that. I'd rather not see Australia taken over by gigantic sheep or cattle stations with nothing in between but acres and acres of wheat.
    Small mixed-farming areas need a better deal.

    R.H. I'll be thinking long and hard about which way to vote next time around.

  20. HeptaparaparshinokhOctober 8, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Hi, I thought I would put in my two cents worth:
    From an idealogical point of view there is the Left and the Right.
    Broadly the Left, largely represented by the Australian Labor Party, is the party of social welfare. They believe that it is a government’s duty to provide for its citizens via creating infrastructure (roads, rail, utilities education, health care etc) which is paid for by taxes. As a result a Left government spends money for its citizens but taxes are raised. The far left would be represented by Marxism and communism.

    The Right, the Liberal Party, believes that government should not interfere as much as possible in the lives of its citizens and that infrastructure is the domain of private investment and it is the government’s duty to make this investment easy for business (of any size to access in order to grow employment and thus make its citizens wealthier. Less taxes are required because the government spends less and the it can save money for emergencies. The Far right tends to be ultra conservative and nationalist.
    Right so, within these parties there are factions. The “centre” of a party’s manifesto shifts once a generation or so. On either side of the centre are party members whose beliefs take them to the right (conservative, spend less, tax less) or the right (tax more, spend more, offer more) of the party. For example: Don Dunstan was a centre-left politician; lots of spending on public buildings, progressive laws etc. John Bannon was centre-right premier; more incentives for big business to expand, sold off some state-run utilities. However, both were Labor stalwarts. I'm sorry I can't remember any Liberal Premiers that I could illustrate with other than John Olsen, whom I found to be a nice man.
    Currently in “progressive” societies, of which Australia is still one, politics are very central. Think of New Labour here in the UK, a left-wing party ruled by unions who re-invented themselves into a progressive right-wing party. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the parties...until you look at their core beliefs, which never change
    On my soapbox for a moment: the people who say that politicians are lazy and corrupt need to walk to their local MP’s office and see the long hours and hard work that these people (most of whom are just normal people who want to do some good). If you complain that they get too many holidays, you are unaware that it is only a holiday from Parliament. Work in the constituencies continues relentlessly.
    I hope this helps and I think it is great that, rather than just go with the flow, you are trying to educate yourself. Good luck with it.

  21. Heptwhatever: If the far Left is represented by Marx the Right is represented by Hitler.

  22. HeptaparaparshinokhOctober 9, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    R.H. Yep, I just didn't want to say it. I was aiming for an ideological example than personalities. I cant for the life of me work out why.

  23. I don't distinguish people from their ideologies, although Hitler was a dog lover (among his other good points) and that makes it hard.

    Are you JPZ?

    Have I found you?

  24. HeptaparaparshinokhOctober 9, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Good point, it would be even easier to hate the man if he was a cat fancier instead (I'm kidding folks, cats are delicious).

    Sorry. I am not the droid you seek.
    You need to keep looking.
    I think.

  25. Thanks. If he were a cat fancier he'd be even more sinister. Camp sinister, that's my feeling, and I can't explain it or give examples.
    -Or, hang on, maybe Malcolm Turnbull, holding a cat?

    Are you sure you're not JPZ?
    Check your drivers license.

  26. HeptaparaparshinokhOctober 9, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Turnbull as Blofeld? Camp and disturbing. But the less I say about The Captain, the better.

    Which license should should I check first?

  27. Jokes aside, Blofeld is who I was thinking of but figured he wouldn't be widely known, this is a home duties site after all.


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