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Difference Between The Ideologies Of The Main Political Parties

1575 words - 7 pages

To what extent is there no real difference between the ideologies of the main political parties?
From 1997 to 2010 Labour enjoyed a period of political dominance because Tony Blair changed some of their key policies to make them less left wing and appeal to centre voters. In recent times many would argue that the Tory party have been trying to do the same thing. With these changes to the two main parties, we are witnessing a transformation of the political scene with the traditional ‘left wing’ and ‘right wing’ parties becoming much more central. In this way it may well be the case that the parties are becoming much more like one-another, which begs the question as to whether they now have ...view middle of the document...

This is a move away from the traditional left-wing Labour party ideology (the party being founded from trade unions and historically relying on their support). The labour party has even pledged to stick within the Coalition’s spending limits for 2015/16, showing the parties directly agree in some areas. Considering all this evidence many would agree that the Labour party has become much less left wing and more central and that this course is being continued by Ed Miliband.
Similarly the Conservatives have also taken steps to become more central, mainly in response to the popularity that this policy brought the Labour party (who won three back-to-back elections from 1997). Because of this many would say these two parties are now becoming more and more similar as they move towards a common political position. Cameron has pledged to ‘revitalise society’ which contradicts the traditional view of the conservatives; Margaret Thatcher once said that there is ‘no such thing as society’. Similarly Cameron moved from the traditional hard-line Tory view on crime saying that we need to understand the culture that fosters antisocial behaviour rather than just blame young people, saying ‘we need to show a lot more love’, in his ‘hug a hoodie’ speech in 2006. This change has come to be known as compassionate conservatism and represents the Tories attempting to ‘decontaminate their brand’. They want to change the popular view that they are out of touch, too right wing and not competent to govern. Cameron has shifted the party’s focus from wealth accumulation to ‘general well-being’. This represents a clear shift towards the left from the Tories who, as the Labour party have done, are trying to become more central. What this means is that the two parties are becoming more alike as they move from opposite ends of the political spectrum to a common central point.
In addition there are many similarities now between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. As a party originally formed as a breakaway from the Labour party one could imagine that the Lib Dems and the Tories would not get on, however they have formed a coalition government together which has lasted, and now share common views in several areas. Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg became parliamentarians during a period when the Labour party dominated Parliament. Both therefore had common grown in opposing government policies during a sustained period of Labour government. Despite this many thought, when the coalition was first formed, that it would be weak as it would contain too many ideological and policy differences. This however is contradicted by the fact that the coalition government has stuck together so far and not collapsed, furthermore many of the two parties’ policies are very similar. Clegg contributed to ‘The Orange Book’ – advocating social liberalism within the liberal democrats. This included encouraging more local and voluntary provision of welfare. These concepts are similar to the...

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