What exactly is Right or Left Wing?

I must admit that I am confused by the labelling of individuals, groups or governments as being either right or left wing. I get a little riled when, having expressed a view of my own, I also get labelled as one or the other.
My views are my own & though they might be shared by a political group this does not mean that I favour that group over others.
To fly one needs both a right and a left wing. With only one you would never get off the ground. So it is with ones opinions.
But what decides which is right & which is left? Can you not hold a view on one subject favoured by right wingers & still have a view on another favoured by left wingers too?
I would like to know. Can someone explain?


those who label us are often trying to deflect from their own mentality and lack the ability to think outside a box.

I tend to ignore them for the most part as insignificant to me and their views matter little to the rest of the world but being angry and accusing people of being far right or left is their way of being angry at the world for whatever reason.

If you see it may I suggest stretch your fingers and just move past it, I often think the biting answer is what give said individuals their little thrill and sense of power.


Labelling… I think it is just plain daft … :zipper_mouth_face:

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Whether someone’s political stance is right or left wing depends a lot on where YOU stand.

I have yet to find a political party with which I totally agree.


Rightly or wrongly you are often defined/labelled by the political party you vote for.

It’s a good question Mark, and I think it may have something to do with parliamentary democracy, and its adversarial nature. It’s purely descriptive of the arrangement of furniture in the House: from the Speaker’s chair, government benches on the right, opposition benches on the left. I may be hopelessly adrift here, but to me it makes sense, and it’s an enduring feature of political discourse across the western world. It has come to signify the sometimes conflictual ideologies of capitalism and socialism. Taken to extremes, and in an absolutist and in an uncompromising way, these ideologies are unsound. They can be reconciled. In my own viêw, based on what I’ve experienced over my lifetime, capitalism confers major benefits, but unregulated and unless put to public good and geared to social justice, it becomes massively exploitative, destabilising, and prone to use war as a means of protecting the interests of a very rich and remote elite, at whatever cost to the world and to ordinary people: especially when they organise to resist.

To an extent, I have benefitted from capitalism, and applaud its virtues of enterprise; I have also benefitted from socialism through the welfare state which is distributive and values social equity over unbridled individualism. Flying does require the use of two wings, and the wings need to be coordinated to provide lift, in flight stability and adjustments in direction. That implies a brain, a view of the world, and a purpose. Some birds flock together, others lead a more solitary existence. Neither is superior to the other. That’s my understanding, and my philosophy.


Ah but which house? Not all parliaments are as physically adversarial as the one in London.
The Right and The Left were identified and theorised in 1789 :wink:


I would describe myself as centerist, so, can lean either way, depending on the issue.

Just been reading this…

Thanks VĂ©ronique, I was out on a limb there, and have brought myself up to date under your reliable tutelage.

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I’ve not voted since we were led into war under false pretences…Iraq and the wholly discredited and proven false WMD…we have a local mp who is an advocate of natural medicine…I’ve watched him over many years suffer ridicule for his feelings about it…the mainstream media taking every opportunity to put him down…I find it difficult when one of my girls discusses voting…She’s a born humanitarian and still feels her vote could make a difference…My OH has just been here for a week…you probably couldn’t find two more diametrically opposed people on planet earth but it makes for lively discussion over dinner…x :slight_smile:

Yes VĂ©ronique is right - in the ancien regime the aristocrats sat on the right and the commoners on the left - but otherwise I found your words very wise Peter.
I’m a serial entrepreneur but self-consciously on the left (very working class background - so I would have had to sit on the left). But I do not think capitalism is actually opposed to socialism - indeed I don’t think capitalism is sustainable at all except in institutional, legal, etc frameworks that are basically socialist. Societies that recognise this work best: France works better then the UK (which works better than the US) - but not as well as Scandinavia (better weather though).
The holy grail is a system that enables free enterprise while maximising social justice and equality; the question is, how to achieve this?


Chris, this is a fascinating article. There are many points made… So, I’d like to ask you, as perhaps a first question: what did you think of this particular statement: “Every new national party founded since the start of the last century has had to join or give way to those founded by 1900.”

And… I thought it quite a throwing-down of the gauntlet, this statement, perhaps: “Macron launched En Marche! in a French Fifth Republic whose half-century of existence had seen repeated changes of party identities and relationships. The British party system, by comparison, is ancient, tribal and ossified.”

The statement is true enough Mary, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for a new party. With little love or trust in the politicians that are in power at the moment, I doubt the UK electorate has the appetite for something new however.
Macron’s time has only just begun. I hope he can implement his policies and make France a stronger and prosperous country. It’s not going to be easy…

Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

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{But what decides which is right & which is left? Can you not hold a view on one subject favoured by right wingers & still have a view on another favoured by left wingers too?}

Governance in most developed countries is a sway back and forth between the two poles. And regardless of the “swaying”, it is better than no democracy whatsoever. Would you rather live in Russia, that mockery of a democracy?

In fact, a people must learn about politics “in practice”, and there is nothing (really) that can come from textbooks. (Except the fundamentals). The practice of democracy is a sway between both Left and Right. They both have something correct to promote about the governance of a market-economy - on the Right how to generate Income and on the Left how to share it. (From that precept the debate gets very hairy indeed!)

Where they differ radically is in the “sharing of the spoils” - or, as economists would call it, Income Disparity. Where does it come from, how bad is it per country? When it is bad, what do we do to correct it?

All good questions with a great variety of responses.

Economists have devised the Gini Coefficient that gives an idea generally of how well or not a country is “fair economically” in terms of GDP shares amongst the population. If your a Brit, it might help to know that you don’t live in the worst place (in terms of the GC).

See for yourself the national evolution of the Gini Coefficient since WW2. The worst of any developed country is the US (with the highest GC) at around “45”. And it is playing “tag” with China, which simply means that China is perhaps the worst market-economy on earth as regards income fairness.

Most of the European GCs are much lower around “30”. So, it should comfort you to know (if you live in the EU), that you are doing fairly well as regards Income Fairness.

Believe it or not … !

If one is living in the UK, however, then they should be concerned about the long-term upswing in the GC - from around “25” up to the 1980s, when it suddenly started an upswing to its present position around “37”.

That upswing has been “long-term” and if the UK wants to mitigate that tendency then it must “get its finger out” …

see what you started Mr Rimmer :stuck_out_tongue:

I second that, Harry. What’s SNF coming to? It seems to be getting more argumentatively and intelligently French each day!

Vive la France ! Vive le chamaillerie francais ! :clipperton_island::kissing::kissing:

Right or left wing ???

In the present context… think of a chicken… one wing on the left, one wing on the right…but its got no head and runs around very fast in ever decreasing circles

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