london 2009While I avoid writing about political issues, politicians and their followers are a different matter altogether. Of particular interest to me is this definition of right and left in politics. If I tried to line up some of our world’s most well known politicians, and then order them from left to right, it would make for strange bedfellows.

Just to take two as an example. Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy. In the US Obama is on the left, and in France Sarkozy is on the right. However, if they were in the same electorate, Sarkozy would be miles to the left of Obama, or visa versa. Australia has a left Prime minister in Kevin Rudd, while Germany has a right Chancellor in Angela Merkel. But here too, in the same electorate Rudd would be way out to the right of Merkel.

Tony Blair was always hard to label. He was Labour, hence left. But he made George Bush his boosom political buddy. One thing you can say about George Bush though, he was right in any political electorate.

In general it seems to me that what is left in the US, is more like the right in Europe. So that must mean that right in the US must be what is considered ultra right in Europe. And the left in Europe must be seen an loopy left in the US. Then Australian left is equal to German right. Right? I was going to mention Italy here, but after no consideration at all, I won’t.

So what of centrists, far right, socialists, communists and anarchists? Just so I don’t concentrate on only two hand sides. Where do they fit? Is a US socialist, really in the same political sphere as a European liberal?

I recall when I lived in Australia, Bill Clinton visited when Australia had a right wing government led by John Howard. And they got on like a house on fire. Political equals. Strange.

The only conclusion I can draw is that political definitions do not translate across borders. So my liberal, will be someone else’s socialist or far right. My far right may be your left and my ultra right might be your centrist. Too confusing. Why did I even start on this?

I think I should finish here, but with one truth that holds up across all political arenas. All, and I repeat all politicians have an undeniable skill to bend the truth, lie and distort facts. And then call it ‘misspoke’ when caught out.

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Left Or Right?
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4 thoughts on “Left Or Right?

  • 30/01/2010 at 7:06 pm
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    and this week lefties are acting like righties and vicey vercy

  • 30/01/2010 at 7:36 pm
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    Remember what Kirkagaard (or Dick Van Patten) said: if you label me, you negate me. Ergo, if we also throw labels at them (on all sides), maybe politicians will just go away?

  • 30/01/2010 at 7:37 pm
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    Which side of the road do you drive on in Switzerland?

    In the mid-sixties Johnny Cash recorded a song,"The One on the Right Is on the Left", a satire about confusion in Washington. Regretfully, JC has on; the confusion in Washington is still there.

  • 30/01/2010 at 9:26 pm
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    Think there's barely the width of roll up fag paper between Left & Right in Western Europe these days, it's all soft centres, alienate the least amount of the electorate by not actually doing anything or legislating for anything. In the US, the land of the free (traders) there's just a difference between the free market ultras (no tax rises, no State services) of the republicans and a wooly we'll provide a safety net for the worse off in society of the Dems.

    Funny how they all just prefer to make wars abroad than take any action to alleviate the misery of their own worst off citizens…

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