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The major UK parties have moved towards the centre of the political spectrum. Discuss.

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´╗┐Jayant Srivastava The major UK parties have moved towards the centre of the political spectrum. Discuss. The left-right spectrum is a political model used to identify the politics of individuals and parties. The two main parties in the UK are the Conservatives and the Labour Party and both are now regarded as centrist parties. But this has not always been in the case, and many policies within each party have changed in the recent years to a more centrist opinion from opposite sides of the spectrum. Firstly the Labour Party has moved from being a left-wing party to a much less radical centre party. Historically Labour has been a socialist (essentially centre-left; leaning more to the left) party, particularly regarding economic policies. Socialism is commonly defined as a common ideology of common ownership and this idea can be identified in Labour?s early history. For example embedded in the Labour Party constitution (clause four) ...read more.


This can be seen throughout the 20th Century as under moderate pragmatic leaders like Alec Douglas-Home and Edward Heath they ensured despite their preferences for conservative values they still appealed to the working classes. Indeed this continued under Margaret Thatcher; although her Conservative government was and is viewed as very traditional and did indeed have strong conservative elements (strong government and leadership, family values, patriotism, religion) the Thatcher era did introduce neo-liberal attitudes like free-marketism, individualism and minimal state intervention. Recent Conservative leaders like John Major and David Cameron can also be seen as being very liberal and very centrist in the majority of their views. For example- Cameron is socially liberal on issues ranging from gay rights, to equality and the rights of minority ethnic groups. These modern Tory views are sometimes viewed as the Conservative reaction to New Labour, in an attempt to ensure the Conservatives still appeal to the public and showcase the now majority liberal views. ...read more.


While the media and public like to sensationalize and stress the numbers of extremists and radicals, at the 2010 General Elections 90% of the electorate voted for centrist parties (Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats) which shows just how largely public opinion is based around centre politics. It also needs to be remembered that UK politics is not just about English politics, and the parties? currently holding most seats in the other Home Nations have also moved towards the centre. For example the SNP, like Labour have shifted towards the centre from previously being more socialist. Another example is in Northern Ireland, where despite remaining largely right-wing, the DUP have toned down some of their views towards the centre. In conclusion, it is a more than valid argument to suggest that the main parties have moved towards the centre of the political spectrum as many of their policies have become less extreme to capture a larger portion of the electorate. Perhaps the real question is how far have the major UK parties moved to the centre? ...read more.

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