As we’ve been spending more time in the United Kingdom, it has become more clear that there are many things unique about UK politics.
Like us in the States, their politics are on a spectrum of left to right with the right leaning conservative and the left leaning liberal. In the past few elections, the Conservatives, or Tories, and UKIP were the major right leaning parties with the Labour and smaller Liberal Democrats were the left parties.
What to Know About the Left:
- Leader of Labour: Jeremy Corbyn
- In favor of the NHS, the government funded health care service
- In opposition of Brexit, referred to as “remainers”
- In favor of pro-immigration legislation in the name of human rights
What to Know About the Right:
- Leader of Conservative (and Prime Minister): Theresa May
- In favor of privatizing the NHS
- In favor of Brexit and cutting all ties with the EU in hopes of English economic gain
- In opposition of opening borders to immigrants escaping from countries like Syria in the name of national security
Overall, the issues like immigration and health care are very similar in views to the left and right in America. The demographics of voters who vote each direction are very similar as well.
“Young people are sort of seeing through the bullshit of the mainstream conservative media and are becoming sort of antiestablishment,” 19-year-old student Gigi said. “We get our news from twitter and social media because were tired of seeing lies about Labour and for our government to not represent our interests.”
On the other side of things, older conservative voters feel that the Labour party and their young supporters are being fed lies that sound wonderful but in reality aren’t possible to obtain.
“All these news outlets like the Guardian and the Independent along with Corbyn are telling these kids that free college and free healthcare and free whatever are totally possible when they’re not realistic,” 52-year-old banker Thomas J. said. “Corbyn has all these grand ideas but no concept of how to actually do any of it.”
My overall impression of UK vs. US politics is that although on paper, they seem just as polarizing between the left an right, there seems to be less of a divide in terms of everyday life. Unlike in America where Trump supporters are some of the most hated members of society and Liberals are deemed “fragile snowflakes” who can’t function in a normal society, people here coexist seemingly without issue.
In conclusion, while there are many similarities in platform and mainstream media backing, the political culture of the country is much less ostracizing and polarizing than that of the United States.
Yours Politely, Natalie