07 May 2010

UK political parties for Americans in less than 200 words

With the recent 2010 general election in the UK, it is useful to take a look at the major political parties:

The Conservatives (often called the "Tories") are the British equivalent of the Republican Party. In terms of the political spectrum, they are a center-right party; although from a policy standpoint (largely owing to the European social democratic trend) a British Conservative would probably be a conservative or moderate Democrat in the United States.

The Labour Party is, more or less, the equivalent of the Democratic Party. They are a center-left party aligned with unions and associated with the welfare state. A Labour MP would be a liberal Democrat or maybe even a Socialist (i.e., Bernie Sanders).

The UK has a third party of considerable stature, the Liberal Democrats. There is no third party in the US that has any such level of support. In terms of the political spectrum, the Lib Dems are generally perceived to be center or center-left. It is difficult to find an American political equivalent to the Lib Dems; the Lib Dems have both social liberals (supporters of the welfare state) and market liberals who are more inclined to libertarian ideas.
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