Political perceptions

As I have frequently written on this blog, I read a variety of British media, left and right. I tend to avoid the tabloid press unless some other source directly links to an article that appeared in one of them, and so my daily reading includes the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, New Statesmen, the Spectator and ConservativeHome. I used to read the Times as well, but not since they’ve gone behind a paywall. Because I don’t limit myself to media that favour one party or ideological slant, I am frequently both amused and dismayed by how each side perceives the other. For example, Guardian and New Statesmen readers (and columnists) accuse the Cameron Conservatives of being extremely right-wing, while the […]

Contrasting approaches to maternal health

Earlier this year, as hosts of the G8, Canada’s Conservative government pledged to make maternal and child health in developing nations a G8 priority. However laudable the initiative, the government was heavily criticised for stating it would veto the use of any of its funds to provide women with access to safe abortions – even in countries where abortion is legal. Fast forward a few months to the very end of 2010 and we learn that the UK coalition government, led by Conservative PM David Cameron, will put contraception and safe abortion at the heart of its efforts to help save women’s lives in poor countries: Two documents set out plans for international development, which has a ringfenced budget. One […]

New progressives

I apologize for my prolonged absence from blogging. As sometimes happens, real life events intervened in such a way that I simply was not able to properly focus on things political, which was at times frustrating, because there were a few events that did catch my attention and on which I wanted to comment. One of those came courtesy of the 2010 Hugo Young Lecture which was delivered this year by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (23 Nov 2010). Some time back, I posted about my annoyance with the generalized assumption that a “progressive” had to be left-leaning. Clegg addressed this issue in his Lecture, and while I have certain issues with what Clegg said in his talk, I did […]

Political Bias and Perception

We all know (I hope) that our political biases colour how we view things. For example, someone with very conservative, right-wing views reading a newspaper such as The Toronto Star or The Guardian will not see their own views reflected in the editorials and commentaries (and probably not even in the way the news is reported), and so will tag those papers as being “liberal”, “left-wing”, etc. Ditto for someone more to the left who reads The National Post or the Daily Telegraph – they will call the paper right-wing. What is interesting to me is how media that tries to be as balanced as is humanly possible is perceived. Case in point, the Globe and Mail. If you read […]

Rethinking political labels

Recently, on ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie blogged asking “What is Right-Wing?” Montgomerie admits to being less than satisfied with most of the definitions found online, and invited others to proffer their own definitions of what constituted being “right-wing”. I found this post and the comments made by readers interesting because I too have been struggling with definitions of late. It isn’t simply the definition of “right-wing” that troubles me; I am finding most political labels to be inaccurate, at times meaningless and frequently misused by others. “Right-wing”, “left-wing”, “progressive”, “liberal”, “conservative”, etc., all face the same problem: there is little agreement on what they mean. The biggest problem for me is that most people tend to lump economic philosophy and positions […]

Progressively confusing

I used to have a blog called Vues d’ici, in which I mostly blogged about various aspects of Canadian politics. A few posts were different, addressing matters not specifically related to Canadian politics. I was reminded of one of them recently after reading an opinion piece by Tony Wright the Guardian entitled “We can’t all be progressives“. In his article, Wright, a former Labour MP, writes: “So now we have progressive Conservatism implementing a programme of “progressive” cuts, adhering to what George Osborne christened a “progressive budget”, with the Liberal Democrats as progressive partners. If everyone is now a progressive, either the term has to be dumped or a serious attempt has to be made to give it some meaning.” […]