To what extent are the policies of Labour and Conservatives similar?
Although the strong distinctive left and right beliefs have deteriorated, there are still some MPs and party activists who are strongly socialist and Conservative in inclination. For example, the strongly socialist individuals were unhappy with the way Tony Blair and Gordon Brown allowed market forces to dominate their economic thinking. Furthermore, Labour leaders today know that if they move too far to the “left”, they will alienate floating voters as it will remind them of Old Labour’s “tax and spend” policies.
David Cameron’s manifesto brought a few policies which are quite similar to Blair and Brown’s policies. For example, following the 2008 financial crisis, Cameron broadly supported Labour’s management of the economy. This conveys the fact that a degree of similarity exists between the two major parties. Under the 2010 Conservative manifesto, they pledged to reduce the deficit, cut tax, waste and spending and also to achieve greater deregulation. However, the deregulation conveys a subtle continuation of Thatcher’s policy on it.
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Both parties share different views on the EU, as well as joining the Euro. Cameron continued to demonstrate Euroscepticsm whilst supporting the Conservative MEP’s with the far right of the Euro Parliament. However, Labour has always had broad support of the EU, and under the Labour manifesto of 2010, the would not adopt the Euro under a public referendum. Hence, this shows a huge contrast in the policies and ideas of the Labour and Conservative party.
Another major difference are the different approaches the two parties have on immigration. The Conservatives to a smaller extent accepts annual limits on immigration, particularly unskilled workers, whereas the Labour party view this as inflexible, favouring a points based system instead. This shows that there is a different approach on immigration from both sides.
Moving on, the Labour party has adopted an authoritarian approach to law and order. An example of this is the imprisonment of the individuals at Guantanamo Bay, and Blair’s increase of prison sentences. This shows that Labour is moving towards the Conservatives approach to Law and Order, as it has always had an authoritarian attitude,
However, constitutional reform has been on Labour’s agenda for a very long time which contradicts the Conservative’s traditional ideological view on maintaining the status-quo. Examples of successful reforms made to the constitution were the devolved powers given to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Overall, today, it is clear that despite there is always a distinction between the two parties, it is becoming weaker and weaker as both parties are becoming nothing other than “catch-all” parties. Therefore, it is clear that Labour and Conservatives’ similar policies are solely intact for electoral support.