Politics – Part 2: Centre right

Inferno
Inferno
Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:45 pm by Inferno

Having talked about far-right parties in my first post, I wish to move slightly further toward the centre.

Centre-right parties are usually conservative parties, the examples being the Conservative Party (UK) and the Republican Party (US). I will take the specific example of the Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP) and look at their program. Note that I can’t go through it all, it’s about 70 pages long.

A quick word about the colour system: In general, conservative parties will sport blue (UK) or black (Germany, Austria) colours. Socialist (left-wing) parties will usually have red colours. (UK, Germany, Austria) I only know of the US where these roles are reversed: The conservative party (Republicans) are red and the socialist party (Democrats) are blue.

 

The first point in the program of the ÖVP is:

Wir sind die christdemokratische Partei.

Basically: “We are a Christian democratic party.”

This is quite common in most any conservative party I know: State that you are a Christian party. The CDU and the Republicans alike emphasize this point.

Point three reads:

Wir sind die Partei der Ökosozialen Marktwirtschaft.

Basically: We stand for ökosocial markets.
This isn’t exactly what they’re doing though. Many centre-right parties, the ÖVP included, are straight capitalists, usually letting market regulate itself and only interfering if a crisis is imminent. This is also called “laissez-faire capitalism”.

It is generally true that centre-right parties focus on boosting the economy, while centre-left parties focus on using money to pay for social institutions.

Point four reads:

Wir sind die Österreichpartei in Europa.

Basically: “We are the Austria-party in Europe”

This might seem redundant, they are in Austria after all, but it’s actually a statement about two things:
1) European politics are quite difficult to understand, so I’ll refrain from that here. What you should know is that the European Parliament also contains a number of parties. The ÖVP is particularly concerned with representing Austrian interests.

2) Austrian interests are, in this case, national interests. This once again shows the strong nationalist tendencies of right-wing parties.

Point five reads:

Wir sind die Volkspartei

Basically: “We are the peoples party”

Again, this is not strictly true if you look at their voters. Generally, these voters are composed of wealthier people who don’t care too much about social infrastructure, that is to say free medicare, free public transport and so on. A newspaper article in the “kleine Zeitung” characterizes ÖVP-voters in the following way: Mostly voted for by farmers (huge lobby in Austria) and independent business people.

This is generally true of other centre-right parties. They mostly appeal to rich people (see GOP in the US) and independent business owners, while generally not appealing to the working-class. Note: This is prominently not true in the UK, where the working class seems to favour the conservative party.

Another point states: We want to boost the family as the core of society. (Fun fact: They misspelled the word “Kernzelle”, meaning core. It reads “Keimzelle”, meaning gamete. “Keim” also means pathogen, so I’m not sure what they’re telling us…)

This is similar to the more extreme-right parties: Focusing on the family (defined as man + woman + kids) and exclude same-sex couples. Opposition to same-sex marriage usually stems from the more right-wing parties such as the Republican Party, the ÖVP and FPÖ, the German CDU and, in most cases, the conservative party in the UK. (Note for the last one: There seems to be some movement going on.)

 

I think that’s enough attention devoted to the centre-right. Next up: The Green party, after which I will follow with the left wing parties.

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