Politics and Antagonism: why the Left has been badly taught.

The original factional split in the modern British parliament was between the Tories and the Whigs during the Exclusion Crisis of 1679. These groups were affiliations of like-minded MPs who had been elected as individuals on their own “merits”(!) The Whigs wished to legally exclude the catholic James, Duke of York, from succeeding to the British throne. The Tories opposed this because, while many of them were similarly anti-Catholic, they believed that inheritance from parents was the basis of a stable society.  Tory sentiments led to the formation of the Conservative Party in 1834, making it, today, the oldest continuous political party in British politics. 

Our legislature has remained rigidly binary, oppositional, and combative ever since, although it has been through many versions, most importantly when the newly formed Labour party took over from the Liberals as the main opposition to the Conservatives in the 1920s. 

The stability of British society has led the British people, and its parliamentary representatives, to assume such an adversarial system is natural and inevitable. We assume that there is honour in a blind and destructive refusal to compromise or negotiate, that only by rejecting any other points of view, attempting to wholly defeat them, by whatever means prove effective, do we demonstrate our integrity and sense of principle.

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