Posted by Serge Liberman on February 20, 2005
In Reply to: Shift to the left posted by David FG on February 20, 2005
You are quite correct and thank you for your clarification. The term did originate in the French National Assembly of 1789 where the nobles sat to the right of the president, and the commons sat on the left. This arrangement appears to have become customary in European parliaments more generally where the progressives sit on the left and conservatives on the right. My source states that it is also usual to speak of the left, right and centre when referring to the different elements comprising a single party.