Left of center

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 10, 2007

In Reply to: Left of center posted by Sara on May 10, 2007

: What does 'bit left of center' mean?

It refers to political orientation. If you are on the left, you are leftist (at least in the eyes of those on the right), which is characterized by one degree another of liberalism and beyond. If you are a liberal you probably favor such things as a woman's right to choose; the separation of church and state; the elimination of discrimination on the basis of sex or race or the like; the use of government to benefit all levels of society; the adoption of deficit spending, possibly on the Keynesian model, to help the economy recover from a deep recession or a depression; and in general the active use of government for utopian ends. Farther to the left, you may favor an outright socialist model of government. Farther to the left than that you can favor Communism, Marxism, or some even more incomprehensible model of government. Being a bit left of center is barely disinguishable from being a centrist, or mugwump. And where the center is nobody knows.
What it means to be to the right of center someone else should respond, if a response is necessary.

The origin of "left" and "right" lies in the seating arrangements of Parliament, in which the Tories are seated on the right, the others (Socialists, Labor, Liberal, anything not Tory) on the left. Since nobody sits in the center aisle, there are no English MPs in the center. But left and right are used more figuratively than literally when it comes to political orientation.