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Keywords:

  • political parties;
  • volatile;
  • misleading

Party names have been collected since ‘Whig’ and ‘Tory’ meant ‘Scotch rebel’ and ‘Irish bandit’. ‘Conservative’ began as a catch-all on the right when one did not use the word ‘right’ in politics, struggled with ‘Unionist’ until Ireland got away and was a euphemism for ‘Tory’ before the Americans used it to describe howling extremists. ‘Labour’ meant skilled men in best suits and school teachers with elbow patches, and now has the resonance of Nineveh and Tyre.