Political colour

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Hogarth's The Polling, depicting a 1754 election to the British parliament, includes a blue flag representing the Tories and a buff flag representing the Whigs.

Political colours are colours used to represent a political party, either officially or unofficially. Parties in different countries with similar ideologies tend to use similar colours. For example, the colour red symbolises left-wing ideologies (c.f. Red Flag, Red Army, Red Scare). However, the political associations of a given colour vary from country to country; for example, red is also the colour associated with the right-wing Republican Party in the United States.

Black[edit]

Black is primarily associated with anarchism (see anarchist symbolism) and fascism (see blackshirts).

  • Anti-clerical parties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sometimes used the colour black in reference to the officials of the Catholic Church, because the cassock is usually black.
  • In Germany and Austria, black is the colour historically associated with Christian-democratic parties.
  • In Italy, black is the colour of fascism, because it was the official colour of the National Fascist Party.
  • In Greece, black is the color of the Golden Dawn, a self-described social nationalist, far-right Greek political party.
  • In the Islamic world, black flags (often with a white shahadah) are sometimes used by Islamist groups. Black was the colour of the Abbasid caliphate.
  • In Russia, black represented monarchism and nationalist movements such as the Black Hundreds before their defeat at the hands of the communists.

Blue[edit]

Blue, particularly dark blue, is usually associated with conservative parties, originating from its use by the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom.

Brown[edit]

Brown has been associated with Nazism, because the Sturmabteilung (SA) were called "brownshirts." In Europe and elsewhere, the colour brown is sometimes used to refer to fascists in general.

Buff[edit]

Buff was the colour of the Whig faction in British politics from the early 18th century until the middle of the 19th century. As such it is sometimes used to represent the current political left (in opposition to blue, which represented the Tories and then the Conservatives and political right.)

Grey[edit]

  • Grey is sometimes used by parties that represent the interests of pensioners and senior citizens, such as "The Greys" in Germany. It can also be used to refer to reactionary movements, due to its association with the Confederate States of America.
  • Grey is often used to represent Independent politicians.

Green[edit]

Orange[edit]

Orange is the traditional colour of the Christian democrats, and it can also represent various kinds of populist parties. Such is the case in Austria, Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Turkey.

Pink[edit]

  • Pink is sometimes used by Social Democrats, such as in France and Portugal. The more traditional colour of social democracy is red (because social democracy is descended from the democratic socialist movement), but some countries have large social-democratic parties alongside large socialist or communist parties, so that it would be confusing for them all to use red. In such cases, social democrats are usually the ones who give up red in favour of a different colour. Pink is often chosen because it is seen as a softer, less aggressive version of red, in the same way that social democracy is more centrist and less militant than socialism.
  • In some European nations and the United States, pink is associated with homosexuality and the pink flag is used as a symbol in support of civil rights for LGBT people. This goes back to the Nazi German policy of assigning pink triangles to homosexual prisoners.

Purple[edit]

Purple is the most prominent colour that is not traditionally connected to any major ideology. As such, it is sometimes used to represent a mix of different ideologies, or new protest movements that are critical of all previously-existing parties.

  • In Europe, purple has been used to represent the 'Purple governments' of Belgium and the Netherlands, formed by an alliance of 'red' social-democratic and 'blue' liberal parties.
  • Purple is also the colour of the original Swedish Pirate Party and several of its international sister parties.
  • In Italy, purple has been adopted by anti-Silvio Berlusconi protesters (see Purple people) as an alternative from other colours and political parties.
  • In the United Kingdom purple is associated with Euroscepticism, being the official colours of the UK Independence Party (along with yellow) and Veritas.
  • Purple is also unofficially used in the United States to denote a "swing state" (i.e., one contested frequently between the Republican Party, whose unofficial colour is red, and the Democratic Party, whose unofficial colour is blue.) Purple is also used by centrists to represent a combination of beliefs belonging to the Republicans (red) and the Democrats (blue) (see above). It has also been used to reference Purple America, a term used in contrast to "blue" or "red", noting the electoral differences nationwide are observed more on discrepancies instead of unity. (See Red states and blue states.)

Red[edit]

Red is traditionally associated with socialism and communism. The oldest symbol of socialism (and, by extension, communism) is the Red Flag, which dates back to the French Revolution in the 18th century and the revolutions of 1848. The colour red was chosen to represent the blood of the workers who died in the struggle against capitalism. All major socialist and communist alliances and organisations – including the First, Second, and Third Internationals – used red as their official colour. The association between the colour red and communism is particularly strong. Communists use red much more often and more extensively than other ideologies use their respective traditional colours.

  • In Europe and Latin America, red is also associated with parties of social democracy, and often their allies within the labour movement. Sometimes these parties use pink instead, as a "moderate" colour instead of the more "radical" red.
  • In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, red is also the colour of the labour movement and the Labour (spelled 'Labor' in Australia) Parties in those countries.
  • In Canada, red has always been associated with the Liberal Party of Canada, because one of its predecessors was the Parti rouge (French for "Red Party").
  • In the United States, since the year 2000, the mass media have associated red with the Republican Party, despite the fact that the Republican Party is a conservative-leaning party. Since at least 2010, the party has adopted an all-red logo. (See Red states and blue states.)

Saffron[edit]

In India, saffron is traditionally associated with Hinduism, Hindutva and the Hindu nationalist movement.[6] Saffron was chosen because in Hindu Sanatana Dharma, the deep saffron colour is associated with sacrifice, religious abstinence, quest for light and salvation. Saffron or "Bhagwa" is the most sacred colour for the Hindus and is often worn by Sanyasis who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth.

White[edit]

White is today mainly linked to pacifism (as in the surrender flag) and in politics of the United Kingdom to independent politicians such as Martin Bell.

  • Historically, it was associated with support for absolute monarchy, starting with the supporters of the Bourbon dynasty of France, because it was the dynasty's colour. Later it was used by the Czarist Whites who fought against the communist "Reds" in the Russian Civil War, because the Russian "Whites" had similar goals to the French "Whites" of a century earlier.
  • Because of its use by anti-communist forces in Russia, the colour white came to be associated in the 20th century with many different anti-communist and counter-revolutionary groups, even those that did not support absolute monarchy (for example, the Finnish "Whites" who fought against the socialist "Reds" in the civil war following the independence of Finland). In some revolutions, red is used to represent the revolutionaries and white is used to represent the supporters of the old order, regardless of the ideologies or goals of the two sides.
  • In Italy a red cross on a white shield (scudo crociato) is the emblem of Catholic parties, from the historical Christian Democracy party.
  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban reversed the Islamist schema, using black shahada on a white background (symbol of purity).
  • In Singapore, white is the colour associated with the People's Action Party, the party that has been in power, and dominating the Parliament, since the country's independence.

Yellow[edit]

Yellow is the colour most commonly associated with liberalism. It is the official colour of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, as well as being the colour of liberal parties in Germany, Romania, Estonia and the United Kingdom (the Liberal Democrats). Yellow is also often used to represent libertarianism.

By country[edit]

In this map of the 2012 U.S. Presidential election results the states are colour-coded by the political colour of the party whose candidate won their electoral college votes. The political meanings of red and blue in the United States are different from their meanings in most of the world.

Notable national political colour schemes include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Change That Matters". Democrats.org. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Blue is the colour of peace
  3. ^ "Strong Showing for Santos in Colombia's First round". As-coa.org. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Electoral Commission (27 November 2007). "The Family Party - Applications to register party name and logo". Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Electoral Commission (17 December 2007). "The Family Party registered, logo declined". Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Véronique Bénéï (2005). Manufacturing Citizenship: education and nationalism in Europe, South Asia and China. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-36488-4. 
  7. ^ "Historic Election Results". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online – REDS AND BLUES". Tshaonline.org. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Rowe, Tara A. (13 January 2005). "The Political Game: The Red and Blue State Phenomenon". Politicalgame.blogspot.com. Retrieved 17 October 2011.