Student Resources - Chapter seven
Chapter 7: Political Parties
SETTING THE SCENE
We move on from pressure groups to the other main organizations which involve people in politics: political parties. According to some commentators, this is where real political power is to be found, since almost all the politicians with power in Britain will be members of a political party. This is the first of two chapters on this important topic. The next chapter looks at the ideas and recent history of the three major political parties in Britain.
- What is a political party?
- What functions do political parties perform?
- Are parties good or bad for democracy?
- Party systems
- Does Britain have a two-, three- or multi-party system?
- Does Britain have a dominant party system?
- Adversary and consensus politics
- The internal structures and politics of parties
- Party funding
- Party unity and division
Are any of the terms below unclear to you? If so, perhaps you should look over this chapter or use the searchable glossary to familiarise yourself with these terms.
- Political party
- Incumbency effect
- Adversary politics
- Consensus politics
Matching Exercise: Chapter Seven
|Political party||The way in which political parties often divide into subgroups, divided over policy, ideology or strategy.|
|Ideology||The tendency in post-war politics for the major political parties to agree broadly on many issues for long periods.|
|Policy||The way in which political parties conduct themselves in constant disagreement and debate.|
|Party-system||The advantage enjoyed at an election by the holder of a political office or by a whole party when it is in government.|
|Incumbency effect||The way in which parties operate together within the wider political system, specifically, the number of parties in the country, and the relative strengths of the parties.|
|Adversary politics||A deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve the ideological aims of a political party.|
|Consensus politics||A set of political beliefs which present in broad terms a coherent world-view.|
|Factionalism||A group of like-minded people who join together to achieve political office|
S. Ingle, The British Party System (Pinter, 2000): straightforward academic account of the nature of the party system in the UK.
S. Jenkins, Thatcher and Sons (Penguin, 2006): looks at the new consensus.
R. McKenzie, British political parties, 2nd edn (Heinemann, 1967): the classic text on post-war political parties, giving invaluable historical background.
R. Rose, The Problem of Party Government (Pelican, 1976): another classic text, fizzing with ideas, and based on careful research.
D. Simpson, Political Parties (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998): very good for the beginner.
P. Webb, The Modern British Party System (Sage, 2000): inventive and stimulating academic study.
- www.greenparty.org.uk (Green Party)
- www.conservative-party.org.uk (Conservative Party)
- www.labour.org.uk (Labour Party)
- www.libdems.org.uk (Liberal Democrat)
- www.snp.org.uk (Scottish National Party)
- www.plaidcymru.org (Plaid Cymru)
Multiple Choice Quiz 7
Click here to access the Multiple Choice Quiz for this Chapter.
Download Worksheet 1 Political Parties - handout