Political parties, Electoral systems

Has info on candidate selection, main ideologies, leadership selection and policy formulation for the main three parties. Also pro's and cons to all electoral systems, the different functions of elections,  different definitions of democracy and quite a lot on how Political parties fulfull there functions :) this was the final consolidation of my notes on these area's- hope it helps

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 12-01-13 17:23
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Politics revision and consolidation
Political parties:
Conservative party. Main idea's
Rolling back the state- individuals should not be held back by the state + should make there
own way. ­ shouldn't be involved in education
Traditional social values ie sexual equality, tough on law and order- gun dealers given life
sentences in 2012
Small but strong state- no constitutional reform
Hard line on benefit fraud and a tightening of regulations, welfare used purely as safety net
Commitment to reducing levels of personal and business taxation
No policy to leave EU but against further integration
One Nationism Thatcherism
Paternalism- rich look after poor Self interest
Tradition Radicalism- deregulation + floating pound
Organic society- people work together Rugged individualism- people are self reliant
Social duty Personal advancement
Pragmatic intervention Roll back the state- no cradle to grave
Middle way economics Free market low taxes no state intervention
in business
Policy Formulation ­ democratised in 1998 by William Hague ­ before this as john major quoted `it
was all me' ­ creation on national policy forum ­ 2001 manifesto ­ policy downgraded under ian
Duncan smith and 2005 manifesto largely decided by leader ­ Party conference has no role other
than ­ to ralley party members through speeches ­ give some degree of consultation on pre decided
policies ­ use media to highlight positive image of unity
Leadership selection.
Present candidates must be sitting mp's who take the party whip- must be nominated +
seconded by mp's
Once nominations are in a series of ballots are held, mp's vote once and lowest placed
candidate is dropped out until 2 remain (david Cameron + David Davies in 2005)
Party members are then invited to vote (78% did) -

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MP's can however vote tactically eg 2001 Ian Duncan smith
Excludes members till end ­ and even they don't represent wider society should the leader
win the election
Candidate selection.…read more

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Leadership selection: before 1980's leader chosen by mp's alone but now electoral college
system is in place 1/3rd by parliamentary labour party 1/3rd by affiliated organisations 1/3
party members. Candidate must be nominated by 12.5% mp's if there is a vacancy or 20% if
it's a challenge. If no candidate received more that 50% of 1st votes in first round bottom
candidate dropped out and votes redistributed.
2010 david + edd milliband edd won by 0.…read more

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State funding ­ cranbourn money split of 2 million from house of lords for policy
development. Short money in order to cover administration costs.
Corporate donations: trade unions 91% of labour donations UNITE 1.5 million. 25%
conservatives come from financial sector and 375000 to lib dems from ministry of sound
State funding FOR AGAINST
Decreases sleaze in politics Lack of transparency encourages sleaze (eg
France)- corrupt politicians will always find ways
Equal platform for small parties(8.…read more

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Simle plurality system- voters have one vote and choose between different candidates,
from different parties. Candidate that wins most votes are selected. It is not necessary for
candidates to win a majority of the vote( 434 of 650 MP's returned in 2010 with less than
half of constituency votes)
Aides democracy as it presents a clear 2 party system no longer representative as
choice for voters only 63% of people support big two. 23% lib
dems only got 8.7% of seats.…read more

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­ however this varies on district magnitude as results are
more proportional in regions electing a high number of representatives
political parties use lists to increase no of underrepresented minorities eg women (22% of
seats) and black minorities( 4%) and Asian (<1%)
UKIP 16% votes 13/72 seats
cant choose candidate ­ which places more power in the executive committees and reduces
three thinking as they wont choose rebel back bencher over career politician
no clear link between representatives + constituencies
weak + unstable gov…read more

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Winning candidate has to achieve an overall majority of votes cast
Voters indicate preference by writing 123 etc. , if no candidate secures a majority then the
candidate with the lowest number of first preference votes is eliminated and their second
preferences carry the same value as first preferences etc.…read more

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Electors cast two votes: one for their favoured candidate in a single member constituency and
one for their favoured party from a party list in multi member constituency's.
As a mixed system it balances the desirability of constituency representation against the
need for fairness in elections
The results are broadly proportional and less wasted votes
Voters have greater choice.…read more

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Following the mp expenses scandal many mp's chose to resign
rather than face the verdict of voters
EDUCATION: election campaigns provide citizens with information on major political issues
and the policies of the main parties. In theory this enables citizens to make informed
decisions on how to vote but in practice the information provided is imperfect.
LEGITIMACY: elections give legitimacy to the party and to the political system as a whole, by
voting even for a losing party, citizens give their consent to the system.…read more

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However in 2010 the coalition only gained 59.2% of vote ­ electorate often votes for leader
not policies (2010 they were equally important) due to fptp parties don't need 50% of vote-
Percieved shift towards centre many felt parties offered little choice and were just vote
winning machines focused on floating voters . Fail to represent minority views lib dems 23%
votes 8.7% seats.…read more


Old Sir

A useful and detailed set of revision notes, (with the occasional typo). Students looking for an exemplar 'end product' might find this useful. The next stage would be to identify more of the issues that have come up in past papers and decide how the evidence here can be used to gain marks at AO2, (evaluation and analysis).


content is detailed however grammar was very poor which made it hard to decipher at times 

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