Unit 1 - AS Edexcel Government and Politics Revision Notes on Political Parties

A very condesned set of notes for Unit 1.2 of Alevel Edexcel Politics

everything you need to know.

Have made notes on Democracy&particpation, elections and pressure groups

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Political parties:
Political party = association of people who share similar political philosophy and political ideas and
who wish to convert their beliefs into political action
Functions of parties:
Policy making
Run institutions in society
Encourage people to vote
Identify leaders
Inform the public
Represent their citizens
The political spectrum:
Political `left' Political `right'
Idea of collectivism ­ achieve goals by Reject idea of collectivism ­ believes in the
collective action (state is essential) importance of the provision of individual
Believe in universal distribution of benefits Role of state should be limited
(health and education etc)
Promote equality and maximum freedom Believe that inequality and differences can
be a positive force ­ creates incentives to
improve themselves and not rely on the
Consensus politics:
Where there is widespread agreement in ideas and principles
Implies policy makers will consult widely and secure widespread agreement before putting
policies into practice
Period were few ideological differences between parties
Example of consensus politics:
The post thatcher consensus 1994-2010)
Labour and Liberal Democrats accepted the reforms of the Thatcher government
of the 1980s.
(e.g ­ an acceptance that private sector enterprises should be able to compete
with state-run organisations to provide state services)
Adversary politics:
Where there is widespread and fundamental disagreement over ideas and policies
Deep ideological differences between parties and between factions
Example of adversary politics:
The Labour/Conservative divide 1981-1990
`Thatcherite' conservative policy = to reduce welfare benefits as a means of
creating more incentive to work and greater reliance vs. Labour's left-wing

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Britain's multiparty system:
Key features:
Two main parties hold an absolute majority of the seats in general elections and
There is very little/no alternatives in parliament ot those to parties
Voters feel a strong attachment to one party or the other
Britain changed from a two-party system because the Lib Dems and other parties have become
more represented ­ they receive more votes as a result of this (may also be because parties have
moved away from representing particular classes in society)…read more

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BLUE LABOUR…read more

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Old Sir

A useful overview of the principle political traditions in the UK. Students might wish to deepen their knowledge of the development of the main parties in particular by reading in more depth about post-1945 consensus, the influence of the trade union movement and the movement towards devolution, in Scotland especially. That will offer examples and case studies which may be used in analysis and evaluation, (assessment objective 2).


Very useful mind maps, just slightly confused with Thatcherite conservativism wanting to create dependency by having high welfare benefits but then wants reduction of welfare

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