politics political parties

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  • Created by: zun
  • Created on: 11-01-14 15:01

parties and party politics

the only political systems that have no parties are ones, such as military dictatorships, that supress them by force. parties emerged in the 19th century and were a product of the development of representative government and the extension of the franchise. at first there were only factions that operated in the house of commons. they lacked internal disipline of modern political parties and as well as a wider membership and organisation outside of parliament. in the 19th century there were only whigs and tories. then developed into the liberal party and conservative party.labour was born in the 1900's by trade unions in hope of representing the working class.

functions of parties

a political party is a group of people that is organised for the purpose of winning government power. in a democratic system. parties do this by putting candidates up for election, in the hope of gaining representation and ultimatly forming government.they have three main aims

  • parties main aim is to win political office. ( this means small parties that usually have a narrow focus can only use elections as a political platform.)
  • the second aim is to is to ensure a broad issue focus.(the wider the issue focus the higher the number of votes)
  • political parties are usually united by sharing the same ideological identity. (although this is often loose and broadly defined).

they have five functions

  • representation
  • policy formation
  • recruitment of leaders
  • organisation of government
  • participation and mobilization of electorate


representation is often seen as the primary function of parties in liberal democracies. parties do this by forming policies that will appeal to a wide range of people.the major UK parties and therefore catch-all parties. than the winning party can implement their popular mandate. in this way, parties transalate public opinion into government policy.

but do they really represent people....

  • the electorate is not always well-informed and rational in choosing between parties. factors such as a parties image and the personality of its leader may be as important as its policies.
  • because of FPTP electoral system. parties only need 35-40% of the electorate to win a general election.

differences between programmatic paries and catch-all parties...

programmatic parties                                catch-all parties

ideological/ dogmatic                                 pragmatic

long-term goals                                        short-term popularity

fixed values                                             flexible values

shape public opinion                                follow public opinion

traditional policies                                   policy renewal

class-based support              …


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