Politics is today commonly associated with ‘party politics’ where each party represents a certain group of people in Parliament and considers issues through a specific lens. Britain has three main political parties; first, the Conservative Party on the right, which advocates the encouragement of private property, the preservation of a strong military, and the conservation of traditional cultural values. Second, the Labour Party on the left which is closely affiliated to trade unions, promotes nationalization, a welfare state and a Keynesian approach to economics; and the third, Liberal Democrats at the centre who put an emphasis on individual liberty, equality, a mixed economy, a developed welfare state and a reformed democratised system of government. Their main roles are both on the long term and on the short term. The long-term goals of a political party include public engagement where parties ignite the public’s interest and incite them to participate in debates in a sustained manner. A political party’s short-term role would be the mobilisation of the population, which looks at how people vote in one instance, in a referendum or an election for example. However, if one looks more closely at how effective political parties are in terms of their roles in society, we can notice a gap between what they aim to achieve and the observable outcome. This suggests that there have been changes in the way political parties operate, which could lead to the decline of the parties. This essay will argue that first, party organisation can cause a decline in memberships and lead to a decline of a party. Second, a change in society can affect the parties; class and partisan dealignment has pushed parties to transform themselves when it comes ...
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...ssay has argued that British political parties have suffered from a decline in membership due to internal factors including change or reluctance to change. Secondly, a change in society and social groups has further damaged political parties, as they have had to adjust to a shift in voter audience. Finally, the disempowerment of the British government and its political parties has had a negative effect on the population who started to doubt party efficiency and contributed to the decline in participation and in turn, of the parties. All these factors show that indeed British political parties are in decline, but this does not mean that British parties will disappear; as the Hughton Report mentioned in 1976, “if the parties fail, then democracy fails”. Our democratic system needs political parties to function properly; it is not too late for British party resurgence.
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