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Resourcd File


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Resourcd File

  1. 1. Internal party democracy To establish the basic principles of internal party democracy.
  2. 2. Starter • What are political parties? • What are the key functions of a political party?
  3. 3. There are three key elements of internal democracy. 1. How the leader is elected 2. How local candidates are chosen 3. How policy is developed
  4. 4. The election of the leader • Is critical in determining the direction of the party. Thus, for example, when the Conservatives elected Michael Howard as leader in 2003, it marked a distinct move to the right by the party — a stance which lost the party the 2005 election. • Similarly, the unopposed election of Gordon Brown as Labour leader proved to be an unsuccessful attempt to put the Blair years behind them.
  5. 5. Policy making • This has generally become more leadership-oriented in all three main parties. The influence of ‘ordinary’ members has inevitably declined. Grass-roots members of parties tend to be more radical than leaders, so the more influence such members have, the more radical the party’s policy stance is likely to be. The decline in the influence of trade unions in the Labour Party has been decisive, moving the party closer to the centre of politics. Left-wing members of Labour used to be influential, but this faction has all but disappeared. • The Liberal Democrats remain internally democratic and the party’s members remain influential, which partly explains why it remains a relatively radical party. However, the discipline of sharing power after May 2010 threatens to weaken the influence of grass-roots member
  6. 6. Local candidate selection • This important in that leadership groups prefer to control the entry of new MPs. • The Conservative Party in particular attempts to control the selection of candidates. • Labour has always struggled to maintain control of MPs because of local autonomy. Traditionally the party has had to tolerate radical members selected by radical local parties. • The Liberal Democrats exercise virtually no central control over candidate selection, but this has presented few problems as the party has had so few MPs.
  7. 7. Conclusion • Party leaderships are increasingly influenced by public opinion rather than by their own memberships. • This is the result largely of the decline of ideology. – Questions • Does internal democracy matter? Are parties merely effectively run by small elites?
  8. 8. Plan a model answer • We will plan a model answer for this question To what extent are modern political parties internally democratic? (25 marks, 500 words)
  9. 9. Steps • 1 - Plan the introduction – today • 2 – Plan the main body of the answer – Tuesday • 3 – Plan the conclusion – Homework for the half term
  10. 10. Plan of attack • Introduction. Explain the meaning of the term ‘internally democratic’ as presented in the lesson. – The term internally democratic refers to the process followed by the different political parties in the following key areas, How the Party leader is elected, how the Party selects candidates and how the Party develops its policies. However there are essential differences in the internal democratic processes within each of the main parties
  11. 11. Plan (2) • Content. – Discuss the nature of internal democracy in each of the parties. Describe these in terms of the three criteria — leadership election, candidate selection and policy formulation. – Demonstrate the key differences between the ways in which parties make policy, elect leaders and select candidates. – Note the significance of the changes that are occurring in terms of internal democracy
  12. 12. Conclusion • Divide into two sections: 1. A summary of the comparison between the parties. 2. An overall assessment of party democracy.
  13. 13. What are political parties? Parties are groups or associations of people with similar political views or who share the same political ideology. They come into existence to ensure those political views are represented in the political system and, ultimately, they seek governmental power in order to implement their views. Parties normally have some kind of formal organisation for the purpose of developing policy and political programmes, recruiting and selecting candidates for office, and mobilising public support for the policies. After winning an election, a party becomes the government and its leading members become the government’s ministers. Parties which hold or share political office have a dual role. First, they continue to mobilise public support for themselves and seek re-election. Second, they must organise policies for the purpose of governing. This may involve compromises and short-term changes in policy. Where there is a conflict between party policy and the best interests of the country as a whole, the leadership must try to resolve the conflict.
  14. 14. Functions of political parties • Parties aggregate policies. This means putting aspirational policies together into coherent political programmes. • They develop policy options to deal with various political problems. • They recruit members, activists and leaders. • They provide opportunities for people to participate in politics in a responsible manner. • They are a training ground for political leaders. • They educate the public about key political issues. • They help to run elections, ensuring that people vote and are informed about issues and candidates. • They reinforce consent for the system of parliamentary democracy by mobilising support for current political processes and institutions.
  15. 15. Labour Leaders Candidates Policies GROUP 1 P.E.E (L) Internal Democracy: Process Liberal Leaders Candidates Policies Conservative Leaders Candidates Policies
  16. 16. GROUP 2 P.E.E (L) Internal Democracy Differences
  17. 17. GROUP 3 P.E.E (L) Internal Democracy Changes