*Political Parties, Party and Electoral Systems*, and Voting Behavior in the UK *Political Parties and the *UK’s Party System Brief History: The Labour Party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century, and continues to describe itself as a party of democratic socialism. Labour was the first political party in Great Britain to stand for the representation of the low-paid working class and it is the working class who are known as the Labour Party grassroots and traditional members and voters.
The party traditionally favors socialist policies such as public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and a belief in the welfare state and publicly funded healthcare and education. socialist policies such as public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and a belief in the welfare state and publicly funded healthcare and education.
But since the 1980’s, under the leadership of Neil Kinnock, John Smith and Tony Blair the party has moved away from its traditional socialist position towards what is often described as the “Third Way” (centrism) adopting some Thatcherite and free market policies after losing in four consecutive general elections. The Conservative Party on the other hand, descended from the Tory Party, founded in 1678, and is still often referred to as the Tory Party and its politicians, members and supporters as Tories.
It was also known as the Unionist Party in the early 20th century, following the Conservatives’ alliance with that part of the Liberal Party, known as the Liberal Unionists, who opposed their party’s support for Irish Home Rule. The Irish Home Rule Movement articulated a longstanding Irish desire for the repeal of the Act of Union of 1800 by a demand for self-government within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Conservative Party is considered the centre-right political party in the United Kingdom.
Moderate Two Party System? The effectiveness of the party system in Parliament depends on the relationship between the Government and the Opposition parties. Even though they oppose each other, they still help each other in a way the the opposition: contributes to the creation of policy and legislation through constructive criticism, opposes government proposals they disagree with, and they put forward their own policies in order to improve their chances of winning the next general election.
These things give the party seated choices and other options to ensure that their actions contribute to the betterment of the whole country. Electoral Systems and Voting Behavior The question now is how they are elected. The UK has four types of electoral systems. The first one is the most used, the First Past the Post system. It is the one used to elect the MP’s that seat in the House of Commons. There is a single winner and that is the person with the most votes; there is no requirement that the winner gain an absolute majority of votes.
The next system is the block/bloc voting, used in local government elections in England and Wales. It is a voting system for electing several representatives from a single multimember electoral district using a series of check boxes and tallying votes similar to the First Past the Post system. Next is the single transferable vote system, used in Northern Ireland to elect the Assembly, local councils, and Members of the European Parliament, and in Scotland to elect local councils.
It is a preferential voting system designed to minimize “wasted” votes, provide proportional representation, and ensure that votes are explicitly cast for individual candidates rather than party lists. Last is the Party-list system, used in the European Parliament elections in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a voting system that emphasizes proportional representation in elections returning multiple candidates. Voters directly vote for the party. For the past few elections, it is sad to say that the trend in the UK’s voters turnout is not that pleasing to see.
Turnout has fallen from 77% in 1992, 71% in 1997 and 61% in 2001. There had been a slight increase in the 2005 elections but still, it is really low. Now the question is what explains these behaviors. Reasons like the lack of variation in the ideologies of the main parties, the decline in partisanship, the reduction in the popularity of various Party leaderships, the dissatisfaction with parties’ record on public services, education, transport etc. , the lack of interest in the election campaigns and the voter’s apathy due to voters believing their vote will have no effect on the overall outcome.
People often have a mind set that their voteis not needed anymore that is why they are contented by just letting the elections pass by. The UK really is a complicated country but studying it is really worthwhile. Bibliography: http://www. parliament. uk http://www. nriol. com http://en. wikipedia. org http://british-house-of-commons. suite101. com Bale, T. (2005) European Politics: A Comparative Introduction, chap. 5 and 6. Webb, P. (2004) ‘Party Responses to the Changing Electoral Markets in Britain’ in Mair, P. et. al. (eds. ) Political Parties and Electoral Change.
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