(4) What is the function of a political party?


A level People and Politics (Political Parties) Mind Map on (4) What is the function of a political party?, created by Marcus Danvers on 02/12/2014.
Marcus  Danvers
Mind Map by Marcus Danvers, updated more than 1 year ago
Marcus  Danvers
Created by Marcus Danvers about 9 years ago

Resource summary

(4) What is the function of a political party?
  1. Representation
    1. Primary funation of a political party
      1. Parties link government to the people by responding to and articulating public opinion
        1. The major UK parties are therefore "catch-all parties"
          1. A party that develops polices that will appeal to the widest range of voters, by contrast with a programmatic party
          2. Parties translate public opinion into government policy
            1. The effectiveness of parties in ensuring representation has also been questioned
              1. The electorate is not always well-informed and rational in choosing between parties. Factors such as a party's image and the personality of leaders maybe important as its policies
                1. The "first-past-the-post" election system, means that parties may only need the suport of 35-40% of the electoate to win a GE
              2. Policy formulation
                1. Political parties are one of the key means through which societies set collective goals and formulate public policy
                  1. In the process of seeking power, parties develop programmes of government
                    1. Party forums
                      1. Annual conferences
                        1. Election manifestos
                        2. Not only does this mean that parties often initiate policy, but they also formulate coherent sets of policy options that give the electorate a choice of realistic and achievable goals
                          1. The effectiveness of parties in formulating polices has also been questioned
                            1. As the major parties distance themselves from their tradtional ideologies, they have becoem less interested in formulating larger goals for society, and generally less interested in ideas
                              1. Parties have become more eager to follow public opinion than trying to shape it by adopting clear ideological stances
                            2. Recuitment of leaders
                              1. All senior political careers start with the decision to join a political party
                                1. As a party member, a budding politician can gain experience of canvassing, debating issues and helping to run a constituency party
                                  1. Parties recuit and train the politcal leaders of the future
                                    1. The effectiveness of parties in recruiting and training the leaders has also been questioned
                                      1. As government are appointed from the ranks of the majority party in the Commons, they rely on a relatively small pool of talent
                                        1. Electioneering and other party activites may be poor training for running a large government department
                                      2. Organization of government
                                        1. The operation of government relies on parties in many ways:
                                          1. Parties help to form governments, meaning that the UK effectively has a system of "party government"
                                            1. Parties give government a degree of stability and coherence, especially as the members of the government are usally drawn from a single pparty and are therefore united by common sypathies and attachments
                                              1. Facilitate cooperation between the two major branches of government and Parliament and the executive
                                                1. Provide a source of opposition and criticism, helping to scrutinize government policy and provide a "governmnent in waiting"
                                                2. The effectiveness of parties in organizing government has also been questioned
                                                  1. The decline in party unity since the 1970s has tended to weaken the majority party's control of the Commons
                                                3. Participation and mobilization
                                                  1. Political parties foster participation in two ways:
                                                    1. Provide opportunities for citizens to join political parties and therefore help to shape policy and government policy
                                                      1. Help to educate and mobilize the electorate through a range of activities - canvassing, public meeting, advertising and poster campaigns, party broadcasts..
                                                      2. Parties are at the heart of electoral machines, operating though the building up of loyalty and identification amongst the electorate
                                                        1. The effectivness of parties in ensuring participation and mobilization had also been questioned
                                                          1. Voters loyalty towards, and identification with, parties has declined. Whereas 44% of voters claimed to have a "very strong" attachment to a party in 1964, this had fallen to a mere 10% by 2005 though the process of partisan dealignment
                                                            1. Turnout in GE has fallen sharply since 1997, with only 59% voting in 2001, the lowest turnout since 1918
                                                              1. The membership of parties in the UK has fallen- from over 3 million in the 1960s to around 800,000 in the early 2000s
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