Transnational party federations (TNPs) have been critical prisms through which to
analyse the EU’s tensions between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism.
This study focuses on the radical left TNP, the European Left Party (EL),
founded in 2004. It centres on four general questions: first; the conditions
under which TNPs might be successful; second, how the EL compares with other
TNPs, particularly those of the broad centre-left, the Party of European
Socialists (PES) and the European Green Party (EGP); third, to what extent the
EL has fostered a consensus over positions towards the EU previously
conspicuously lacking among the radical left; and fourth, the degree to which
the EL has enabled an increase in the electoral or policy influence of the
radical left in Europe. The study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of
TNPs as networks of Europeanisation; they have important roles in the EU
political system but remain timid actors with only selectively developed
transnationalism. It shows how the EL is a paradoxical actor; on the one hand it
has brought radical left transnational co-operation to historical highs; on the
other it is both less influential than the PES and less transnational and
consolidated than the EGP. Such paradoxes result from persistent internal
divisions between Europeanists and sovereigntists, as well as suboptimal
internal structures. The influence of the EL is also paradoxical. It has emerged
as a centre of attraction for the European radical left promoting the Left
Europeanist position, but is a long way from being hegemonic or unchallenged on
This book is the first detailed examination of the Conservative Party beyond the centre after devolution. The Scottish and Welsh Conservative Parties both started out in 1999 with no MPs and a difficult inheritance. They had also both stridently campaigned against devolution. However, since then, the smaller and less autonomous Welsh Conservative Party appears to have staged a recovery, whilst its Scottish counterpart has continued to struggle. This book traces the processes of party change in both parties and explains why the Welsh Conservatives unexpectedly embraced devolution while the Scottish Conservatives took much longer to accept that Westminster was no longer the priority. In considering the drivers of party change at the sub-state level, this book finds that electoral defeat and organisational autonomy mattered less here than we might expect. Although the Welsh Conservatives had less power and money, they also entered the Welsh Assembly with less baggage than the Scottish Conservatives. Renewing unionism was more difficult in Scotland because the Scottish Conservatives could see no route to holding power.
This book is a seminal study of political leadership selection using two of the main parties in British politics as case studies. They have been selected for their dominance of British politics over the course of recent political history. Indeed, the Conservative Party has held office for much of the twentieth century because it was able to project an image of leadership competence and governing credibility. In contrast, the Labour Party’s record in government is shorter because of issues of economic management, leadership credibility and ideological splits due to various interpretations of socialism. Despite these differing track records, both parties have dominated the British political landscape, with occasional interventions from the Liberal Democrats. As an academically informed study, this book explores the criteria by which political leaders are selected by their parties. To do this the book explores the ongoing relevance of Stark’s criteria of effective leadership by adapting it to identify more skills needed to explain how and why some leaders are able to dominate the political scene. The Conservatives tend to choose unifying figures who can lead them to victory, while the Labour Party opts for leaders more likely to unite the party behind ideological renewal. The book also explores the political choices of contemporary leaders, including Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Johnson was selected in response to the perceived leadership failures of his predecessor, while Corbyn’s selection represents an ideological shift to the hard left as a response to New Labour and the professionalisation of the centre-left.
This book offers unprecedented insight into public views of parties in the UK. Using a mixed-method approach, it explores perceptions of party representation, participation, governance and conduct. Asking what citizens want from parties the book presents new data that shows many people have unrealized desires for parties, and that there are important nuances in how parties are viewed. Introducing the idea of the re-imagined party, the book argues that far from rejecting the idea of party democracy, many people want to see established principles updated to reflect modern ideas. Specifically, people want to see parties that are more open and inclusive, responsive and responsive, and that offer principled leadership. This book offers a vital resource for students and practitioners of party politics. Distilling citizens’ views and considering options for possible response, it outlines the kind of change that many people would like to see and discusses barriers to re-imagining parties in line with citizens’ ideals.
The last three chapters have shown that citizens have multifaceted desires for representation, participation and governance. When asking ‘what do people want from political parties?’, an analysis of democratic linkage shows that people have many desires that are often not realised. Before turning to consider the implications of these ideas, in this chapter I engage with a second possible influence on citizens’ views of parties, exploring the idea of political conduct.
Speaking to a number of findings discussed so far, this chapter explores the
Does European integration contribute to, or even accelerate, the erosion of intra-party democracy? This book is about improving our understanding of political parties as democratic organisations in the context of multi-level governance. It analyses the impact of European Union (EU) membership on power dynamics, focusing on the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party (PS), and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The purpose of this book is to investigate who within the three parties determines EU policies and selects EU specialists, such as the candidates for European parliamentary elections and EU spokespersons. The book utilises a principal-agent framework to investigate the delegation of power inside the three parties across multiple levels and faces. It draws on over 65 original interviews with EU experts from the three national parties and the Party of European Socialists (PES) and an e-mail questionnaire. This book reveals that European policy has largely remained in the hands of the party leadership. Its findings suggest that the party grassroots are interested in EU affairs, but that interest rarely translates into influence, as information asymmetry between the grassroots and the party leadership makes it very difficult for local activists to scrutinise elected politicians and to come up with their own policy proposals. As regards the selection of EU specialists, such as candidates for the European parliamentary elections, this book highlights that the parties’ processes are highly political, often informal, and in some cases, undemocratic.
The French Communist Party:
from revolution to reform
David S. Bell
The PCF: from revolution to reform
Under the Fourth and Fifth Republics the Parti Communiste Français
(PCF) was one of the most important forces in the shaping of the party
system. This status only began to diminish in the 1980s with the victory
of François Mitterrand in the presidential and legislative elections of
1981. Although the Communist Party is a shadow of its former self, the
shape of the party system and its behaviour over the post-war period is
The relationship between citizens and parties is central to the health of party democracy. Parties need to gain public consent in order to have the authority to govern, and they need to be seen as legitimate in the eyes of those they represent. These dynamics mean that parties are often conscious of how they are perceived and are eager to respond to public views.
In this chapter I review existing data on public attitudes towards parties to make the case for a more detailed analysis of how parties are viewed and what the public desire. Noting an
In understanding public desires for political parties, scholars have not only focused attention on the connections between citizens and parties, they have also examined the link between parties and the state. In democratic theory, parties are unique organisations because they have the capacity to balance representative and governing roles (Bartolini and Mair, 2001 , p. 339; Caramani, 2017 , p. 60; Mair, 2009 , p. 5), allowing people’s voices to be translated into governing actions. Studies of vote choice suggest that citizens possess views about the
This book is an attempt to take stock of how some of the British Labour Party's leading interpreters have analysed their subject, deriving as they do from contrasting political, theoretical, disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. It explores their often-hidden assumptions and subjects them to critical evaluation. The book outlines five strategies such as materialist; ideational; electoral; institutional; and synthetic strategies. Materialist, ideational and electoral explanatory strategies account for Labour's ideological trajectory in factors exogenous to the party. The 'new political history' is useful in understanding Labour within a less reductive framework than either the 'high' or 'from below' approaches and in more novel terms than the Left-Right positions adopted within Labour. The book assesses the contribution made to analysis of the Labour Party and labour history by thinkers of the British New Left. New Left critiques of labourism in fact represented and continued a strand of Marxist thinking on the party that can be traced back to its inception. If Ralph Miliband's role in relation to 'Bennism' is considered in comparison to his earlier attitudes, some striking points emerge about the interaction between the analytical and subjective aspects in his interpretive framework. Miliband tried to suggest that the downfall of communism was advantageous for the Left, given the extent to which the Soviet regimes had long embarrassed Western socialists such as himself. The Nairn-Anderson theses represented an ambitious attempt to pioneer a distinctive analysis of British capitalist development, its state, society and class structure.