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.
At a time when British politics has been increasingly fractured, with intra-party tensions cutting across both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, small political groupings and independent MPs in the Commons have taken on a more significant position than ever before. This book explores the rise and fall of Change UK within the wider context of the experiences of other small political groupings in the House of Commons. It examines the struggles facing MPs who leave behind the comforts of the large political parties and the strategies they use to draw attention to their cause.
The role of political parties
Political parties are such familiar features of political life that we sometimes fail to appreciate the valuable roles they play in participative democracy. This is especially the case in a modern culture which tends to attribute only malign motives to politicians. In reality, parties are vital to our way of life, for reasons which include the following.
Harmonising differing viewpoints
Given that most sections of society seek to advance the interests of their group, there is a vast array of related viewpoints reflecting
Parties of the extreme right are to some extent ‘masters of their own success’.
That is, regardless of the political environment in which they operate and
regardless of the institutional contexts within which they ﬁnd themselves,
their electoral success will depend, in part, on the ideology they espouse and
the policies they put forward, and on the way in which they are organized
and led. This chapter focuses on the ﬁrst of these party-centric factors, and
examines the extent to which the ideologies of the extreme right parties inﬂuence their
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
In its bid to account for the varying levels of electoral success of the parties
of the extreme right across Western Europe, this book has so far examined the
inﬂuence of party-centric factors. It has considered the impact of different
types of extreme right party ideology on the right-wing extremist party vote
and has also investigated the effects of party organization and leadership. In
this chapter, the book turns to exploring the inﬂuence of contextual factors on
the success of the right-wing extremist parties, and introduces another
Political parties are organisations of broadly like-minded men and women which
seek to win power in elections in order that they can then assume responsibility
for controlling the apparatus of government. Unlike interest groups, which seek
merely to influence the government, serious parties aims to secure the levers of
In this chapter, we examine their relevance in Britain and America. The emphasis
is on the competition between the two main parties in either country for the
control of public offices