a greater extent than hitherto, it would be an exaggeration to represent them as being supplanted by an alternative set of communicators. The parties have worked hard to adapt to the reality of communicating principally through the medium of television, so that while TV may be formally independent of the parties, the latter are increasingly adept at its use. Similarly, the rise of single-issue groups not only challenges political parties as interest articulators, but it also offers parties new opportunities for political mobilization. For instance, Labour not only maintains its formal links with the trade unions, but it has forged less formal links with a host of groups concerned with the environment, nuclear energy and armaments, housing, social welfare, women's, and ethnic issues. This suggests that party penetration of society may be broader but shallower. Moreover, it is typical of parties to respond to electoral defeat or membership decline with a bout of intense organizational reform designed, among other things, to offer new participatory incentives to individual members. In short, even though political parties in the UK may have to contend with a variety of challenges, they are skilled at adapting and surviving; more than this, they remain of central importance to the structures and processes of democracy in the country. This record of survival and resilience, however, is almost certainly contingent upon the continuing willingness of party elites to recognize the remaining scope for reform, adaptation, and innovation.
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