Understanding Us/Uk Government and Politics: A Comparative Guide

By Duncan Watts | Go to book overview

8
Political parties

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
power
.

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, although the nature, role and difficulties experienced by
third parties are also considered. In addition, we note other aspects of party
activity, including membership, finance and organisation
.


POINTS TO CONSIDER
Compare the functions of parties in Britain and the United States.
Should British parties adopt the system of primary elections for choosing its parliamentary candidates?
What are the main types of party system?
What role do third parties have in Britain and the United States?
What barriers do they face?
Why have socialist parties made headway in Britain and Europe, but not in the United States?
What are the similarities between (a.) the Conservative Party and the Republicans and (b.) the Labour Party and the Democrats?
What is meant by the 'third way'? Compare the approaches of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton as exponents of the idea.
'Parties are in decline'. Does the evidence from Britain and the United States bear this out?

-178-

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Understanding Us/Uk Government and Politics: A Comparative Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • The Politics Association viii
  • Political Leaders of the Post-1945 Era ix
  • 1: The Context of Political Life in Britain and the United States 1
  • 2: Constitutions 26
  • 3: Protecting Liberties, Advancing Rights 46
  • 4: Executives 66
  • 5: Legislatures 106
  • 6: Judiciaries 139
  • 7: Governance Beyond the Centre 155
  • 8: Political Parties 178
  • 9: Pressure Groups 219
  • 10: The Mass Media 243
  • 11: Voting and Elections 269
  • 12: Democracy in Theory and Practice 305
  • Index 329
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