17.2l Party Systems and Parties Flashcards Preview

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UK party system 1

In UK Parliament there has been evidence of a two-and-a-half party system, and a multi-party system.There is more evidence of the influence of multiple parties in the UK than in the US.

There are 8 different parties with MPs in Parliament following the 2017 general election.

After the 2015 general election, the SNP won the most seats in Scotland with 56 MPs.

Following the 2010 election, the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservatives.


UK party system 2

The UK has traditionally been a two party system and remains a two party system in terms of control of the executive, but the UK party system constantly changes.

The Conservatives and Labour alternate in forming a government and remain the two most supported parties in general elections.

In the 2017 election Labour and the Conservatives shared 82 % of the vote.


US party system

The United States has a two-party system which is dominated by the Republicans and Democrats who alternate in power.

Third parties gain a small proportion of votes in elections.
Democrats and Republicans normally win over 85% of the vote in presidential elections and all presidents have been from the two parties since 1853.

All members of the House and 98 of the 100 Senate members are Democrats or Republicans.


US internal party unity: Democrats

In the US both the Democrats and Republicans have factions within their parties.

Within the Democrats, there are: -Liberal Democrats who are progressive on social issues and believe in government spending to provide welfare.

Moderate Democrats who are less liberal.

Conservative Democrats who are conservative on some social issues.


US internal party unity: Republicans

Within the Republicans, there are:

Moderate Republicans who are conservative in their economic views but moderate on social issues such as same-sex marriage.

The Tea Party movement of fiscal conservatives who believe in lowering taxes and government spending.

Social conservatives who are conservative on social and moral issues.


UK internal party unity: Conservatives

The Conservatives have traditional one-nation Conservatives who believe in looking to maintain the status quo whilst pragmatically dealing with issues, helping the poorest in society and support a mixed economy.

There are Thatcherites who believe in more radical change, focus on the needs of the individual and support a free-market economy.

Bright Blue is a Conservative party think tank which represents a more liberal faction of the party that focuses on the environment, human rights and discrimination.


UK internal party unity: Labour

New Labour is a faction of the Labour party which was prominent under PM Tony Blair from 1997 which believes in reducing trade union power, accepting privatisation programmes and accepting devolution and EU membership.

Other factions within Labour include Momentum who support current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the left of the party and Compass Group who are a centre-left alternative to New Labour.


Impact of party factions: US

In the US there have been significant party factions.

In the 2016 primary the Democrats were divided between the moderate Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton and the liberal Democrats supporting Bernie Sanders.


Impact of party factions: UK 1

In the UK, the Conservatives are very divided over the issue of Europe.

Before the 2016 EU referendum, the Conservatives were split over those wanting to remain in the EU and those wanting to leave the EU.

After the EU referendum, the Conservatives are divided over what type of Brexit they want. Some want a ‘hard’ Brexit (complete separation from the EU) and others want a ‘soft’ Brexit (the UK remains in the single market and customs union).


Impact of party factions: UK 2

The Labour party have been split between New Labour and Momentum, who support Jeremy Corbyn and the traditional beliefs of the Labour Party.


Policy similarities of right-wing parties

There are key policy agreements between the US Republicans and UK Conservatives.

The Conservatives and Republicans favour lower taxes and are opposed to ‘big government’ (the belief that government should limit its intervention in the economy and society).

Both the Conservatives and Republicans believe in higher defence spending and strong law and order policies.

The Conservatives and Republicans believe in equality of opportunity rather than equal results.


Policy differences of right-wing parties

The Conservatives and Republicans often have key differences in policy.

The Conservatives mainly support free national healthcare and abortion, whilst the Republicans usually oppose both.

The Republicans are mainly opposed to renewable energy whilst the Conservatives often support it.


Policy similarities of left-wing parties

The US Democrats and UK Labour Party agree in several policy areas.

Both parties favour higher taxes and more government spending to fund public services such as health, education and welfare.

Both parties believe in protecting and promoting the rights of minorities and workers.

Both parties believe in policies which protect the environment.


Policy differences of left-wing parties

The Democrats and Labour have policy differences, with the Democrats further to the right on policy than the Labour party.

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn is further to the left than the Democrats on policies such as university tuition fees.