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How has the party system changed between 1970 and 2001? (Use the data provided to illustrate your answer)

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Introduction

How has the party system changed between 1970 and 2001? (Use the data provided to illustrate your answer) A party system is whereby a number of political parties exist in a particular country and these systems can be divided into four categories: the single-party system, the dominant party system, the two-party system and lastly the multi-party system. These systems are always evolving within a country and hence are not static. This therefore gives rise to changes in party systems and between 1970 and 2001 I believe that there has been diminutive change in the party system in Britain for the following reasons. Initially during the era of 1970 - 1979 as indicated by the data, there is adequate evidence to suggest that Britain pursued in the manner of a two-party system. This can be illustrated from the data as for a two- party system to exist; there must be a supremacy from two distinct parties in respect to the percentage votes cast and number of seats gained during an election compared to other parties. This means that all these other parties in relation to the two dominant parties, must have a trivial impact and significance to the percentage of votes cast and the number of seats gained, so that not to interfere or upset the two-party system balance. ...read more.

Middle

However there are some flaws, which do not entirely coincide with this conception, and both arguments are discussed in the following. During the period of 1983 - 1987 there is evidently an immense decline in seats for Labour compared to the Conservatives, which could in turn be superficially seen as an era of a dominance - party system. Confirmation to verify that this may be the case at a superficial level is that from the data the following can be denoted. From the data: " In 1983 the Conservatives gained 42.4% of the votes which was an enormous 14.8% higher than Labour who only gained 27.6% of the votes. In terms of seats there is again a great vital difference as the Conservatives gained 397 of the seats whilst Labour gained 188 seats less than the Conservatives at 209." These statistics give the misconception that the Conservatives are a dominant party as they had won both elections during this time period and also previous to that they had also won the 1979 election. Hence they fit the criteria for being crowned as the dominant party as they had won three consecutive elections and were winning a majority of seats and votes. ...read more.

Conclusion

that it has not reached dominance as they have not yet gained over 50% of the vote and have not yet gained support from all regions in the UK such as the South East. However compared to the Conservatives in the 1980s Labour is now more national than Thatcherism was. The Liberal Democrats are gradually becoming more significant and important in terms of seats as in 1992 they gained 17.8% of the votes and 20 seats but by 1997 with less votes at 17% they gained more seats of 46. Some may say that the significance of the Lib Dems makes a case for a two and a half - party system. To conclude from 1979 - 2001 generally Britain had pursued a two-party system. However there are certain periods during this time frame where lapses and variations occur and it could be argued that these lapses often concurred with a dominant-party system, whilst others believe that this could not have been the case due to insufficient criteria being fulfilled. Lastly periods in British politics are never long-term so it is hard to predict whether Britain will continue to follow a two-party system or whether it will convert to another system. ...read more.

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