• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Should the 1997 general election be viewed as a 'critical election'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Should the 1997 general election be viewed as a 'critical election'? In this essay I will assess whether or not the 1997 general election can be seen as a critical election or just an election, which didn't bear much significance to the way Britain, is now. A critical election is defined as 'those exceptional contests, which produce abrupt, significant and durable realignments in the electorate with major consequences for the long term party order'1. Within the critical election there are three inter related features that are, realignments in the ideological basis of party competition; realignments in the social basis of party support and realignments in the partisan loyalties in electorate. Using many different sources I will try to come to a suitable conclusion as to whether or not the 1997 general election caused an abrupt and significant change in the electorate and the parties themselves and the way in which Britain is now run today. In the 1997 election, the Conservatives lost to the great opposition after 18 years in power. "By the time John Major finally got around to calling the 1997 election, almost everyone knew Labour was going to win, the only question was by how much" 2. That was the feeling throughout the majority of Britain and there are many reasons for this belief. Although the Conservative party won the general election in 1992, they lost electoral support due to the fact that they increased tax after they criticized the way that the Labour party were planning to raise taxes themselves. This resulted in the electorate feeling betrayed and the loss of two by - elections to the Liberal Democrats. ...read more.

Middle

This quote shows one of the main changes that occurred within the Labour party and this was the getting rid of the commitments to the shared ownership of business. Labour was no longer, a party just for Socialists; it was a party, that with a few more minor changes would eventually appeal to the whole electorate, not just a segment of it, this was 'New Labour' with new ideas. With New Labours new policies with regard to businesses, and the issues that the party were dealing with, such as trade unions etc, New Labour were going to make sure that it was appealing to the whole of the electorate not just part of it. The 1997 general election can be seen as a critical election due to the fact after the Tories lost the election, the Labour party fundamentally changed the ways in which elections are fought and the ways in which the parties act. The Labour party enhanced the way in they ran their party and this was due to their victory over the Conservative party in 1997. One of the areas in which the Labour party managed to exploit and bring into play was the use of media and the 'spin' which they were now able to use and turn a lot of things to their advantage. The Labour party used the media to highlight and therefore intensify the problems, which were occurring in the Conservative party throughout the general election. The party would make sure that all the Tories problems were being spread over all the newspapers, which was undermining the Conservative election campaign. ...read more.

Conclusion

The 2001 election results to some extent emulated the 1997 election results with Labour once again winning comfortably, and the general consensus is that the Labour party will be in power for quite a whilst as it is now the Conservative party who are lacking the focus of direction, and with party divisions still occurring, it is hard to see Labour being forced out. So in conclusion to the question "should the 1997 general election be viewed as a critical election?" I conclude that the 1997 election was indeed critical. Having studied the party fortunes, the changes that have occurred e.g., the change of moving away from Socialism, which Labour made in order to make it possible for them to win the general election and the loss of confidence by the electorate towards the conservatives, it is hard not to conclude the election as critical. The fact that the Labour party managed to realign the electorate to vote for them, moving away from socialism and getting rid of all the problems which dodged them for some many years previously such as problems with trade unions etc and, also the fact that the party changed in order to become eligible for everyone is an indication of how the 97 election fits the critical election definition to a good extent. The Labour party has only been in power for 6 years now but with the Conservative party not having a change in fortune at the current time, it is safe to say that the 1997 election can be seen as durable as Labour are probably going to stay in power for a significant amount of time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Did the Labour Party show that it could govern Britain competently in the years ...

    Also, some historians have argued that the fact that Labour did not take Britain off the "Gold Standard" immediately after the 1929 slump, showed that they were economically incompetent, and unable to govern effectively in times of national crisis. On the 31st July, the "May Report" was published.

  2. Why did Labour lose the 1951 General Election?

    This committed the UK government to keeping the value of sterling at a stable rate against the US dollar, and this meant that the government's hands were tied as they sought to address Britain's balance of payments deficit by means of international trade.

  1. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    In the final preferences however the ALP won 46.4 percent compared with 53.6 percent for non-ALP candidates. Again this process translates a close lead into a more decisive majority of seats for the leading party. This systematically discriminates against those at the bottom of the poll in order to promote effective government for the winner.

  2. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    Sciberras and due to the Italian exiles that were encouraging liberty and nationalism. The first elections took place on the 18th of August 1849, were the elective principle wasn't based on the educational status but on money status. All persons had to be over 21 years, who could write English or Italian.

  1. Nationalism as applied to business

    simultaneously in time, a group of readers like them consuming the same cultural manufactures. These manufactures gave the readers a sense of national consciousness in three ways: 1. They created unified fields of exchange below Latin and above the vernaculars 2.

  2. Compare and Contrast how the Conservative and Labour 1997 manifestos use rhetorical language to ...

    Its alliterative title is in the form of "wob" (white on black) to make it look like a newspaper headline and it is written in columns. The Labour manifesto is written in the first person narrative voice (each paragraph begins with "I...").

  1. Minority Rights, Identity Politics and Gender in Bangladesh: Current Problems and Issues

    The intricate intertwining of the environment and peoples' lives and livelihood is a noticeable feature in this region or rather it was until the influence of the mono-culture of shrimp cultivation began to disarticulate this organic link between people and environment.

  2. Compare and contrast how the Conservative and Labour 1997 manifestos use layout features and ...

    older generation who are like him and reminds them what he's done for the country already. The font that is used is Times New Roman official looking for the high brow well educated reader. The manifesto starts with a forward which is normally found in history books and is associated

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work