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

"The UK is a two party system" - does this comment still apply today?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The UK is a two party system" - does this comment still apply today? It has often been said that the United Kingdom possesses a two party political system. However, any balanced argument on this issue must take into account both the differing perspectives from which this subject can be viewed and the time period which is being evaluated. The two party theory is not universally accepted and many people argue that the UK can best be described as a multi party, dominant party or even a two and a half or three party system, depending on how the subject is approached. The most commonly held view is that Britain is a two party system. This is confirmed by the period 1945-79, when power tended to alternate frequently between the Labour and Conservative parties. However, during this period, Labour won power twice with a majority of less than twenty seats, resulting in a near hung parliament. This tends to weaken the idea that the electoral pendulum has swung evenly for both parties. ...read more.

Middle

This is a powerful counter argument to the idea that the two leading parties have had an equal share of the swings of the electoral pendulum. On the other hand, it can be shown that Conservative dominance was not entirely down to their own superiority but due to a number of factors particularly the workings of the simple majority voting system employed in the UK, which frequently translates a minority of votes into a majority of seats. In fact, since 1918, the Conservatives have only won over 50% of the vote on two occasions, which is somewhat low for a party which is supposed to have dominated politics in this country. Given that the cases for the UK having a two or dominant party system have fallen down on the fact that other parties have had too great an influence, it could then be argued that two and a half or three party system must exist. This rests on the idea that the Liberal Democrats are or have been an influential political power. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore at local and even devolved level, the UK can be classed as possessing the qualities of a multi party system. However at national level, this idea seems implausible as the vast majority of seats are shared by only two or perhaps three parties and therefore the smaller parties can be considered to have very little effect on the overall political situation. In conclusion, the UK can still best be described as a two party system, provided two considerations are taken into account. The first is that Conservative dominance victories between 1979-97 was not a suggestion of party dominance and that eventually, the swing of the political pendulum will be even for both sides. This can perhaps be seen today with Labour's two landslide victories in 1997 and 2001. The second consideration is that whilst voters are offered a great deal of choice at constituency level, the vast majority of these parties are far too small to have any great impact on the political system and can therefore be considered irrelevant on a national scale and have only regional significance. ...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. To what extent does Britain have a two party system?

    In 1988 the merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP was clearly not working since they continued to fight elections under their old party names. When the Green Party beat the Liberal Democrats in the European elections of 1989, it was clear that third party politics was in serious decline.

  2. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    This system can be envisaged as a pulley-and-weights mechanism: a modest pull on the electoral rope produces a disproportionate displacement of weight. For proponents the twin virtues mean power is shackled with accountability. Governments are given enough freedom to carry out unpopular policies, if necessary, during their full term in

  1. Is Britain a two-party or a multi party system, or something else?

    Stephen Ingle in "Britain's Third Party" concurs, stating that "...the Liberals were benefiting from a new kind of voter who did not feel the need to justify his/her voting allegiance by reference to class".11 However, despite this shift to a three, or 'multiparty' system, there is evidence to suggest that this is not the case.

  2. What is Politics UK politics revision notes

    * Defence of National sovereignty * Cut public spending and taxation * The rediscovery of true Conservatism o Sale of Council Houses o Privatisation of Nationalised industries o Economic competition (No monopolies)

  1. The McKenzie Thesis (explain). Is Britain still a two party system – was ...

    (Though content should be taken into account it highlights the inaccuracies today). At the time McKenzie was writing (1955) it seemed that McKenzie had correctly categorised the period - 1945 to 1979 - a period of 34 years both Labour and Conservatives held office for exactly the same amount of time.

  2. The American Two Party System

    the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States, as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection ("The Federalist No. 9"); or in the passage borrowed from the works of Montesquieu: "It is very probable that mankind would have been obliged at length to live constantly under the

  1. Who Holds Power in the United Kingdom Today?

    'Egalatarian' ideas (i.e. socialism and democracy) are merely illusions, far from the truth of reality. Rather, elite theorists put forward the idea that elitism is the by-product of political apathy amongst the majority of the population. This lack of interest in politics is, and always has been an inherent characteristic within the structure of society.

  2. Politics and Power notes on the UK system

    The aim of political parties in the UK is that we are free to form, join and become active in any political party of our choice. Political parties have polices on a range of issues, such as education, welfare, the economy, crime and defence.

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