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

What role do political parties play in a representative democracy, and how effectively are these roles fulfilled?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What role do political parties play in a representative democracy, and how effectively are these roles fulfilled? A political party is a group of like-minded people who agree to abide by a set of rules and set out to win political power in order to achieve their common goals; in the UK this is done by standing candidates in elections. Political parties evolved into what is their recognisable state of today from the old Whigs and Tories. After the Great Reform Act in 1867 parties officially were separate entities in Parliament and gave birth to the system we have today. Nowadays political parties are of course well structured both regionally and nationally. In representative democracy, political parties play a vital role- without them there would be severe problems. As far as the parties themselves are concerned their role is more ambitious than a pressure group which merely aims to influence the government. ...read more.

Middle

The second function is one which benefits both the common voter and the candidates standing in constituencies. If a candidate is standing for election as an independent MP he/she will have to be privately funded and will have to broadcast his views and policies to the constituency all on his/her own. However under the wing of a political party the candidate will have their campaigning funded for by the party, making it easier. However, if this candidate wins the seat, they may often find their loyalties split between party and constituency. An MP may face a difficult decision if on behalf of the constituency they have to oppose the government which has greatly helped in their election success. The degree to which an MP will totally represent a constituency is down to the individual. Some will be selfish and get a reputation for always following the party (eg: Tony's cronies), others may be the opposite (eg: Dennis Skinner). ...read more.

Conclusion

Parties are also essential in allowing debate between conflicting views on key issues. For example in the 1980s the ruling conservatives had a main economic goal of low inflation but this was faced by the concern of opposition parties for the resulting high levels of unemployment. The final role of parties is to represent the majority (or largest minority) of the public by making sure that matters of public concern reach the political arena. In cases parties will try to represent specific groups for example the Labour party is often referred to as the party that represents trade unions. However these points can be seen as a negative as parties can spend too much time focusing on slamming opposition policy that in the public view, they lose track of their own. In the 2001 election campaign Labour used a picture of William Hague with the hair of Margaret Thatcher, not only is this campaign simply negative in the direction of the opposition, it is actually a personal mocking of the opposition leader. ...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. In What Ways Do Political Parties Promote Democracy?

    For example: ideas, opinions, views, conflicts, principles and values can be brought to the party, and can be discussed. This would include scrutinisation in particular issues, and also cause for debate.

  2. Too much democracy is a recipe for anarchy. Discuss.

    Mill held a pessimistic view of human nature. He assumes that people are rather nasty and need representative body to restrain their tendency to abuse power. Governments are thought to have the competence in legislation. 'They can assess the wisdom of a decision only in retrospect democracy is a representative democracy'.

  1. How important are political parties to the decision-making process involved in Congress and what ...

    He also believes that the party's strength is conditional. Where Cox and McCubbins argue that the majority party is always in control (of the agenda, procedures, etc), Rohde extends this argument by stating that a party is only as strong as it proportionate membership in Congress and on its homogeneity of ideologies within its own party.

  2. What are the roles of political parties and how effectively do they carry this ...

    For instance if Labour do fulfil their promise to reform public services then the electorate may choose to vote against them at the next general election. This need for winning policies limits parties' ability to perform this role effectively. In ideological terms they lack adventure, unwilling to present too radical policies which might jeopardise their chances of election.

  1. What, other than the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher was there to Thatcherism?

    The increase in the moral content of Conservative policy can thus be seen as largely a consequence of Margaret Thatcher's personal beliefs. The second characteristic that can also be associated with the personality of Margaret Thatcher is the strong and confrontational style of leadership Thatcherism embodies.

  2. Citizenship - participating in society

    The Videos that we used were from the NHS and Frank. The videos main purpose was that young children did not smoke. It showed all the affects and a real life scenario was shown so the pupils were all aware of what smoking can do to you.

  1. In the UK, we do not have a representative democracy because the government dominates ...

    The majority of the time candidates offer electorates tax breaks and other incentives. They usually do not have the electorate's interests at heart and just want to get into power. "Most of the presidential candidates' economic packages involve 'tax breaks,' which is when the government, amid great fanfare, generously decides not to take quite so much of your income.

  2. Notes on Citizenship and Democracy.

    inform citizens what is happening at present and also they can use it themselves to share their opinions. 1. After the fall of communism in the 1980s, the concepts of democracy and freedom of opinion and conscience have spread along the world.

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