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

    Lord Blake noted this in his report on the traditions of Conservatism where ' the opposition to centralisation' was a key tenet, unfortunately deviated from during the 1957-63 and 1972-4 periods. The impact of Thatcher's personal beliefs in this area is particularly pronounced in her measures against traditional conservative institutions.

  1. What is the role of political parties in a democratic political community?

    the consolidation of democracy".1 In the United Kingdom, the political party that wins the most votes in a given election wins control of the House of Commons, with the leader of that party becoming Prime Minister. However political parties not only provide political leaders but symbolic ones.

  2. The main features of Britain's democracy.

    By this it is not difficult to change laws and this actually is done by a simple legislative process. This is important to mention since this type of constitution is found only in the UK and Israel, but also because sovereignty and unlimited legal authority is found in Parliament.

  1. Compare and contrast the elitist and pluralist accounts of political power

    GIP Introduction to Comparative Politics. This would seam to support the idea that in fact elites are coherent in operation. In this way elites would argue that equity of access does not exist as pluralists may believe. Barrie Axford et all, Politics an Introduction, 490.

  2. The personal life of a political leader should be a concern for voters

    The high morals and values of a politician represent the bulk of society, because majority of citizens share the same virtues. It would be very unlikely for the majority of citizens to vote for a past criminal to be prime minister.

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