Discuss the view that the UK has a two party system (30) It has been argued strongly for quite some time that the UK has a two party system; this is predominantly illustrated through the successes of the Conservatives and Labour parties. However the 2010 election proved otherwise and suggests there is now a reason to class the UK as having a multi-party system- the success of the Liberal Democrats. Firstly there is some strong evidence that shows that the UK must have a two party system because the third most important party in politics, the Liberal Democrats, are unable to win on their own. Ever since they were founded in 1988 they have never managed to seize power by themselves. They are dependent on a coalition government because so far they have never had a majority in Parliament.
It can be argued that FPTP has created a clear two party system. This can be illustrated because post-war only Labour and Conservatives have been in power. Labour or Conservatives have been the government every election because they have a lot of support throughout the UK, and therefore come first in many constituencies. To form a government, a party must have the majority of seats throughout the UK, which Labour or Conservatives always do. In 2005, the Liberal Democrats had 22% of the overall vote in the UK, sharing, but because of the FPTP system they only won 62 seats out of the 646 constituencies in the UK, this shows this system as clearly an unfair.
Although this happens infrequently there have been cases where Commons has voted against government. Good examples of this are with the Gurkhas row in 2008 and more prominently Blair’s plans to extend the The powers of the whip and party loyalty are diminishing during this coalition. Reports suggest that the voting behaviour of coalition MPs show that rebellion is at a postwar high. Similarly the last Labour government towards the end had major difficulties from backbenchers, with 112 Labour backbenchers going against the government at least once. Backbench rebellions have been more frequent than any since the second world war and for some MPs rebellion against the coalition is becoming a habit.
UNIT E1E3: THE COLLAPSE OF THE LIBERAL STATE AND THE TRIUMPH OF FASCISM IN ITALY, 1896-1943. A: Weaknesses of the political system and attempts to stabilise it from 1903 under Giolitti; social discontent and political disorder, 1896-1912. Why was Italy politically unstable in the late nineteenth century? ▪ Political life was monopolised by a small social élite elected by a small percentage of the population. Before 1912, only 2 million men had the right to vote.
Also it is criticised for the fact the in recent times no government has obtained 50% of the votes cast. Both of these statements are backed up by the result of the 2005 general election where Labour won 35.6% of the votes but 56.1% of the seats. In that same election the Liberal Democrats won 22% of the votes but only 9% of the seats. On top of these criticisms votes for small parties are often wasted. As shown in 2010 where in the general election the Green and other small parties combined achieved 7.9% of the votes but the Green party was the only one of these parties to gain a seat and they only won one seat.
This can be seen when looking at the two most powerful Prime Ministers in the post war era; Thatcher and Blair were in differing ways removed from their parties. Both Prime Ministers won three general elections and aspired to stay in office longer than they were able to. Thatcher faced a leadership challenge from within her party and while Heseltine got less votes than her, her cabinet made it clear to her that she had lost authority and that she should resign. She went on to describe this as ‘treachery with a smile upon its face’. Slightly less dramatically, Tony Blair faced a large rebellion in September 2006 led by ministers such as Tom Watson that forced him to promise to step down after a year had passed.
During the period of 1830-1930, vast changes were made to our political system that brought about a working class party and eventually positioned them into power. However, it is hard to quantify the significance of the duration of time taken for these developments to occur; can this be considered as an extensive or even short phase of time? In 1830 the electoral system was tremendously obsolete and corrupt with only 5% of the population being able to vote. Parliament was dominated by the House of Lords making it hard for changes to occur in a short period of time. There were also very few organisations that represented the working class, and any early trade unions that were affiliated with workers did not often concern themselves in politics.
Do you agree with the view that Thatcherism was a radical break with the past which ended post-war consensus in Britain? Post war consensus was policies laid down by Attlee's government(1945-51) that were followed by successive successive Labour and Conservative governments for the next 35 years, until Thatcher began to challenge it. The Conservative and Labour government's policies were based on Keynesianism, the Beveridge Report, the principle of independence of former British colonies and the notion of creating equal opportunity for all. However Thatcher, a conviction politician, began to challenge this consensus after the Conservative election win in 1979 and her time in office became known as the 'Thatcher revolution', the second revolution since Attlee's government. Thatcherism did not end the 35 year long post war consensus in Britain, especially in foreign affairs.
It is not only in America that the young do not exercise their democratic rights. In 2010 just 44% of people aged 18 to 24 voted in Britain’s general election, compared with 65% of people of all ages. In not a single European country do the young turn out more than older people. Historically, youth turnout has never been particularly high anywhere, but over the past few decades things have got worse. One explanation favoured by older people is that the young are simply lazy.
In the last forty-five years voter turnout has fallen and continues to lower. The United States is second to last in voter participation among established democracies, only ahead of Switzerland. Though some argue that the last Presidential election did call for an increase in voter numbers, due to the elections held in 2006, the 2004 Presidential election only serves as a positive uptick in the continuous