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Pressure groups and political parties
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| Words: 1801 | Submitted: 25-Mar-2011
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DescriptionThe essay tries to evaluate the functions of political parties and pressure groups in the UK and their short-comings
This essay will consider the importance of political parties and pressure groups and the limit to their activities in society. The effective performance of these functions by political parties depends upon the constitutional framework, the electoral system and the technologies of communication available to them within a given state. I am going to use the UK as a case study.
A political party can be defined as “an organisation that sponsors candidates for political office under the organisations name”. Edmund Burke defined political party “as a body of men united by promoting their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed”.
However, political parties are needed in our society because of the following reasons
Firstly, political parties formulate policies and help refine those formulated by the Government. However, a party as a whole does not generally formulates policy, rather the leadership tend to mark out the strategy with some consultation with its membership and the public. The formulation and implementation of these policies is dependent on factors outside the party such as foreign policy, the economy, social welfare etc. In the UK for instance, the original ideas for policy seem to emerge from party conferences as evident in the speech of the newly elected Labour Party Leader, Edward Miliband in the recently concluded Labour party conference.
Another importance of political parties is that they provide recruitment opportunities for young Politicians. The Recruitment Function is the name given to the way that parties recruit almost all Parliamentary candidates. They also recruit members for other public offices. Almost all parliamentary and presidential candidates are recruited by political Parties. They also aim to recruit the brightest young politicians in order to promote their image and provide more choice for the future. This function is important because young and potential politicians may lack the finance and infrastructure to contest in the polls, thus their dependence on political parties for financial and infrastructural support.
Political parties also represent different sections of society. In the UK, within the Labour and Liberal Democrats parties, members influence and to a large extent determine policies which tend to appeal to a wider range of people. The importance of this is that political parties have to be in touch with public opinion and get the balance right in respect of the policies they put forward. In other ...
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