*Political Parties, Party and Electoral Systems*, and Voting Behavior in the UK *Political Parties and the *UK’s Party System
The Labour Party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century, and continues to describe itself as a party of democratic socialism. Labour was the first political party in Great Britain to stand for the representation of the low-paid working class and it is the working class who are known as the Labour Party grassroots and traditional members and voters. The party traditionally favors socialist policies such as public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and a belief in the welfare state and publicly funded healthcare and education. socialist policies such as public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and a belief in the welfare state and publicly funded healthcare and education. But since the 1980’s, under the leadership of Neil Kinnock, John Smith and Tony Blair the party has moved away from its traditional socialist position towards what is often described as the "Third Way" (centrism) adopting some Thatcherite and free market policies after losing in four consecutive general elections. The Conservative Party on the other hand, descended from the Tory Party, founded in 1678, and is still often referred to as the Tory Party and its politicians, members and supporters as Tories. It was also known as the Unionist Party in the early 20th century, following the Conservatives' alliance with that part of the Liberal Party, known as the Liberal Unionists, who opposed their party's support for Irish Home Rule. The Irish Home Rule Movement articulated a longstanding Irish desire for the repeal of the Act of Union of 1800 by a demand for self-government within the United...
Bale, T. (2005) European Politics: A Comparative Introduction, chap. 5 and 6.
Webb, P. (2004) ‘Party Responses to the Changing Electoral Markets in Britain’ in Mair, P. et.al. (eds.) Political Parties and Electoral Change.
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