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Flashcards in Political Parties Deck (31):


The right of the governing party to pursue the policies it set out in its general election manifesto



A pre-election policy document which sets out a series of policy pledges and legislative proposals that it plans to enact if returned to office.


Salisbury doctrine

The convention that the House of Lords does not block or try to wreck legislation that was promised in the manifesto of the governing party.


Dominant party system

Where a number of parties exist but only one hold government power, e.g. Japan under the Liberal Democratic Party between 1955 and 1993. Some argue that the UK party system has, at times, resembled a dominant-party system - with the Conservatives in office, 1979-1997 and labour in power 1997-2010.


Multiparty system

Where many parties compete for power and the government consists of a series of coalitions formed by different combinations of parties, e.g. in Italy between 1945 and 1993.


Single party system

Where one party dominates, bans other parties and exercises total control over candidacy at elections - where elections occur at all, e.g. in Nazi Germany or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


Two-party system

Where two fairly equally matched parties compete for power at elections and others have little realistic chance of breaking their duopoly.


Political spectrum

A device by which different political standpoints can be mapped across one axis or more, as a way of demonstrating their ideological position in relation to one another.



A loose ideology favouring a pragmatic approach to dealing with problems, while seeking to preserve the status quo. Some argue that conservatism is, in fact, not an ideology at all because it looks to work with, and improve upon, what exists already, as opposed to building from the ground up from a more ideological standpoint.



An economic theory which advocates controlling the money supply as a means of keeping inflation in check.



A political ideology closely related to classical liberalism. Neo-liberals stress the importance of the free market, individual rights and limited government. In the UK context, neo-liberalism is closely associated with Thatcherism.


Paternalism conservatism

Where power an authority are held centrally but the state acts benevolently and cares for the neediest. Paternalism is said to be a key characteristic of traditional one-nation conservatism.


Adversarial politics

The instinctive antagonism between the two main Westminster parties. It is commonly applied to U.K. politics from the 1970s.


Postwar consensus

The board agreement between the Labour and Conservative parties over domestic and foreign policy that emerged after the Second World War. The consensus saw the parties cooperating over the creation of the welfare state and the adoption of a Keynesian economic policy. The postwar consensus began to break down in the 1970s and was said to have ended with the more ideological, adversarial approach that accompanied Thatcherism.



An ideological approach combining a free-market, neo-liberal economic policy with a more orthodox conservative social policy in areas such as the family and law and order. Thatcherism was the dominant Conservative Party ideology of the 1980s and 1990s, as was closely associated with the ideas of Sir Keith Joseph and right-wing think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute.


Social democracy

A political ideology that accepts the basic premise of capitalism while advocating a more equitable distribution of wealth among the lines favoured by all socialists.



A political ideology advocating greater equality and the redistribution of wealth. Socialists are suspicious of capitalism. They favour greater government intervention, in both economic and social policy.


New Labour

A term that characterises the party that emerged to fight the 1997 general election following a process of party modernisation completed by Tony Blair. He first used the term New Labour when addressing the Labour Party conference as party leader in 1994. Labour's modernisation programme began under Neil Kinnock, following the party's landslide defeat at the 1983 general election. In involved a less powerful for the trade unions and a rebranding exercise designed to make the party more appealing to middle-class voters. In ideological terms, the New Labour project was characterised by the concept of triangulation and the Third Way.


Old Labour

A term that characterises the Labour Party prior to the modernisation programme begun by Neil Kinnock in 1983 and completed by Tony Blair. It refers to the party's historic commitment to socialism and its links with socialist societies, trade unions and the old working class.


Third Way

An ideological position said to exist between conventional socialism and mainstream capitalism, closely associated with Tony Blair and New Labour, and also referred to as the 'middle way'.



The process of melding together core Labour Party principles and values, such as the party's commitment to greater social justice, with lessons learnt from Thatcherism. It was closely associated with New Labour and the notion of a Third Way.


Social justice

The goal of greater equality of outcome, as opposed to equality of opportunity alone. It is achieved through progressive taxation and other forms of wealth redistribution. The idea is closely associated with the Labour Party and with other parties of the left and centre-left such as the Greens,


Gang of Four

Referring collectively to Bill Rodgers, Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams and David Owen. Believing that the party had fallen under the control of a left-wing clique led by Michael Foot in the wake of Labour's defeat at the 1979 election, these four former Labour ministers left the party in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP).


SDP-Liberal Alliance

An electoral alliance between SDP and the Liberal Party that was in place at the time 1983 and 1987 general elections. The alliance won 26% of the vote (23 seats) in 1983 and 23.1% of the vote (22 seats) in 1987. The two parties merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.



A political ideology associated with notions of personal liberty, toleration and limited government. It is often subdivided into two separate strands: classical liberalism and progressive (or new) liberalism.


All-women shortlists

A Labour Party initiative which requires a constituency party to draw up an entirely female shortlist from which their parliamentary candidate will be chosen.



A meeting at which an election candidate can address local voters, as well as paid-up party members.


Open primaries

A popular ballot in which all registered voters (i.e. not just party members) have a hand in selecting the candidate who will run in the election proper.


Priority lists (A-lists)

Lists of candidates intended as a means of boosting the number of women and ethnic minority Conservative MPs.


Cranborne money

Funds paid to opposition parties in the House of Lords in order to help them cover their administrative costs and thereby provide for proper scrutiny of the government. In 2014-15, the Labour Party received £572717 in Cranborne money.


Short money

Funds paid to opposition parties in order to help them cover their administrative costs and thereby provide for proper scrutiny of the government. It is available to all opposition parties that win at least two seats-or win a single seat while also securing over 150,000 votes nationally - at a general election. In 2014-15, the Labour Party received a total of £6,684,794 in Short money, which included £777,538 to support the work of the Leader of the Opposition.