Tim Bale

in The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199234370
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746093 | DOI:

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This chapter outlines what political scientists think they know about how and why parties change. It suggests that they key changes to consider are changes in the party’s public face (essentially its sales force, composed of candidates, MPs and the leadership), in its organisation (both on the ground and in central or head office), and in policy. The drivers of change most frequently cited are some sort of external shock (essentially electoral defeat and/or loss of office), changes of leader, and changes in the dominant faction that runs the party. These make sense, the chapter argues, but there are complications, not least the fact that endogenous and exogenous changes are hard to disentangle, as are dependent and independent variables. Whether a party is in opposition or office may also matter. It concludes by arguing for a more holistic, but rigorous and historically-robust case study approach to the problem of party change.

Keywords: party change; model; defeat; leader; faction; case study; endogenous; exogenous; test

Chapter.  5857 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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