Chapter 8

Homing in on Political Parties

In This Chapter

arrow Seeing how political parties work

arrow Looking at the major parties

arrow Taking a peak at minor and nationalist parties

If from this chapter’s title you’re expecting to read about shindigs and knees-ups, sorry to disappoint: no festivities here, except for the winning party candidates on election night, of course, when silly hats and champers are the order of the day.

What I do tell you about in this chapter is everything you need to know about Britain’s political parties, large and small, mainstream and extreme. I describe their different organisations and the ways in which they function, including how they maintain discipline with stern words and whips (now that’s a party!). I also show how their various fates have waxed and waned.

Understanding Political Parties and How They Operate

Put simply, a political party is a group of people who come together with the aim of winning government power. These people don’t just meet randomly in the street, look each other up and down, and decide that they want political power; they need to have something in common, some sort of shared interest or view of how the country should be governed.

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