The formulation and articulation of policy is a function integral to any political party, but especially so to a party committed to socialist principles and organised on a mass basis. To hold the loyalty of its activists and maintain a large pool of voluntary workers, the party must project a coherent set of aims attractive to its supporters and with which they can readily identify. The importance of policy is further increased within a two-party system, particularly where conflict over policy is reinforced by a social structural cleavage. Policy is vital to the party in power precisely because it has the opportunity to implement its plans on behalf of its supporters; it is central to the opposition party since, without a coherent policy, it would be ‘in danger of forfeiting its claim to be an alternative government.’1


European Economic Community Public Ownership Socialist Party Constitutional Change Irish Unity 
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© Ian McAllister 1977

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  • Ian McAllister

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