The Party System

  • S. G. Richards


In a democratic state it is assumed that there are differences of opinion as to the best way of governing it. These differences are embodied in political parties, which present a choice of alternative policies to the electorate and which seek to gain power to implement their ideas. It is sometimes claimed that it would be better to have a government composed of the best men without reference to parties. This is based on the notion that political problems are essentially technical matters that can be resolved by the wisest and most intelligent in the land. Most political issues, however, are conflicts of values and interests and require for their resolution not so much men of intellect and specialist knowledge as men of judgement — and these qualities do not necessarily coincide.


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  1. R. McKenzie, British Political Parties (London: Heinemann, 2nd edn, 1963 ).Google Scholar
  2. J. Blondel, Voters, Parties and Leaders (Harmondsworth: Pelican, 1974)Google Scholar
  3. C. Mayhew, Party Games (London: Hutchinson, 1969).Google Scholar
  4. T. Raison, Why Conservative? (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1964).Google Scholar
  5. J. Northcott, Why Labour?( Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1964 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© S. G. Richards 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. G. Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.Hammersmith and West London CollegeUK

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