BRIT POLITICS, Study, Learn,  Create, Inspire

University 18 Yrs + | Parties and Voting

Parties and Voting banner

How UK Political Parties have Adapted to Change – Cadre Party

Richard Katz and Peter Mair in Party System Change have suggested that parties in established democracies have developed through four types over the last 150 years or so.

These are ideal types so individual parties may exactly fit a type or they may be in transition between types.

The four types are Cadre Party, the Mass Membership Party, the Catch-All Party and the Cartel Party.

The Cadre Party

The governing elite that ran the parliamentary systems that existed in the 19th century, began to divide into loose groupings generally on conservative versus liberal lines.

In most countries only middle class men could vote and MPs were either local notables, such as landowners or business men or lawyers or politicians who enjoyed the support of powerful people at the centre who were able to use their wealth and influence to get the support of local constituencies.

There was little in the way of party discipline in Parliament and the parties only had vague principles rather than specific policies.

The Cadre Parties in Britain

Politics was based largely on factions based on aristocratic families and key personalities but dividing into two groups at the beginning of the 19th century following Fox or Peel, both calling themselves Whigs but the Fox Whigs using the pejorative name Tories to describe the Pitt Whigs.

By the late 1850s, and following a split among the Tories in 1846 over the reform of the Corn Laws, they had become more recognisably different Liberal and Conservative Parties.

The Liberals were more in favour of slow political reform and religious tolerance and supported free trade and business interests.

The Conservative were the party of established institutions, especially the Church of England and supported protection of agriculture and the landowning interest.

Although the general public took an interest in elections and would support one side or another, only men who owned or rented property of a certain value, such as shopkeepers or farmers could vote.

In the small towns and rural areas, which were the majority of the constituencies, local influence was important so that the Liberal MPs for Arundel in Sussex were relatives of the Catholic Duke of Norfolk who had their residence at Arundel Castle. The nearby constituency of Shoreham was practically hereditary in the Conservative Burrell family who were local landowners and agricultural improvers.