source Return to Book Page. Preview — On the Margins by Matthew Goodwin. In both mature and young democracies, political extremism is becoming a new normal. But deciding just how to deal with extremist parties poses confounding challenges to electoral systems premised on tolerance. In Europe, far-right extremism has proved to be surprisingly resilient and is today at its postwar height.
And in many Arab Spring countries, Salafi parties have opt In both mature and young democracies, political extremism is becoming a new normal. And in many Arab Spring countries, Salafi parties have opted to enter the political arena for the first time, overcoming their ideological objections to electoral politics in order to pursue their vision of an Islamic state.
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To ask other readers questions about On the Margins , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Marina rated it really liked it Nov 29, Once the politician meets in a regularised setting with other independents, he or she becomes conjoined.
With the conjoined independent , at least locally, an independent political organisation may exist, and acts as a loose co-ordinating body, which also has the political resource to secure the return of independent candidates. Such organisations are unlikely to demand that the politician demur to their views, being happy to see the politician elected, content in the knowledge that the election victory is sufficient influence in wider political settings.
But, at whatever level of representative institution, from Parliament to council, once elected the conjoined independent acts in conjunction with other independents and forms an organisation around themselves within which they cohere to varying degrees. Some Independent council groups, for example, are almost indistinguishable in form to the political parties they eschew. It is the notion of organisational discipline that could be expected to distinguish Independents from party politicians, with Independents lacking any formal disciplinary mechanisms. Yet, for council Independent groups, discipline is often an informal process, where councillors demurring in public from the Independent group do not face official sanction.
Rather, they may find support absent when it comes to re-election, face another Independent candidate or may not be supported for some piece of council patronage. Then there is the revealed party-independent: Independent Labour or Independent Conservative, for example.
The emergence of such candidates often comes from an internal local party dispute or re-selection battle, such as with the all-female short-list imposed on the Blaenau Gwent constituency Labour Party which resulted in the Independent candidature of the, ultimately successful, Peter Law. Council chambers across the UK are dotted with revealed party-independent Conservative, Labour and even Liberal Democrat councillors. Independent politicians face a choice when it comes to conducting political activity that may lead to election and a further choice of how to act when conducting political activity after election.
That choice indicates the degrees of independence they have and are able to express and the nature of the relationship they may have with a group of supporters at election time and other politicians after election. One thing is clear however, and that is that no Independent is an island; they are all subject to interaction with other politicians or with groups of supporters of one sort or another. The nature of political independence can only be understood by exploring the nature of the interactions had with other Independent politicians and how they act in politically representative chambers.
What effect does that organisation have on Independent political activity? Do Independents that organise expect their fellow Independents to maintain a particular policy line, or support a particular decision? What happens when they do not? What sources of advice and information do they use? How carefully do they weigh up different opinions and sources of advice?
What is their relationship with the political parties and party politicians with whom they interact? Do they really take each issue on merit? What relationship do they have with the voters: Whatever the nature or origins of smaller parties and whatever the motivation for Independent politicians in engaging in politics and seeking office, they offer a challenge to the dominance of the political landscape by the main parties.
Independents and small parties provide two linked alternatives for the electorate. The Independent may also be a prominent local individual who, while having his or her own political beliefs, finds the constraints of party discipline too restrictive. The small party may rage against big machine politics, but, are they simply smaller versions of the main parties?
The small party has the onerous task of presenting an alternative approach to politics and policy and distancing themselves from traditional party politics but, at the same time, has to assume the form and also some of the behaviour of the main parties if they are to survive, particularly if they gain seats in a representative chamber. The papers that follow were presented at the conference and specifically address themselves to the issues raised by minor parties and Independents in a polity where mainstream parties still predominate. Cowley and Stuart explore in detail the voting record of Independent MPs and set out the speedy maturation process required of the Independent in a House of Commons dominated by political parties.
Russell and Sciara looks at how cross-benchers in the House of Lords have organised to conduct political activity in the upper-house. Both these papers throw interesting light on the vexed question of defining exactly what an Independent politician is, what he or she does and how and why they do it. But, we are still left with clearly defining and refining what we understand by the use of the term: Independent politicians will exist in different political institutions and at different levels of government.
Thus, it can be safely assumed that they will display characteristics that are context specific, as well as common to the experiences of all Independents, within whatever representative institution they find themselves. Moreover, they may share some characteristics with small parties in that they may display relevance in either a Sartorian definition, or match the broader definition of political relevance set out in this paper.
On the other hand, small parties in the UK may occasionally fit the classic definition of relevance; as Birch points out in her paper, the two Green members of the GLA in lent their support to Ken Livingstone, the then London Mayor, in passing his budget and in so doing accrued some additional political leverage.
Roy Huff rated it it was amazing Feb 15, To Scrutnise and Protect: Stimulating a reaction of any kind from any combination of the mainstream parties can nevertheless be seen as a mark of some success; when the main parties sit-up and take notice it displays the small party's impact on politics, political debate and agenda-setting. Smaller parties can act to galvanise political opinion and activity that may be focused on a more precise set of political objectives than those of the big three; at the same time, smaller parties also construct a broad political platform across a range of issues, which however often reflect their basic concerns. Small political parties and independent politicians serve to fill a gap in political representation; a gap which occurs because the mainstream, major national parties increasingly appear to fail to aggregate and represent adequately the diverse range of views and interests that make up the political dynamic at national, regional and local levels.
In particular they consider what can happen to such parties when they experience sudden electoral success. While politics at all levels in the UK are dominated by the main three parties, small parties and independent politicians have been a persistent challenger to those parties and have consistently offered the voter a choice beyond the mainstream.
It is a choice that the voters have neither wholly rejected or fully embraced. The resignation of David Davis, the Conservative front-bencher, to fight a by-election on the issue of 42 days detention, resulted in 26 candidates—the largest number to stand in a by-election—presenting themselves to voters. Yet, 23 out of 26 of these candidates secured less than 5 per cent of the vote and lost their deposits.
Indeed, the victorious Conservative candidates polled well over double the total number of votes received by all other 25 candidates. The papers that follow provide just that. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account.
Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Small Parties and Independents in the UK. Minor Party and Independent Politics beyond the Mainstream: Abstract The three main political parties which dominate British politics, at all levels, face a continuing challenge from smaller political parties and independent candidates.
Colin Copus and Alistair Clark gratefully acknowledge this support and assistance. We are especially grateful to Karin Bottom and Alison Crow for their contribution and assistance. Holtmann eds , Farewell to the Party Model? The war is not over, but the focus on what comes next is already underway, and one change is now plainly visible: But a recent report issued by the U. All Formats Kindle Edition Sort by: Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg. Available for download now. Demchak , John B. From Amnesty to Accountability: Mazarr , Bing West , Steven Metz.
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