Assess the Extent to Which Core Ideological Values Remain Within the Current Labour and Conservative Party
Asses the extent to which core ideological values remain within the current Labour and Conservative Party
the Extent to Which Core Ideological Values Remain Within the Current Labour
and Conservative Party
Conservative Party and Labour Party are the two main political parties in Great Britain. While Britain has had a multiparty system for a long time, these two political parties have dominated the country’s political system since 1920’s (Bale 2011). The Labour Party, on the political spectrum, is a leftwing party with socialistic ideologies while the Conservative Party is a rightwing party with nationalistic ideologies. As such, the two political parties are distinguished by differences in their core ideological values, political systems, ideals, and methods (Brivati & Heffernan 2016). However, while there are differences in the core ideological values held by the two parties, there has been increased overlap of policies adopted by the two parties raising the question of whether there is still any difference between them.
Differences in ideological systems and political beliefs, ideals and methods
There are a number of distinct differences between the ideological systems, political beliefs, ideals, and methods of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. One of the differences in the systems between the two parties is that the ideological system of the Conservative Party is based on conservatism while the system of the Labour Party is based on socialism (Heywood 2012). There are a number of characteristics of conservatism as a political ideology. One of them is a positive outlook of the state. Conservatism favors the state. It sees the state as necessary for maintenance of order and control of society. Proponents of conservatism believe that there should be limited intervention of the state in the welfare of people. The main belief in conservatism is that change should be slow, evolutionary, and natural. Supporters of conservatism believe that radical change is unnecessary and incredibly dangerous.
Socialism, on the other hand, is an ideology that is based on equality in society. Proponents of socialism believe that there should be equality in society where all people work together as equals (Schumpeter 2013). Socialists also advocate for equal distribution of wealth where all people should have equal access to means of production.
On political beliefs, the Conservative Party believes in economic stability of Britain. The party holds that for Britain to be successful, it must have the ability to compete economically with other countries in the world (Bale 2011). The party also believes in a strong society where families and communities create foundations upon which the people’s lives can be built. Another political belief of the Conservative Party is the belief in a formal government. The party believes that power lies in leaders, and for a society to function well, there should be political leaders who govern it.
The Labour Party, on the other hand, believes in social justice where each individual is provided with equal opportunity to thrive. The party also believes in reward for hard work where an individual is rewarded according to their level of output (Brivati & Heffernan 2016). Other political beliefs of the Labour Party include decency and rights matched with responsibilities. The party believes that people should practice decency in their dealings and that one’s rights should be respected only if they are responsible. As such, according to the party, rights are not absolute but are determined by how responsible one is in ensuring those rights are respected. For example, if one commits a crime, then they automatically forfeit their right to freedom. On political power, the Labour Party believes that real political power lies in the people and not in leaders (Brivati & Heffernan 2016). As such, it advocates for increased involvement of people in the political decisions made in the country. Due to its belief that political power lies in people, the Labour Party does not believe in the need for a formal government with powerful political leaders.
There are differences in the way the political ideologies held by the two parties, that is, the Conservative and Labour Party, view society, the individual, and the state. Conservatism, which is a political ideology that defines the Conservative Party, views society as naturally hierarchical where it is characterized by established social gradations. According to this ideology, social equality in society is unachievable and undesirable (Heywood 2012). For the individual, the conservative ideology holds that people are naturally irrational, incredibly unpredictable, and capable of evil. As such, if people are left on their own, they are likely to cause war due to desire for power. This means that there is need for a system of governance that controls people. On the role of the state, conservatism holds that the main role of the state is to maintain order and control in society.
Socialism, the political ideology held by the Labour Party, on the other hand, has varying views about society, the individual, and the role of the state. On society, socialism holds that society needs to be in such a way that all people are equal and have equal opportunities. Socialism advocates for a society where there is cooperation among all people. On the individual, the socialist ideology holds that people are multifaceted and flexible, and that the behavior which is depicted by human beings is shaped by social circumstances that surround them (Brivati & Heffernan 2016). According to socialism, human beings are capable of expressing opposite behavioral characteristics, and that one can change from one characteristic to another. For example, all human beings are capable of being greedy as well as generous. What is expressed by an individual, according to socialism, is determined by values of the society the individual lives rather than inherent tendencies of the individual. On the state, the socialism views the state as evil and unnecessary. Socialists view the state as responsible for the creation of classes in society. For socialists, the existence of classes in society is bound up with existence of the state. As such, absence of social classes in society will result in the abolition of the state (Heywood 2012). On the role of the state in society, socialists hold that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the welfare of people in the society, and the state should be fully involved in ensuring basic services are provided to people.
Problems of translating ideological goals into political practice
While political parties and leaders have ideological goals, it is normally not easy to translate these goals into political practice. This is because of problems which are encountered during the translation process. One of the problems encountered in translating ideological goals into political practice is differences between the goals and political, social, and economic realities in the society (Schumpeter 2013). Ideological goals are normally derived from an idealistic point of view and do not normally reflect the realities faced in society. As such, in most cases, ideological goals do not address issues which affect society and this makes it hard to implement them into political practice.
Opposition is also another problem encountered in translating ideological goals into political practice. Each ideological perspective has both strengths and weaknesses, and appeal to different groups of people. For example, conservatism appeals to those in power as well as the rich while socialism appeals to the working class and the poor. This implies that ideological goals that are based on socialist views are likely to be opposed by the ruling class and the rich during implementation (Bale 2011). Likewise, implementation of ideological goals which are based on conservatism is likely to be opposed by the poor and the working class. The biasness of the ideological goals towards a particular section of society thereby makes it hard to translate them into political practice.
Extent to which core ideological values remain within the current Labour and Conservative Party
Over the years, the core ideological values within the current Labour and Conservative Party have undergone changes. Some of the original ideological values by both parties have been discarded while new ones have been adopted. In other cases, the parties have borrowed ideological values from each other and incorporated them into their own values. For example, while the Conservative Party’s ideological values are based on conservatism, there have been changes in the values held by the party over the years (Hirsh et al., 2010). A good example is radical change as a political ideology. One of the conservative ideologies is slow and revolutionary change rather than radical change which is considered dangerous. However, one of the current party ideologies for the Conservative Party is radical change. This change in ideology was introduced by Margaret Thatcher and has been adopted in the party’s ideologies.
The Labour Party has also experienced changes in its ideologies. One of them is abandonment of the nationalization of industry ideology in favor of the privatization ideology which is a characteristic of the Conservative Party. This was motivated by new economic realities faced by Britain as well as the nationalization ideology becoming increasingly unpopular among people. Generally, the Conservative and the Labour Party have experienced various ideological changes to the extent that the current ideological values held by both parties are neither a reflection of the socialist nor conservative political ideologies (Hirsh et al., 2010). Ideologies and perspectives from other parties have been adopted by both parties which results in an ideological confusion.
various differences in ideological systems, political beliefs, ideals, and
methods between Labour Party and Conservative Party. For example, while the
Labour Party supports nationalization of industry, the Conservative Party
supports privatization. The political ideologies of Labour Party are informed
by socialism while those of the Conservative Party are informed by
conservatism. These two ideological perspectives hold different views on the
state, society, and human beings. For
example, conservatism views the state as necessary while socialism sees it as
evil and unnecessary. Translation of ideological goals into political
viewpoints is hard because of problems such as opposition and clash with
political, social, and economic realities. It is a change in these realities
that has compelled the Labour and Conservative Party to adjust their ideologies
to fit in the current environment. This has resulted in a shift from their
original ideological values.
Bale, T 2011, The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron, Polity, Cambrige
Brivati, B & Heffernan, R 2016, The Labour Party: a centenary history, Springer, Berlin
Heywood, A 2012, Political ideologies: An introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
Hirsh, JB DeYoung, CG Xu, X & Peterson, JB 2010, ‘Compassionate liberals and polite conservatives: Associations of agreeableness with political ideology and moral values,’ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 36, no. 5, pp.655-664
Schumpeter, JA 2013, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Routledge, London