To what extent has the UK political system witnessed an end to ideology?

Topics: Conservative Party, Political party, Liberal Democrats Pages: 4 (1378 words) Published: February 25, 2014

Daniel Bell, who has been described as “One of the leading American intellectuals of the postwar era”, suggested that the distinctive ideologies prevalent in the 20th Century will, given time, converge on common ground leading to the end of potent ideology. UK politics has exhibited signs of Daniel Bell’s prophecy with the recent movement to ‘catch all’ politics whereby political parties appeal to the widest range of the electorate possible. Arguably this has given rise to the loss of political identity and ideology causing parties to become so called ‘Election winning machines’.

There is no doubt that political parties within UK have moved towards being ‘Catch all’ as victory in elections has become far more important in recent years. The effects of post 1983 labour are a significant factor when determining the cause of the lack of ideology within UK politics. Margaret Thatcher, during the 1980s implemented policy that privatised the government backed UK firms adopting a Keynesian free market approach to politics. Another major part of Thatcher’s policy was a tough approach on trade unions. Thatcher’s tenure threw the Labour party into the wilderness as Labour could not exploit dissatisfaction because it was perceived as weak and divided. After outright Labour repudiation of Thatcher’s policies in the general election of 1983, Labour steadily came to accept successive tranches of Thatcher’s policies. This lead to the degradation of some of the intrinsic values that labour traditionally held, such as the strong backing of trade unions and avid support for the welfare state. The labour party were also forced to accept the need to prioritise economic stability and encourage private enterprise. The Labour leaders of Margaret Thatcher’s term as PM (Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock and John Smith) were forced to reform the party image and to make their policies less divisive adopting ‘Catch all‘ policies. The period of Blairism from 1997-2000 in many ways forced the...
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