The Election of the Leader by Party Members: Liberals, Social Democrats and Liberal Democrats

  • R. M. Punnett
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Political Studies book series (CONTPOLSTUD)

Abstract

The reservations that are felt by many about the ‘the voice of the people’, and are captured in this candidate’s reaction to electoral defeat, are hardly supportive of selection procedures that are based on direct democracy. The election of the leader through a ballot of party members will only be acceptable to parties and politicians that have faith in the political maturity and judgement of the rank and file. What is more, in practical terms leader-selection by a ballot of party members is a process that can only be used by a party that has a clearly identifiable membership and an efficient organization that is capable of communicating directly with all of the individual members (two features that certainly cannot be assumed to characterize all modern parties).

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See J. Vincent, The Formation of the Liberal Party 1857–1868 (London, 1966).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For more details of the changes of leader in the old Liberal party see R. Douglas, The History of the Liberal Party 1895–1970 (London, 1971);Google Scholar
  3. C. Cook, A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900–1976 (London, 1976);Google Scholar
  4. T. Wilson, The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914–35 (London, 1966).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    See Jorgen S. Rasmussen, Retrenchment and Revival: A study of the contemporary British Liberal party (London, 1964), pp. 33–50.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    M. Steed, ‘The Liberal party’ in H. M. Drucker, Multi-party Britain (London, 1979), p. 96.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    A. Cyr, Liberal Party Politics in Britain (London, 1977), p. 32.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    H. Drucker, ‘All the King’s horses and all the King’s men’ in W. E. Paterson and A. H. Thomas, The Future of Social Democracy (London, 1986), p. 119.Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    M. Duverger, Political Parties (London, 1959), p. 5.Google Scholar
  10. 26.
    D. Kavanagh, The Politics of the Labour Party (London, 1982), p. 216.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© R. M. Punnett 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Punnett
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StrathclydeUK

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