Parties, mandates and multilevel politics: Subnational variation in British general election manifestos

Alistair Clark (Corresponding Author), Lynn Bennie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The three main state-wide British parties – Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats – all produce different versions of their manifestos in British general elections. Many policies debated in a British general election no longer apply at the sub-national level, where separate devolved institutions control large areas of policy. This article therefore assesses the roles of national party manifestos at the sub-national level in British general elections. It develops an original theory linking Strom’s alternative party goals to Ray’s typology of mandate/contract manifestos, advertisement manifestos and identity manifestos. It then explores a comparative overview of British parties’ general election manifestos at the sub-national level, before focusing in detail on Labour’s 2010 and 2015 general election manifestos, which reflect the party’s strategic difficulties caused by devolution. The expected variation is found between the national and sub-national manifestos. In some instances, multiple goals are pursued simultaneously and this is reflected in manifestos which assume elements of more than one manifesto ideal type. This supports the additional conclusion that manifestos can perform multiple functions in complex multi-level systems of government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalParty Politics
Volume24
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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election manifesto
election
politics
multi-level system
labor
conservative party
type of government
ideal type
decentralization
typology

Keywords

  • Manifestos
  • Britain
  • devolution
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Cite this

Parties, mandates and multilevel politics : Subnational variation in British general election manifestos . / Clark, Alistair (Corresponding Author); Bennie, Lynn.

In: Party Politics, Vol. 24, No. 3, 05.2018, p. 253-264.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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note = "Earlier versions were presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions Workshop on ‘How and Why of Party Manifestos in New and Established Democracies’, University of St. Gallen, April 2011, and at PSA and EPOP Conferences in 2011. We are grateful to all participants for their feedback, and particularly Bob Harmel and Lars Svasand for their comments and leading this project. We are also grateful to Dai Moon for discussions around Welsh manifestos and highlighting some otherwise unavailable literature. The usual disclaimers naturally apply. Alistair Clark gratefully acknowledges the financial support of a British Academy Overseas Conference Grant, Award Number OC100383 for travel to the 2011 ECPR Joint Sessions. The final definitive version of this paper has been published in Party Politics by SAGE Publications Ltd and is available on the journal website at: http://ppq.sagepub.com/ All Rights Reserved {\circledC} Alistair Clark and Lynn Bennie.",
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