Political Ideology Essay

An overview of political ideology will first be given so that the reader will be provided with an explanation of what political ideology consists of.

It will then be considered whether political ideology is an important part of the political process and whether it still exists today.

On the other hand, it has been said that the ideals of Conservatives often conflict with each other (Newman, 2008: 1) which makes it difficult to determine their ideology.

As a result, many argue that Conservatives do not have a specific ideological status and that they are instead a lot more open-minded (Cosme , 2010: 1).

In consideration of the word ‘ideology’ it was noted by Freeden (2003: 3) that; “there has rarely been a word in political language that has attracted such misunderstanding and opprobrium.” Therefore, whilst clear definitions of ideology have been provided, the different meanings have been frequently contested and as a result of this, ideology has been considered to have a “wide analytical purchase” (Dommett, 2011: 2).

Because of the varying nature of political ideology, however, it could be said that it is now irrelevant in the political process.A secondary research approach will thus be adopted so that any data can be accessed with ease.Once all of the applicable information has been gathered an appropriate conclusion will then be drawn summarising all of the main findings.Accordingly, it will be shown that whilst there is less political ideology within the political process than there used to be, it is still present and a significant part of contemporary party politics.Political ideology is a set of ideas representing the objectives, expectations and actions of a political party.Consequently, as put by Sargent (2008: 2); “An ideology is a system of values and beliefs regarding the various institutions and processes of society that is accepted as fact or truth by a group of people.” Political ideology therefore provides political parties with a view as to the way the world should be and helps them to allocate social values: “the political system is the authoritative allocation of values for a society” (Easton, 1971: 129).Although this seems pretty straightforward, much debate has arisen over the years as to the exact meaning of political ideology and it has been questioned whether it is in fact irrelevant in contemporary party politics.Arguably, it cannot be said that Conservatives hold a specific set of beliefs, yet ideology is still present since a number of different values are considered.The Conservatives new leader David Cameron has taken both a liberal and conservative approach in the political process which signifies that Conservatives in contemporary party politics “are an interesting mixture of neo-liberal economic policies, combined with moral and social conservatism.The same can also be said in relation to the modern Labour party since they appear to have adopted a similar approach to the Conservatives in that they do not have a specific ideology (Lawton, 2005: 54).Furthermore, the Labour party often share the same values and beliefs as the Conservatives which demonstrate that contemporary party politics is not as ideological as it used to be.


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