Party divisions (Unit 1) is a common question – students are reasonable at being able to distinguish between parties but all too often think that, within a party, members are same-minded. This is simple not the case – they are like-minded, sharing, usually, a common set of principles but not exactly the same beliefs. It is easy to see this in the Conservative Party currently, with Cameron having to fight his more liberal instincts to appease his some of backbenchers who are both more right wing and very fearful of the UKIP factor.
This is a useful article about the divisions within the Labour Party. Spurred on doubtless by the current opinion polls (as the split in Conservatives are deepened by UKIP), there is a rising question over the leadership of Ed Miliband and whether he should be leading Labour into the next election. Current polls suggest that “people don’t see him as prime minister: only 20% think he is up to the job.” (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/06/labour-mps-attacks-miliband-political-insanity-says-david-blunkett). While some commentators and politicians such as David Blunkett are, this morning, describing the prospect of changing leaders six months before an election as ‘political insanity’, there are others within the Party calling for a change…but to who, is less clear. There are few major front runners in the frame and some, like Alan Johnson, have ruled themselves out. This is great evidence to show that parties always have some level of internal division, whether it is more or less public, particularly as Lord Soley, former leader of the Labour Parliamentary Party has criticised Miliband over his lack of ‘vision’ for the party – the division therefore is not just personal but also ideological.