chapter  5
28 Pages

The media and communications

Ideology has an ambiguous status in the academic study of British politics. It is difficult enough to present a definition of ideology that commands widespread acceptance, let alone to devise a scientific method of assessing its precise impact on party competition and policy formulation. But this does not mean that we have experienced an end of ideology, as some commentators have supposed. On the view of ideology outlined in this chapter, even if ideological conflict diminishes, politicians continue to hold underlying assumptions which are rightly understood as ideological in nature. But first we need to provide some account of the competing ideological traditions. When studying the impact of ideology on the political parties, we have to remember that these organisations are broad coalitions. It reminded its readers that all liberals take the individual as their primary focus, whereas social democrats concentrate on collective interests.