Do you consider the conservative party under Margaret Thatcher and the Labour Party under Tony Blair to have been catch-all parties?
Catch all parties is a group particularly a political coalition which accommodates people of diverse beliefs, backgrounds and principles (McAnulla, 2006). The conservative party traditionally was not concerned overly with having politicians representing the broader public. In fact, they had a strong elitist view with a belief that society had a natural hierarchy, they were born to rule and were duty bound to govern the society generally. Under the leadership of Margret Thatcher, the Conservative party tried a direct attempt at gaining the support of a section of the working class. However, despite the claims of representing the general population, the conservatives still established themselves as the party that was most competent in governance hence does not qualify as a Catch all party (McAnulla, 2006).
The Labour party under Tony Blair was established by the trade unions to provide representations of the working class in politics. While the labour MPs were envisaged to be the delegates of the wider party, the idea diminished in practice as MPs of the labour party came to see themselves as representing the nation entirely instead of the labour movement, and the party pitched itself as catch-all party. Moreover, they were conscious of the fact that they needed the support of the middle class to gain majority in parliament (McAnulla, 2006).
Do you think the coalition government of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will resemble a catchall party?
Yes, it will resemble a catch-all party since the coalition was formed by two parties (Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties) which had different ideologies, principles, and beliefs. It was just formed with the sole purpose of gaining a parliamentary majority.
Compare the British Conservative and the Labour Parties foreign policies as an example of the catch-all status of these parties.
The foreign policies of British conservative have been an example of the catch all status in many scenarios. In most of 20th century, the party tool Atlanticist stance broadly and favoured closed ties with United States, Japan, Australia, and Canada. Moreover, they favoured many international relations such as Commonwealth of Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organizations (NATO).The party also pledged to increase their spending on Aid to 0.7% of their national income (Sharp, 1997).
On the foreign policies, Tony Blair created a new alignment for the external look for the party based on the work on Kinnock. The new commitment of the New-Labour party reflect the governmental and the electoral situation in which the policy was developed, and it also dictated the responsibilities and vision of Blair. The party was developed as a catch-all party and is, therefore, to appeal to all, combining the preferences of the electoral and the international community. The foreign policy was also a catch-all since it is on basic principles forging friendship with US and EU (Corthorn, Davis & Anglia Ruskin University, 2008).
Corthorn, P., Davis, J. S., & Anglia Ruskin University. (2008). The British Labour Party and the wider world: Domestic politics, internationalism and foreign policy. London: Tauris Academic Studies.
McAnulla, S. (2006). British politics: A critical introduction. London: Continuum. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=zZ2XT76eqMAC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=conservatives+under+Thatcher+qualifies+as+a+catch+all+party&source=bl&ots=oj67unFbLV&sig=xnaeXDGa_0nfPujLfsl7t0yCvlo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZDfyVKHTC8vxUsuzhLAP&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=conservatives under Thatcher qualifies as a catch all party&f=false
Sharp, P. (1997). Thatcher’s diplomacy: The revival of British foreign policy. New York: St. Martin’s Press.