What makes for a successful opposition party? How much of that success is down to the leader? How much does policymaking matter in opposition? What question should be asked the Lib Dem leadership election hustings? These are just some of the topics I chewed over with opposition expert Professor Tim Bale in this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts.
The five key factors we discuss are:
- Fresh faces, signifying a generational change (though it’s worth noting that recently fresh faces have often come from older, rather than younger, figures – think Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, etc. ).
- Unity and discipline (perhaps the most controversial as we discuss because debate and disagreement rather than unthinking loyalty and groupthink makes for better decision making).
- Visibility (especially important for smaller parties in two-party political systems).
- Efficiency and professionalism (harking back to the importance of the politics of valence).
- Adaptability to circumstances (a point Charles Kennedy made).
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- Tim Bale’s previous appearance, talking about how you can persuade someone to join a political party.
- Tim Bale’s excellent, re-arrangeable book on Ed Miliband.
- Recovering Power: The Conservatives in Opposition Since 1867: the book from which the list five things opposition parties must do came: Amazon / Waterstones.
- The Liberal Democrat election review.
- Tim Harford on how to avoid making mistakes.
- Turning Japanese: the excellent book that didn’t foretell the future.
- That Norman Lamont photo (with a young David Cameron in the background).
- The Politics of Competence by Will Jennings and Jane Green: Amazon / Waterstones.
- Will Jennings on Twitter.
- Jane Green on Twitter.
- Tim Bale on Twitter.
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