The electoral strategy and tactics of the British Liberal Party, 1945-1970.
The options available to a minor political party concerning
electoral strategy and tactics are usually greater than for
a major political party. This thesis analyses the electoral
objectives and the methods for their realisation put forward
by the Liberal party in the period 1945 - 1970.
The two strategies of the formation of a Liberal government
and the realignment of the left are evaluated and the analysis
is extended to include what is referred to as 'interim
strategy'. The latter accepted that the party's strategy could
not be accomplished as the consequence of the party's
involvement in any one general election contest but needed
to operate over a longer time scale. This suggested that the
party required short term and long term electoral objectives
arid the use made of interim strategy forms part of the
examination of electoral strategy.
The analysis of electoral tactics differentiates between
'primary tactics' and 'secondary tactics'. Primary tactics
were the means presented to the electorate for the implementation
of electoral strategy at a general election contest. Secondary
tactics included a range of political activities carried out
in the period between general election contests. Primary
and secondary tactics are evaluated and in particular the
extent to which electoral strategy and primary tactics were
compatible with secondary tactics is analysed.
The discussion of electoral strategy and tactics is not
confined to ideas generated within the Liberal party but
includes the views advanced by the Conservative arid Labour
parties on the role of the Liberal party and Liberal supporters.
The arguments presented in support of these views, and the
Liberal party's response, forms part of the analysis of
Liberal electoral strategy and tactics.