The decline and rise of radicalism: political parties and reform in the twentieth century

Wolfram Kaiser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Since the 1960s, British politics has seen the progressive renewed rise of constitutional Radicalism. Various key features of the British system of government, from the electoral system to its high degree of centralisation, have been questioned with increasing force. The renewed rise of Radicalism has transformed the reform debate significantly. Political reform has been a major theme of British history since the late nineteenth century. It was the dominant political issue before 1918, and it has again played a major role in British politics since the 1960s. Extra-parliamentary pressure has often led reluctant politicians to adopt particular reform options. The satisfaction with Britain's system of government reflected a decline of constitutional Radicalism until the 1950s which mainly resulted from three factors: a preoccupation with questions of economic management and social reform, the progressive marginalisation of the Radical tradition within Labour as the new main reform party, and the mental de-Europeanisation of Britain since 1914.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReforming the Constitution
Subtitle of host publicationDebates in Twentieth-Century Britain
EditorsPeter Catterall, Wolfram Kaiser, Ulrike Walton-Jordan
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781315039787
ISBN (Print)0714650560, 9780714650562
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2014

Publication series

NameBritish Politics and Society


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