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Conservative CenturyThe Conservative Party since 1900$
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Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202387.001.0001

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The National and Regional Party Structure

The National and Regional Party Structure

(p.169) 5 The National and Regional Party Structure
Conservative Century


Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the history and working of the various components of the party organization at the national and regional level, dealing in parallel with the professional machine of the Central Office and the voluntary representative institutions of the National Union. It argues that, in reality, the authority of the centre is balanced by a diffusion of influence throughout the party, underpinned by the tenaciously defended doctrine of local autonomy. The chapter notes that there is a ‘balance of power’ – voluntary membership cannot be commanded and must be led by persuasion – and discusses the power that can be employed by the rank and file upwards through the National Union.

Keywords:   party organization, Central Office, National Union, autonomy, balance of power

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