By Dr Françoise Boucek
Published by Palgrave Macmillan
Margaret Thatcher was thrown out of office in 1990 but the British Conservatives still won a fourth term in office in 1992. Academics claimed that the British political system was ‘turning Japanese’. Within a year, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was voted out for the first time in 38 years just as Italy’s Christian Democratic Party (DC) was imploding after four decades of hegemony. The Conservatives’ aura as the natural party of government was shattered in 1997 by Tony Blair’s New Labour but it took another 12 years for Japanese voters to vote out the LDP. Meanwhile, Canada’s Liberal Party had been in charge for some 80 years but came third in a 2011 election. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. In her book, Françoise Boucek explains how this factionalism precipitates the downfall of many political leaders but can also prolong office by containing conflict and hanging onto dissidents. In a survey of the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Christian Democratic Party of Italy and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Dr Boucek explored this paradox and the potential dangers of factional politics for dominant political parties.
* The book was available on the day at the special price of £30.00
About the contributors
Dr Françoise Boucek
Dr Françoise Boucek is Teaching Fellow in European politics and policy in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, Visiting Professor at the University of Witten Herdecke (Germany) and Research Associate of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Public Policy Group. She grew up in France, graduated in business administration (1973) and moved to London and then Canada where she worked as a research analyst for an investment bank. She gained her BA (1988) in political science from the University of Toronto and gained her MSc (1991) and PhD (2002) from the LSE. She was Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Modern History at London Metropolitan University (1991-93) and LSE (1994-97 and 2001-03). She has written widely about political parties, representative democracy and one-party dominance including in Japan and is co-editor of Dominant Political Parties and Democracy: Concepts, Measures, Cases and Comparisons (London: Routledge, 2010).
Professor Kensuke Takayasu
Professer Kensuke Takayasu (discussant) is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Seikei University in Tokyo. He received his BA (1994) and MA (1996) both in political science from Waseda University. He read his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), gaining his PhD from the University of London in 2003. He became a research fellow at Hokkaido University in 2004, before joining Seikei University as associate professor in 2006. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Department of Government, LSE. Professor Takayasu has written widely on both British and Japanese politics, and has published a book in 2009 titled The Power of Prime Ministers in Japan and Britain – Dynamics of their Relationships with the Governing Party (Tokyo: Sobunsha). His articles appear regularly in Sekai. In 2011, his paper ‘New Conventions Required: Ideas to Re-invigorate Japanese Party Politics’ was published in Asia-Pacific Review (Vol.18 Issue 2), while the website Japan Echo Web (No.7 August-September) carried his article ‘In Need of New Rules of the Game.’