Polls and Parties: British General Elections 1959-2010

Ref: C3741382

We will explore how party competition developed in Britain after the 1950s and how we can understand the factors affecting the outcome of general elections since 1964

Course aim

To understand changes in British voting patterns and party identification in General Elections since 1964

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Anyone interested in how and why the British people vote and/or what decides the outcome of general elections

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • give an account of the general elections held in Britain since 1964
  • give an account of how British political parties have changed since 1959
  • Understand and discuss the various explanations offered for the results of recent British general elections
  • assess the influence of party leaders, policies and other factors on party loyalty and voting behaviour

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You will encouraged to share your own memories of past elections and why you voted how you voted, if you did.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • You will find it useful to have a means of taking notes, whether paper and pen or a tablet or similar device.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • David Childs, Britain since 1945: A Political History; Bill Jones and Philip Norton, Politics UK, 7th or 8th edition; David Butler and various co-authors, 'The British General Election of (the year)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Deeper understanding of contemporary political developments.

Download full Course information sheet

Polls and Parties: British General Elections 1959-2010

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This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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