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The Political Class in Advanced DemocraciesA Comparative Handbook$
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Jens Borchert and Jürgen Zeiss

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260362

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199260362.001.0001

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Great Britain: From the Prevalence of the Amateur to the Dominance of the Professional Politician

Great Britain: From the Prevalence of the Amateur to the Dominance of the Professional Politician

Chapter:
(p.164) 9 Great Britain: From the Prevalence of the Amateur to the Dominance of the Professional Politician
Source:
The Political Class in Advanced Democracies
Author(s):

Uwe Jun

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199260362.003.0009

This chapter shows the professionalization of the political class in Great Britain, a country that until the early 1970s was dominated by the amateur politician. Both major parties in Britain, the Conservatives and the Labour Party, created the crucial preconditions for the emergence and establishment of the political class, and it was in their interest to accelerate the process of professional i zation. Basic conditions have been carried through the steady increase of MPs’ salaries since the 1970s, an expansion of political occupations, and different mechanisms for career maintenance. Moreover, previous institutional reforms have not changed the composition of the p o litical class as much as they have strengthened the process of professionalization of the existing political class. Newly developed political networks within different policy areas foster the development of the career politician, who early in his or her career e n ters politics and wants to stay there; the networks facilitate both entry into politics and maint e nance within the political class.

Keywords:   conservatives, Great Britain, institutional reforms, Labour Party, parliamentary roles, political careers, political class, professionalization

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