political insiders and rank-and-file

Chigo

Member
french
hello everybody !


i'm studying an article:two cheers for american democracy (lexington) the economist, in which appear these two political words about which i'd need information.
i'd like to know what's the difference between a " political insider" and someone who's part of the "rank-and-file", which i know to be also called the "grass-root" (or the necessary establishment of a party). Do insiders and and members of the grass-root rank equally? i think both words mean the same thing.
here are the sentences :"In most countries party leaders are chosen by political insiders. In america rank-and-file party members get to choose."
So doesn't it work the same way in america and in other countries ?

thanks
 
  • clairet

    Senior Member
    England & English (UK version)
    "rank-and-file party members" are the mass of party members who, in most democracies, support the party but have few ambitions (or prospects) of joining its leadership; "political insiders" in the party are the people in the leadership. "Political insiders" has a more general meaning too, which includes all the people with inside knowledge of what is really going on in politics - so it includes journalists (some!), academics (some!) and some other groups as well as leading party members.
     

    Chigo

    Member
    french
    thank you for your very detailed answer clairet ! in fact i was trying to figure out which way of electing was fairest, and it seems that "lexington" wanted to extol the american system, making it looks more genuine and less strategic or secret than the "other countries' " system.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Fairest??? It all depends...

    In the UK 30 or 40 years ago, policy in the Labour party was decided at national conference, voted on by delegates sent from local branches (the local branches were the rank and file, i.e. the total membership).

    This led to decisions which were almost as democratic as possible in a pre-computer age, but which were often not politically easy for the leadership (members of parliament and ministers = political insiders) to implement. For 13 years they didn't win an election.

    In the period since then, policy decision-making has been transferred almost entirely to the leadership, and the rank and file can express an opinion but have almost no say in the actual decision. This has coincided (but it's surely not a coincidence!) with a massive fall in the number of rank and file.

    In other parties in Britain, different methods apply. The conservatives, I believe, have long tended more to the "political insider" method, and the Liberal Democrats and Greens more towards the "rank-and-file" method.
     

    Chigo

    Member
    french
    The conservatives, I believe, have long tended more to the "political insider" method, and the Liberal Democrats and Greens more towards the "rank-and-file" method.
    Thanks a lot for your answer, it was very interesting, I hope I’ll soon have a work about GB so that I’ll be able to use a bit of it ^^
    But you see, when I said “fairest” I rather wanted to say “closer” to middle-class. I mean, it’s obvious that an insider is close to a party’s leadership whereas (as said by Clairet) members of the rank-and-file have little ambition, remain franc and close to the folk. (at least more than insiders)
    In real life, it might not be true but, roughly, in broad outline (I know what I said was close to caricature), it might be true isn’t it ?
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top