Stovesby: is a port and industrial city in the north of England. Major industries include steel, chemicals and coal. Attempts been made to diversify the industrial base have only had mixed success. Due to its economy being founded on heavy industry Stovesby is highly polarised along class lines. The city council has been controlled by the Municipal Socialist Party since 1938; before then it had been run by a coalition of Conservatives and Liberals since 1918 (with the exception of a two year, Socialist minority, gap in the late 1920's) and had usually been Conservative before then. Stovesby is not an especially cosmopolitan city (the largest minority group remains the Irish), but Commonwealth immigration is increasing and many of the city's historic planners came from abroad.
Municipal Socialist Party: has dominated local politics in Stovesby since 1938. The MSP is a highly bureaucratic organisation, solidly entrenched in power and is controlled by a Right-wing machine based around local trade unions. Toleration of the Left varies from district to district and is often based on the attitude of the dominant union in that area. It is generally easy for Left candidates to get selected in wards with weak unions. There are, of course, additional layers of factionalism within the two main factions.
Municipal Conservative Party: is the principle opposition party in Stovesby. Unlike the Socialists, the Municipal Conservatives are not dominated by anything that could be sanely described as a political machine and the party does not have any organised factions. The key word here is organised - organisation and power structures are much more informal than in the bureaucratic MSP. It is probably true to say that an elite based in the Chamberlain district runs the party at the moment, but there is nothing to prevent a suburban takeover... nothing institutional, anyway. The MCP has strong ties to the local business community, to various other middle class organisations and to the owners of the city's upmarket newspaper.
Municipal Liberal Party: a shadow of its former self, but still influential in parts of the city. It currently has just one councillor, but aims to increase this to six within the next three years. If the MSP is a bureaucratic organisation and the MSP a 'social' one, the MLP is not really an organisation at all. It has no base outside its own activists and has to concentrate on highly local issues in order to win anything.
Residents Associations: exist in at least one ward (Eastridge) and tend to be very right-wing and dominated by the sort of people who are members of the local golf club and who write letters to local newspapers.
The Stovesby Star: populist trash disguised as news (and not very well). Generally leans to the right, but not by much and rarely makes outright endorsements. Mostly bought for death notices. It is not a scandal sheet (this is the '50's...) but is more likely to 'publish' than the other papers. It is also the most popular paper in the city.
The Stovesby Morning Post: the voice of the business community and the city's upmarket paper. Close ties to the MCP, but also very influential amongst council officers. It will not 'publish' most of the time.
The Ardthorpe Herald: populist trash disguised as news (and not very well). A Socialist paper, mostly bought by people in Ardthorpe... for death notices. It might be as likely to 'publish' as the Star, but is not read in most of the city.
General & Transport Workers Union (G&TWU, often just G&T)
Amalgamated Engineering Federation (AEF)
Municipal & General Workers Union (MGW)
Union of Local Government Employees (ULGE)
Federation of Iron & Steel Workers (FISW)
Public Service Association (PSA)
National Miners Union (NMU)
United Railways Union (URU)
National Teachers Union (NTU)
Building Labourers Union (BLU)
Electrical Trades Confederation (ETC)
Union of Postal Workers (UPW)
There are others, but these are the 'main' ones. The ETC is run by the Communists, the ULGE and PSA are (at this point...) basically apolitical, the NTU is semi-political but not affliated to the MSP. The AEF, MGW and FISW are bastions of the Right, the others more mixed (the NMU in this area is traditionally 'moderate'). Remember - this is the '50's.
One more thing - the BLU is dominated by members of the Irish community.