representative democracy

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  • representative democracy
    • What is it?
      • people elect a representative to make decisions on their behalf
      • political institutions should be a cross section of society
      • representative should strike a balance between stated party policies and the interests of their constituents
        • as well as thinking independently
      • trade unions and newspapers also represent the public
        • Newspaper editors claim to represent the views of their readers
        • politicians pay more attention now to the media
    • Positive Aspects
      • practical in a large state where issues are complex and need a rapid response
        • e.g. deployment of troops
      • different political parties and pressure groups allow for a pluralist democracy
      • Reduces chances of minority rights being overridden by 'tyranny of the majority'
      • Elections allow people to hold their representative to account
      • Politicians are often more informed than the average citizen
        • can make more educated decisions
    • Negative Aspects
      • may lead to reduced participation
        • people choose to hand responsibility to politicians
        • low participation = legitimacy questioned
      • parties and pressure groups often run by elites who have their own agendas
        • not truly representing the people
      • minorities may still find themselves        under      represented
        • politician more likely to follow views of majority to secure votes
        • House of C. still not seen as fully representative of our society
      • politicians may be corrupt or incompetent
        • e.g. betray election promises or favour their party to the electorate
      • House of Lords lack democratic legitimacy
        • Only 1/2 of the Lords are elected


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