AQA Participation and Voting Behaviour: Q&As

A set of 22 questions and answers with relevant explanations and recent examples to get you upto the highest marks in Politics!

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
PEOPLE, POLITICS AND PARTICIPATION
1. What do we understand by politics? Politics is defined as `the struggle for power',
by this definition politics can take place anywhere there's a hierarchy and people
work towards those high positions. That's why there's the saying of `workplace
politics'. However in a more specific context, politics is the activities concerned with
governing a country. It is the decisions and dealings that are made whilst running a
country.
2. What is the difference between power and authority? Power is being able to
make someone do something they otherwise would not, a person could be
persuaded or forced. Authority is being able to tell someone to do something, the
legitimate exercise of power. A bully can have power to take dinner money but
doesn't have the authority to do that. Authority, in politics, can exist because of many
reasons, traditions like the House of Commons, charisma where power is given to a
strong character and legal-rational where we give authority to a person as we believe
their role requires power, e.g. the Prime Minister.
3. What is the difference between a direct and indirect democracy? A direct
democracy is a system when each citizen gets to decide what should happen in a
country themselves; this is done through debate and voting. It is the purest form of
democracy as every issue is discussed and then a decision is made by all citizens,
each opinion is taken into account and the people that are affected by the decisions
will be making them. A prime example would be ancient Greece when people were
able to assemble and come to a verdict. An indirect democracy is when the people
elect representatives to debate issues and vote on their behalf. The UK is an
example of an indirect democracy as we elect MPs to the House of Commons and
for local council to make our decisions for us. Direct democracy allows citizens to be
better informed on issues as they'd be expected to make a decision based on their
knowledge, and this could inspire the electorate to educate themselves on the
issues. However it is difficult to implement in the modern day world, with countries of
millions of people, it'd be hard to get together and debate the issue and come to a
conclusion. The whole process would be time-consuming to apply and impractical,
especially with increasing demands of work and home life. This form of government
is the most legitimate as the people are making the decisions themselves and
understand they will be accountable for their decisions. But it could still lead to
tyranny of the majority as the minority voice could be silenced by the majority
opinion, it could lead to electoral fatigue on behalf of majority of citizens therefore the
decisions would represent the interest of those still voting rather than the majority of
the population. It would lead to political instability, as decisions could be made due to
emotional reasons which could prevent more rational approaches to issues, some
issues can be complex and harder to understand so this could lead to misinformed
decisions. This could also lead to constant disagreements between citizens and
vocalised political opinions could lead to more social divides. In the example of
ancient Greece where minorities weren't given voices, women and slaves weren't
allowed to vote so it wasn't an example of an actual democracy so there is no
previous case study that would say that direct democracy is successful when
everyone is given the chance to vote. Indirect democracy is a more practical
approach to democracy. It is less time-consuming as citizens are expected to vote
every 5 years in a general election and similarly in the council elections and in the
odd referendum, the rest of the decisions are made by the elected representatives, it

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
prevents electoral fatigue. It would also maintain that decisions are made rationally
by elected representatives whose job is to understand the issues and make informed
decisions. As this would be their only job, they'd have more time to research what is
best, listen to a range of opinions and then decide what'd be the best decision.…read more

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
However efforts were made in 1997 to make the political system more democractic:
- Devolution for Scotland and an established Scottish Parliament meant more
representation for Scottish interests
- The Human Rights Act meant citizen rights were enshrined into law.
- The Freedom of Information Act 2000 meant that citizens were allowed to request
Parliamentary information and documents from government, which allowed for more
transparency.…read more

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
bother voting, so this is called `hapathy' and would be undeclared legitimacy. If
people don't participate then their interests won't be represented, if a large proportion
does not vote then that will leave them unrepresented in Parliament and this will
mean that parties within Parliament will end up making legislation that is not in the
interest of wider society.…read more

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
come into existence. People were voting according for the party that represented
their social class, working class voting Labour and middle class voting
Conservatives. There was strong class alignment and partisan alignment to distinctly
ideological parties and `deviant' voters, those voting outside of their working class
expectations were a minority.…read more

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
were more likely to vote Labour. Labour tends to have more women MPs (99 in
the 2015 GE compared to Conservatives 68) and more family friendly policies.
Ethnicity Majority of Asian and black voters vote for Labour. This is due to Labour's more
liberal stance on issues, such as immigration. Minority ethnic groups tend to be
concentrated in city areas, that's where a lot of Labour's support comes from.…read more

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
can have on the outcome of elections. JFK was a relatively unknown senator and
Nixon was an incumbent Vice President prior to the debate, however people felt that
it was won by JFK, and it has been said that it was that debate that won him the
election. Increasingly television debates are becoming more and more important in
British elections.…read more

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JAWWAD MUSTAFA ­ AQA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ­ UNIT 1
in 2010 focused on issues such as immigration and the economy, the two areas that
Labour were doing bad on and with the televised debates leaders Nick Clegg and
David Cameron were doing well however Gordon Brown didn't come off so well, and
consequently the result of the election saw a coalition between the Lib Dems and the
Conservatives.…read more

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