Democracy & Political Participation

Notes on Democracy & Political Participation.

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Politics Democracy and Participation:
Legitimacy = the extent to which a government has the right to rule and exercise power.
A regime may be legitimate because it's government is widely recognised
o U.K vs. Russia in the Crimea
Legitimacy can refer to the degree in which a body can be justified in exercising power
o House of Lords & the Monarchy
In the democratic world, legitimacy is conferred by election.
o 2010 coalition didn't have an electoral mandate.
UK is legitimate UK isn't legitimate
House of Commons is elected Electoral system distorts political
representation (FPTP)
Government elected with mandate to govern. Government elected has only received the
However no one voted for 2010 Coalition minority of the popular vote
House of Lords has traditional authority and House of Lords members aren't elected and
political influence which is widely recognised do not have the people's consent.
Consent = people consent to be governed in a particular way by a particular government.
Free elections
Good turnouts
Lack of popular dissent
Clear demonstrations of support for the government
Consent means the people will support of tolerate a system of government. Low turnouts at elections
may be evidence of lack of consent but not necessarily. Lack of dissent may be stronger evidence of
Grants a person certain rights (fair trial, justice, stand for office)
Have civil liberties (freedom of association, movement)
Have certain duties (pay taxes, defend the country)
Active citizenship (volunteer, social responsibility, politically active) (2010's `Big Society')
Pluralist Democracy (USA)
Multiple parties & political associations/beliefs are allowed
Many sources of independent information
Power is dispersed among different people and institutions
Liberal Democracy
In addition to a pluralist democracy:
Individual liberties are respected
Strong constitution which limits governmental power
High level of political toleration
Modern Democracy
Peaceful transitions of power from one government to the next
Free & fair regular elections
Open access to independent information & free press
The government is accountable to the people
Different political ideas are tolerated
All are equal under the law

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Politics Democracy and Participation:
Direct Democracy:
People make key political decisions e.g.…read more

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Politics Democracy and Participation:
Greater interest in constitutional reform and is considered important that any such reform
receives direct consent of the people
Referendums entrench reform and cannot be easily reversed by parties who have different
philosophical ideas
It is believed that the electorate are better informed about politics than ever before and are better
able to make informed judgements
Increasing Political Participation & UK Democracy
Pressure groups are growing in membership
Increase in campaigning through social media
o Against the sale of the National…read more

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Politics Democracy and Participation:
Introducing an Elected Second Chamber
Arguments For Arguments Against
Increase legitimacy Challenge the authority of the Commons
An effective check on the government Might be less independent
Introduce a Codified Constitution
Arguments For Arguments Against
Stop the drift towards excessive power of government Political system would lose flexibility
Make citizens more aware of how politics works Put too much power into the hands of unelected judges
Rights & freedoms would be protected better Destroy political traditions.…read more


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