[Edexcel] Unit 1 Government & Politics

Incorporates only the following topics: Democracy & Political Participation and Pressure Groups

Electoral systems and Party ideas are not covered.

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Democracy & Political Participation
Series Exam question Marks
(a) What are the main features of representative democracy? 5
Jan 2009 (b) In what ways has political participation declined in the UK in recent years? 10
(c) Evaluate the effectiveness of the various ways in which participation and
democracy could be strengthened in the UK.
(a) Define liberal democracy. 5
Jun 2009 (b) Explain the main features of the UK's democratic system. 10
(c) To what extent is there a `democratic deficit' in the UK? 25
(a) Define direct democracy. 5
Jan 2010 (b) Explain three forms of democratic participation. 10
(c) Assess the arguments in favour of the greater use of direct democracy in the
(a) What is meant by legitimacy? 5
Jun 2010 (b) Explain three strengths of representative democracy. 10
(c) How democratic is the UK? 25
(a) Apart from voting in elections and referendums, describe two ways of
participating in politics.
(b) Explain the arguments in favour of lowering the voting age. 10
Jan 2011
(c) To what extent would the wider use of referendums improve democracy in
the 25
(a) Outline the key features of a referendum. 5
(b) Apart from referendums, explain three ways in which democracy in the UK
Jun 2011 could 10
be improved.
(c) To what extent does democracy in the UK suffer from a `participation crisis'? 25
(a) How does a referendum differ from an election? 5
Jan 2012 (b) Explain the arguments in favour of making voting compulsory. 10
(c) How effectively does representative democracy operate in the UK? 25

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Pressure Groups
Series Exam question Marks
(a) Using examples, distinguish between sectional and promotional pressure
Jan 2009 (b) Explain the methods used by pressure groups to influence government.…read more

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Jason Tran
Democracy & Political participation
What is democracy?
A society/political system where people are able to
make/influence decisions and where the
government is accountable to the people.…read more

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Direct Democracy
1. People themselves make important decisions ­
2. People are directly involved in political decision making ­ all are consulted
3.…read more

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Representative Democracy
1. People elect individuals to act on their behalf ­ a POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVE
2. Free, fair and regular elections
3. Elected representatives can be accountable to the electorate UNIVERSAL
4. Governments & heads of state are elected by the people SUFFRAGE
5. Political parties to represent different political beliefs
6.…read more

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Government = divided on an issue; resolve by Convention: Any
giving people the final say constitutional change can
only be made if approved
via referendum
Why hold a
Since it's the electorate Good to secure the
deciding what's happening, consent of the public ­
future governments may particularly where it may
decide not to reverse decision involve taxation
Almost to an extent
entrenching the change
Referendums in the UK
Year Area Question Circumstances Outcome Turnout
Should the UK remain a member…read more

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Why has the use of referendums increased since 1997?
Greater interest in constitutional reform ­ this means electorate consulted more
Referendums are a way of `entrenching' reform ­ Labour would be able to make decisions and
Conservatives can't reverse without popular consent (particularly for devolution)
Electorate = better informed of politics; so can now make more informed judgements ­ internet has
Should we have more referendums?
Too many votes; `voter fatigue' will be the outcome
People are becoming used to…read more

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Variations of Representative Democracy
Liberal Democracy
A democracy that conforms to liberal political principles ­ emphasis on rights & liberties,
strong constitutional framework & rule of law.
Is a response to the `tyranny of the majority' ­ there is too much power in the hands of a
dominant majority. A Liberal Democracy would protect the interests of everyone.…read more

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Is the UK a liberal democracy?
No codified/entrenched Elections are FPTP ­ but seen as
There are regular free elections
constitution unfair
Right are protected, but
Government is accountable to House of Lords = unelected &
Parliamentary Supremacy = can be
Parliament democratically illegitimate
set aside
Prime Minister has prerogative No separation of powers between
Parties and PGs are tolerated
powers the legislature and executive
Unelected head of state (The
There is free media
There is an independent…read more

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Political Participation
Voting in
Being informed ­ i.e. Joining a political party
through the media
Standing for office
Ways of Joining a pressure
(local, regional or participating group
Attending debates ..…read more


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