Edexcel Unit 1 Parties& Democracy Notes

My notes from edexcel Government & Politics, unit 1-political parties and democracy. Includes definitions, essay plans in table form etc.

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  • Created on: 29-03-13 17:43
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Ellie Whitlock
Revision Notes: Democracy
Representative Democracy Electoral democracy- it is a way of deciding who should
decide. People aquire power to make political decisions by
means of a competitive struggle for the peoples' vote. Those
who win the elections then claim to `represent' the people.
Direct Democracy A form of democracy that is based on the direct, unmediated
and continuous participation of citizens, in the tasks of
Liberal Democracy A form of democracy where governments/elections operate
under the principles of democracy. Its features include free,
fair & competitive elections and the citizens having civil
liberties, being protected under the human rights act.
Political Participation A term which describes the general level of participation in a
society and the extent to which the people as a whole are
active in politics
Democratic Deficit Occurs when a government/ electoral system lacks
accountability to the people.
Direct Democracy:
Advantages Disadvantages
It's a pure form of democracy as it ensures that Members of the public could still be easily
citizens only obey laws that they create influenced by the media or government.
Creates better informed and more Citizens may not interested or have enough time
knowledgeable citizens. Popular, direct and to make properly informed decisions.
regular participation encourages people to take
more interest in politics. Therefore it arguably
improves education.
Ensures legitimate rule, as people are more Minorities would not have any influence or
likely to accept decisions they have made representation as they would have in
themselves. representative democracy
It reduces or removes the need for professional
politicians. Therefore the public has unmediated
control over political decisions

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Representative Democracy:
Advantages Disadvantages
Professional politicians have the time to The electorate may be in part ill-informed. They
research and debate issues, which ordinary can still make bad decisions on who to elect.
citizens do not. Therefore they are more likely to Furthermore people have little incentive to
make informed and educated decisions. become more interested and involved in politics,
if they can only vote once every 5 years (UK).…read more

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Ways of improving democracy:
Ideas for improving Strengths Weaknesses
Lowering the voting -Governments make significant -Many 16 & 17 year olds are not
age decisions that particularly effect the mature or interested enough to vote
lives of 16 & 17 year olds, such as -turnout rates among 18-24 year
the rate of tuition fees olds are already very low,
- The law permits 16 year olds to suggesting young people are unlikely
pay income tax, join the army, to get to vote
married and…read more

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Is there a "crisis" in democracy, in the UK? :
No Yes
Elections - One person, one vote since 1948 - FPTP means that not every vote counts
- Secret ballot, since 1872 - Party can have a majority even though
- Everyone has a right to vote it does not have 50% of the vote
- Under 18's& prisoners cannot vote
- There is not universal participation in
- Two party system limits electoral
Parliament -Parliament ensures - Unelected second chamber, the…read more

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Political Parties
Party A organisation which attempts to gain power
and form a government, by campaigning for the
electorates' votes.
Programmatic Party A party which develops policy that follows a
particular ideology, which will only appeal to
certain group of people.
Catch-all Party A party which develops policies to appeal to the
widest range of voters, by contrast with a
programmatic party.
Left-Wing People who generally hold optimistic views
about human nature and have a positive attitude
to social change.…read more

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The difference between Labour and the Conservatives:
Labour Conservatives
Though traditionally Labour favoured a state A free market economy- unrestricted market
managed economy with nationalised major completion, free from government interference.
industries, Labour now supports a mixed
economy. However One Nation Labour may
revert back slightly due to their discussion about
the possible nationalisation of the railways.
Public services take a top priority. Labour has Privatise public services and cut `bureaucracy', in
increased funding for services while in power.…read more

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Political parties promote democracy:
For Against
Parties promote democracy because May impinge upon democracy as parties
they drive competition in choosing may be more concerned with pleasing
leaders and policies. their members and certain sectors within
society, rather than a nation as a whole.
They give opportunities for political
Political parties may encourage
participation. They allow citizens to join
extremism, as they usually associate
and share their views. Furthermore
with a particular ideology.…read more

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Old Sir

A useful survey of UK democracy from the perspectives, mainly of the Conservative and Labour parties. Students might wish to extend their ability to discuss UK party politics by reading in more depth and, amongst other issues looking at the development of the Liberal (Democrat) party and post 1945 consensus between Labour and Conservatives.

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