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Politics Definitions

Elections

Election: An election is the means by which the electorate decides who should fill an
office or post, making it the most important link between the government and the
people. E.g. Parliamentary elections involve voting for an MP. Everyone over the age of
18, with a few…

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Stable government: Government which is strongly established and able or likely to
continue as it can be viewed as enduring or permanent. The government remains in place
for long periods of time and the functions of government continue even if there are
changes of system.

Electoral Reform: A change in…

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Democracy

Democracy: `Rule by the people.' It is a form of govt where in which the supreme
power rests in the people and the people are able to exercise their will in political
matters. Power is exercised directly by the people (direct democracy) or by their elected
representatives in free…

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Liberal Democracy: Combination of both democracy and liberal features. Liberal
features include checks and balances on institutions and involves embracing civil liberties
such as freedom of speech and freedom of press. E.g. In the UK these are safeguarded
by the HRA. Its democratic features include elections that are free and…

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Political Parties

Political Party: An organised body that seeks to win government power (at local or
national level) by putting candidates up for election and mobilizing public support. It
develops a range of political goals and policies and their members display common
ideological beliefs. E.g. Conservatives support free trading and…

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Adversarial Politics: This contrasts with consensus politics as it is characterised by
major ideological differences between the major political parties on key policies, where
one party will automatically challenge the policies of another. Adversarial politics became
a feature of British politics under Thatcher in 1979 as she rejected much of…

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win government power. Their members all believe in the same cause so it can have
members from across the political spectrum.

Sectional (Interest) Groups: A pressure group which represents a particular section of
society that exists to advance or protect the (usually material) interests of its members.
They are motivated…

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democratic process as the wealthiest pressure groups do best and the often unelected
leaders of pressure groups have too much power.

Functional representation: The representation of groups based on their function
within the ecnomy or society. For example industries (unions such as the National Union
fo Mineworkers), employers (the CBI…

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