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Politics Unit 1




1. Democracy

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Direct Democracy

Democracy ­ General description of various Political Systems organised on the basis that govt. should
serve the interests of the people

1. Government for the people
a. Broad interest of people
b. For all sectors of society
c. Can't have Direct Dem. All the time
2. Direct Democracy…

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Importance of Democracy

Establishes and protects freedom

Protects minorities

All groups have access

Controls government power

Accountable to people

Encourages popular participation

People can influence process

Disperses power more widely




Political Participation

Opportunities for the people to become involved in political process

Make themselves aware of political issues + vote…

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3. Partisan Realignment
a. Fewer people have close interest in party politics
4. Pressure Group membership = UP!
a. RSPB = 1 mil+, Countryside Alliance = 100,000

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How can political participation be increased?

Compulsory voting

Force citizens to be aware of political issues
Ownership of outcome of elections
Infringement of rights

Reduce voting age 18 16

Politicise young people at an early age (Scottish Referendum on Independence)
Few teenagers will visit polls
16/17 years aren't experienced enough…

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Referendums

A Popular vote where the people are asked to determine an important political or constitutional issue

1997 ­ Should there be a Scottish/welsh assembly ­ S=75% Y , W=50.3%

1998 ­ London Mayor? = Y 72% - Would change govt. of capital city

2004 ­ NE assembly? = N…

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Women + minorities = underrepresented - Peers = wide backgrounds - Bias towards professional background



Is the UK a democracy?

See `representative democracy' in Britain (separate sheet)
o Accountability
Parliament forces govt. to be accountable ­ ministers explain actions
Parliament = no time to do task effectively
Free + fair…

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Electoral System Examples

FPTP Westminster STV N.I Assembly

AMS Scottish Parliament SV London Mayor

Closed Regional Party List MEP Election

AV proposed for Westminster (rejected by 68% no vote)

Badly disproportionate results 1983 ­ Lab 27.6% = 209 seats

Alliance 25.4% = 23 seats

Party with most votes loses Feb…

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4. Choose between Political Leaders




First Past the Post + Effects

Electoral System ­ A system that converts votes into seats

Features of FPTP:
Each constituency = 1 MP
Each Party = 1 candidate per constituency
Voters = 1 vote each
Largest Number of votes = winner
Discriminates in favour…

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Simple to understand small cost MP's can be elected on tiny amounts of support
Doesn't take long to count votes just need more votes
Voters can express a view clearly on which party Encourages tactical voting
they want Safe seats ­ Same party elected
TWO party system ­ single party…

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