Government and Politics - Unit 1 revision pack with examples

I have finished, and added section 1.4 (Pressure Groups) into this pack! Once again it contains examples! I am working on section 2 notes now.

This pack is for the Edexcel course. I wont be revising parties, because the other three are much easier to learn, so why bother?!

I will also be doing a Unit 2 pack: 

Incomplete at the moment though...

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  • Created by: JPerren
  • Created on: 07-04-12 16:14
Preview of Government and Politics - Unit 1 revision pack with examples

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Politics (AS) Revision
1.1 - Democracy
Forms of Democracy
Direct Democracy ­ This is where the power to make decisions lies with the people. The earliest
accepted form of this democracy was in Ancient Greece whereby the people (although only the
Men) would gather, listen to speeches from leading citizens and then vote upon the issue. The
majority vote was accepted. Clearly however, this form of democracy is not applicable with today's
society as many more decisions must be made and the voting population is much larger. This does
not mean, however, that Direct Democracy is not possible and in many countries it is used in the
form of REFERENDUMS. Switzerland for example has had more than 550 referendums since 1848.
**The arguments FOR and AGAINST Direct Democracy are relatively interchangeable with those For and Against Referendums
Representative Democracy ­ The Representative system of Democracy evolved when it was
realized that it was not feasible for so many people to meet to vote on issues at regular intervals.
Political Philosophers also noted that most of the voters where illiterate and ill-educated and
incapable of making an informed decision on matters of importance. There was also fear that the
views of the minorities would be swamped out by the masses. The solution was to allow the people
to vote on a Representative to take their views and get them represented in Parliament. This had
the additional plus that the people who stood for election were, in general, better informed about
political issues than the common Man. This system is used currently in the UK. The country is split
into 650 different constituencies (soon to be 600) and each constituency elects one MP in a ballot
during an election. The winning MP is sent to Parliament to represent the people who live in his
constituency during voting on issues etc, etc.
A Liberal Democracy ­ This is not so much a type of democracy but instead is used to `rate'
democracies. A Liberal Democracy is one where the Government is; held accountable to its
decisions (Iraq), there are free and fair elections (all citizens over 18 have the right to vote and
there is an independent electoral commission who ensure they are fair), there is a peaceful
transfer of power if a government has to hand power over (no violence recorded), information is
freely available to the citizens (free press and free publishing), the rights and liberties of citizens
are recognized and protected (EU convention on Human Rights), a variety of beliefs, opinions and
lifestyles are tolerated providing they do not threaten the state and the powers of the
government are controlled and limited by either law, elected institutions or both (in 2005
parliament denied the government's request to be able to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days
without trial). The UK falls into this bracket, as do most western democracies.

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A Referendum is "A popular vote where the people are asked to determine an important political
or constitutional issue directly". Referendums may be held for a whole variety of reasons such as:
The inability of a Government to decide on an issue: 1975, Labour asked "Do you think the
UK should stay in the European Community". 67% voted YES.
To ensure the affected people consent to the law : 1998 vote to approve a London Mayor.
72% voted YES.…read more

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Criticisms of the UKs democratic system
The UK's democratic system is not without its faults and has been criticized on a variety of grounds
over the years. These arguments include:
1) There are a number of important, non-elected institutions within the governments of the
UK. The most notable examples of this is the House of Lords, which is not currently
elected by the people in a vote, yet still hold the power to block or suggest amendments
to policy areas.…read more

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­ Elections
Types of elections
In the UK there are many types of elections:
General Election: This must be held at least every 5 years, although it may be called earlier if the
government wishes it to be so. In this election, each of the UKs 650 constituencies vote on which
representative they want to send back to the House of Commons to represent them. Currently the
voting is conducted under First-Past-The-Post.…read more

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Election Systems
There are numerous types of election system all of which can alter the results of an election in
some way. They are generally split into 3 categories:
1) Plurality ­ This is a system where the winning candidate only needs to get the most votes,
rather than more than 50% to win. (First-Past-The-Post)
2) Proportional Representation ­ This is a system where the seats are awarded in proportion
to votes cast.…read more

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AMS (Scottish Assembly): This system is a hybrid between Party List and FPTP. Each voter gets
2 votes, one of them works like FPTP and the other works the same as Party List. The seats are then
awarded 2/3 FPTP and 1/3 Party List. The results are then adjusted to make it more proportional, so
doing well in FPTP means your score is lowered, and doing poorly means it is raised.
Pros Cons
Each voter has at least 1 effective vote.…read more

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AV (Austraila): This system allows the voters to list their favorite candidates in order of
preference. When voting occurs, if one person wins over 50% in the first count then the voting
ends. If not the bottom candidate is eliminated and the secondary votes for that candidate added
onto the other candidates as applicable. This continues until one candidate has over 50% of the
Pros Cons
Eliminates tactical voting Promotes a central view point.…read more

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­ Pressure Groups
A pressure group is "an organization which seeks to influence the details of a comparatively small
range of public policies and which is not a factor on a recognized political party".…read more

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Campaign methods used by Pressure Groups
Lobbying - Lobbying is the processes where-by a pressure group gets in direct contact with a
policy maker via the use of committees and commissions which meet to develop policy,
consultation with ministers on issues which concern the groups campaign and by giving policy
makers help in the form of a source of education or by scrutinizing the legislation. Insider pressure
groups find it easier to lobby than Outsiders as they are in direct contact with policy makers.…read more

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Why are some pressure groups more influential than others?
There are many factors which can determine why a pressure group is or is not successful in
achieving their aims.…read more



Thank you so much for this its a life saver


That is amazing, than you very much! We didn't study PP either, but I was still surprised when didn't see them) I thought I eliminated any possible thoughts about it)) 

P.S. You forgot to write about elitism and pluralism tho


Haha, everybody in a rush before the exam)

Ella Downey

Do you have any notes on Judges and Civil Liberties?

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