Unit 2 Citizenship Revision

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Who can make a difference? (ISSUE 1)
Who holds power in the UK?
The concept and nature of power
Power is the ability to achieve certain aims and politics concerns the use of power in order to govern. Power
can be attained in a number of ways: Age, expertise, persuasion, knowledge, money, force, socioeconomic
status, and personal charisma. If you hold a degree of power you can use it to Influence decisions. If a
person or group is able to gain power they are able to influence decisions or events and therefore affect
people's lives.
Authority is the ability to be able to exercise power you may hold with legitimacy and justification. The
monarchy used to retain `absolute power' (had absolute authority to make decisions about the future of their
state). The UK now functions on the principles of a Democracy. This is where a state should be `ruled by the
people'. It's based on the belief that all people are free and equal, and therefore have the right to make a
collective decision over the future of their state. Citizens theoretically have the ultimate power to govern
themselves as they are able to vote for the government they believe will serve them most effectively. Citizens
give permission to the government to have authority over decisions about the state. This permission is called a
Mandate. Citizens grant governments a mandate to act on their behalf.
The Power of the State is derived from the people within it in a democracy. In the UK the heart of this
power lies with the Houses of Parliament where laws are created which the population have to abide by.
The candidates who are elected by the population consider their electorates best interests, with possible
consequences, when debating those laws and finally agreeing on them. The state then has the power to
enforce those laws through the Judiciary.
The `Separation of Power' is achieved through allowing a separate strand of government to enforce
the laws that are created. This idea ensures that the strand of government that creates laws is separate from
the strand that administers justice and also the strand that manages the everyday running of the state. This way
no single part of the state can become `all powerful'.
In the UK there is a fusion of powers rather than separation. This is because the different strands of
government overlap. Citizens experience the power of the state at different levels as some power from
Westminster is passed down to local authorities so that they can manage some issues on a smaller scale. The
Legislature (parliament) has the power to make law. The Executive (Prime Minister and Cabinet) has the
power to put laws into action. The Judiciary (Judges) has the power to make judgements on law.
The three main parties (Labour, Lib Dem, and Conservative) have the most influence in making legislation as
they old more seats than the others. Political parties that are not in overall control in the House of Commons
can still be powerful within local constituencies. Some parties have `strongholds' in certain areas of the
country. If a party loses faith in its leader they may be forced to resign.
A Multinational Corporation is a company that operates in at least two countries. By manufacturing and
selling products globally, instead of in a single country MNC's are able to make large profits. In a developing
world country an MNC such as Nike is the main employer and has a huge impact of the lives of residents.
The wealth of MNC's also makes them powerful `players' in world affairs. They have vast sums of money to
throw at governments in order to try and influence them to make decisions in there favour. The government
also has power over MNC's as they make the laws which MNC's have to abide by.
In order to change the behaviour of MNC's or limit their powers, consumers are able to join together to
boycott certain products with the intentions of reducing a company's profit sand raise awareness of the way
they operate. Individual citizens have this power of altering the way a big company operates as they are the
ultimate consumer of the products.
Who has economic power in the UK?
Economic power can be defined based on an assumption that `those with the most money have most power,
and therefore control'. When we look at the `global picture' it is true that those countries with most power are
those that are developed industrialised nations or those that are `resource rich'. It suggests that a states wealth
is directly linked to its influence in global affairs.

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As the economic power of a state becomes more interdependent on the power of other states it
becomes difficult to predict and manage spending on its domestic affairs as its government budget can be
affected by world events or changes in global market.
So the UK government is able to fund services required by the citizens it places various different taxes.…read more

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There relationship is very complex still. The government and political parties use the media to
release information to the electorate. Sometimes the way the government package the information is often a
subject which is accused of containing `Political Spin'. This is careful management of the timing, tone, and
content of information or responses released.…read more

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Councillor within a Single tier has to represent the interests and views of the citizens in their ward to the
local authority, and so does the Councillor within a two tier.
What is the impact of the European Union on the life in the UK?
EU was created in the aftermath of WW2 with an objective to bring peace, prosperity, and security to
Europe. Its aim was to bring countries closer together and bind them as a single unit.…read more

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Environment: EU member states are obligated to clean up their beaches to be good for holiday makers
and the environment. By increasing the amount of energy produced by renewable sources the EU aim to cut
its energy consumption by 20%.…read more

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In order to be able to vote in a parliamentary election in the UK you must Be on electoral register, Be over
18 years of age, Be a British Citizen, Not be disqualified from voting (Prisoners, citizens of EU states,
members of House Of Lords). You must first appear on the electoral register which is a register of all the
eligible voters. Schools are usually closed on election days as they are used as polling stations. Each vote is
secret and is cast in private.…read more

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Pressure groups are arguably more successful if they work closely with the government. Although some feel
that to align closely with government is to lose trust and support of members who are mistrusting of the
`establishment'. Credibility could also seen to be lost if they work to closely with government. Other groups
find themselves at a distance from government even though they would prefer to be in regular contact with
them. Both can be described as outsider groups.…read more

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A Demonstration attracts attention and provides a clear visual image of the level of support behind a
campaign. They are like petitions but evidence can be seen `in the flesh' which can be influential.
Demonstrations allow citizens to clearly state their feelings towards a situation if government are failing to
speak out for the public.
Advances in technology offer citizen's new roads to pursue democracy through, with the most obvious being
the internet.…read more

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Greater funding allows more
ways to contact citizens. A campaign with large capital can also afford to pay for political consultancies to
lobby government competently and arguably with a greater chance of success.
The Media can prove to be an essential aspect of a campaign's success as it can guarantee some much
needed exposure. It's a great way of targeting a large audience.…read more

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Groups using such dynamic tactics struggle to be an insider group as they tend embarrass government
or undermine its power. However, these tactics are incredibly successful in gaining press attention and
publicity. This may garner support or interest in the group.
Highly successful in focusing attention on the difficulties fathers experience when going through
custody or maintenance disputes following divorce.
Has received criticism by some who believe there methods are irresponsible, especially because many
of their stunts are illegal.…read more


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