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Politics Unit One Revision
Chloe Birmingham
· Electoral System and Referendums
· Voting Behaviour and Participation
· Political Parties
· Pressure Groups…read more

Slide 2

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History of Government Parties Democracy
· Conservative 1970-74 Edward Heath Direct Democracy:
Involves self government by the people. Citizens
· Labour Feb-Oct 1974 Harold Wilson allowed to take political decisions.
Eg. Referendums
· Labour Feb 1974-79 Harold Wilson (76)
Jim Callaghan (79) Representative Democracy:
(Indirect democracy) occurs when citizens elect a
· Conservative 1979-83 Margaret Thatcher representative to take political decisions on their
· Conservative 1983-87 Margaret Thatcher Advantages:
· Better informed
· Conservative 1987-92 Margaret Thatcher (90) · Taken seriously as it is their job
John Major (92) · Fairer decisions reached
· Unpopular but sensible policies passed
· Conservative 1992-97 John Major · Less extremist views
· More policy consistency
· Labour 1997-2001 Tony Blair Disadvantages:
· Can't please everyone
· Labour 2001-05 Tony Blair · Not always representative of public option
· Can't change MP for 5 years
· Labour 2005-10 Tony Blair (07) · Don't vote for constituent view
Gordon Brown (10) · More likely to represent party view
· Candidatures are from narrow social
· Conservative/Lib Dem 2010- David Cameron background
· SNP Ulster
Green Party · Plaid Cymru Unionists
Liberal Democrats UKIP Fascists
Sinn Fein
Left Right
Labour Party
Old Labour New Labour
Left Right…read more

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Ideologies: Government and Politics
· Capitalism LEFT WING - belief in
private ownership, free enterprise and
House of Commons:
limited government intervention.
Out of the winning party of around 300 MPs around
(Conservative party)
20 are part of the cabinet. Then there are 3 junior
· Socialism RIGHT WING ­ Belief in
ministers to each of them. The rest are backbenchers.
using the state to redistribute wealth,
Not members of parliament but constituency MPs
decent wages, pensions and benefits
with no government duties
(Labour Party)
· Communism FAR LEFT WING Government Party Opposition Parties
Revolutionary socialists, want to
overthrow capitalism, complete state
ownership and equality in wealth
Aggressively nationalist, patriotic and
conflict should be solved militarily.
Usually racist who believe in
superiority of their race. Frontbenchers Backbenchers
British Political System
Local · Men & women over 18 M.E.Ps
650 MPs Parliament
House of House of EU
The Monarch
Lords Commons
· EU laws must
Hereditary Peers be applied in all
Life Peers
Government Party Opposition Party member
Archbishops & Bishops countries
Government Backbenchers
Passes Legislation
Civil · Advise MPs · Enforce legislation
servants · Implement legislation and order…read more

Slide 4

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First Past The Post
Britain has a plurality system called first past the Constituencies:
post. The winning candidate has to get a the most There are 650 single member constituencies (1 MP
votes to win the seat,, not an overall majority. is elected for each one) .
People NOT eligible to vote: Largest constituency - Isle of Wight
· Members of the House of Lords Smallest constituency ­ The Western Isles
· People detained under the mental health act
· Convicts Candidates:
· People recently convicted of illegal/corrupt Anyone over 18 can stand as an MP candidate,
electoral practices (5 years) providing they get 10 nominators and can afford the
£500 deposit that they would lose if they don't
The Election: receive 5% of the vote.
Elections have been held every five years since People NOT allowed to stand as a candidate:
1911, on the first Thursday in May. · Members of the House of Lords
Ways an early election can be triggered: · Prisoners
· A motion od no confidence is passed by a · Bankrupts
simple majority · People detained under the mental health act
· A motion for a general election to be held is · Impartial career holders
agreed by two thirds' of the MPs. · Foreign nationals
Electoral Reform Alternative Electoral Systems
Case for Electoral Reform · Alternative Vote System (AV)
· MPs elected on a minority vote Voters order their vote in preference, second
· Governments can come into power with less choices are recounted until they produce a winner.
than half the votes · Supplementary Vote System (SVS)
· Over representation of winners AV but if no overall majority is gained, all but the
· Under representation of third and smaller top two candidates are eliminated .
parties · Party Lists
· Wasted votes Voters vote for a party rather than an MP
· Smaller constituencies are better represented Open List ­ voters may reorder the candidates put
and their votes mean more forward within a party.
· The results produced in FPTP aren't Closed List ­ Voters are given the order in which
proportional candidates will be used in the party.
· Additional Member System (AMS)
A voter has two votes, one for a party, one for their
Case Against Electoral Reform chosen MP, the party vote is used to add `top up'
MPs to make the result proportional
· It's not the purpose of the electoral system
· Alternative Vote Top-Up System
to produce perfectly proportional results
A variation of AMS including the ranking from
· Coalition government invariably produced
· PR leads to small (possibly extremist)
· Single Transferable Vote (STV)
parties in the running
Complicated, uses a quota to elect a certain number
· PR would destroy MP-constituency links
of MP's, eliminating the lowest candidate and
· PR is complex
recounting choice, as well as recounting surplus
· By-elections complicated within PR
votes to fill spaces in government.…read more

Slide 5

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Direct Democracy: Theory of the Mandate:
Involves self government, by the people. It has The theory of the mandate suggests that the
it's origins in ancient Greece. In some small government has a mandate ­ a moral right ­ to pass
city-states, citizens were allowed to take into law any policy that is in it's manifesto. This is
decisions in public meetings. on the basis that the party was elected on the
- Parts of New England, in America, town strength of it's manifesto promises.
meetings are held. Residents attend to In addition; the theory of the mandate suggests that:
discuss local issues. - The government should introduce manifesto
- Referendums held globally allow the public promises
to directly participate in making major issue - The government should not introduce any major
decisions. policies that were not included in their
Representative Democracy: manifesto.
(Indirect democracy) occurs when citizens In practice, any governments claim to have a
vote to elect people to take political decisions mandate extremely weak due to the fact that since
on their behalf. the second world war two no government has had
- Most countries, such as the UK follow this more that half of the votes. Meaning more people
using an elected MP to allow political vote against them than before them.
decisions to be taken this way in government It is simplistic to suggest that a vote for a party
and parliament. necessarily indicates support for its manifesto
Advantages of Representative Democracy: promises because first of all the fact that there will
- MPs have a better political understanding be people who will always vote for that party
- MPs are more likely to take issues seriously regardless of their most recent manifesto. "Floating
- Fairer decisions reached voters" are those who need to be convinced by the
- Unpopular yet necessary decisions made manifesto.
- Less extremists Therefore theory of the mandate is rather flawed.
- More consistency of policy However, there has to be a fairly close relationship
- Professional between the manifesto and what a party does in
Disadvantages of Representative Democracy: government, otherwise the manifesto becomes a
- Can't please everyone fraudulent document.
- Not always representative of public opinion In practice, governments do sometimes break
- Don't always work with public manifesto promises. It may be, for example, that
- Cannot change MP for 4 years political or economic circumstances have changed,
- Don't vote how constituents want making policies originally promised in the
- More likely to represent their party manifesto no longer practical.
- Come from a narrow social background - In 1992, Conservatives promised to decrease
"Your representative owes you only his income tax, they in fact ended up increasing it.
judgement. He betrays you if he sacrifices it to - 2001, Labour's manifesto promised to not
your opinion" Edmund Burke 1974 increase University tuition fees, yet when in
Functional Representation: government they did so.
This suggests that parliament should mirror the Coalition government makes the theory of the
society it represents. So all major social groups mandate particularly problematic as nobody voted
be present in Parliament in numbers for coalition government. They also won't be able
proportional to their electorate. to introduce policies from one parties manifesto due
Underlying assumption is that only people of to the coalition agreement. Coalition government
similar characteristics should be able to make may not be able to get promises through parliament,
decisions for their groups. due to bargaining in coalition agreement, new
Critics argue this doesn't have to be the case as policies not in either manifesto end up being
a person isn't defined by their characteristics introduced as a result of this.
and do not often all have the same opinion.…read more

Slide 6

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Electoral Systems used in the UK
· General Elections ­ First Past The Post
· Local Elections (England & Wales) ­ First Past the Post
· Local Elections (N Ireland & Scotland) ­ Single Transferable Vote
· European Elections (exc. N Ireland) ­ Closed Regional Party Lists
· European Elections (N Ireland) ­ Single Transferable Vote
· Scottish Parliament Election ­ Additional Member System
· Welsh Assembly Election ­ Additional Member System
· Northern Irish Assembly Elections ­ Single Transferable Vote
· Greater London Assembly Elections ­ Additional Member System
· Mayor of London Election ­ Single Transferable Vote
Advantages and Disadvantages of Other Electoral Systems
Advantages: Disadvantages:
· Alternative Vote System (AV) · Alternative Vote System (AV)
MPs are elected on a majority vote Not proportional
More support Favours third and small parties
Produces a stable government Unrepresentative
Maintains MP-constituency link · Supplementary Vote System (SVS)
· Supplementary Vote System (SVS) Not proportional
MPs are elected on a majority vote Favours third and small parties
More support Unrepresentative
Produces a stable government · Party Lists
Maintains MP-constituency link No MP- constituency link
· Party Lists Can't choose order of whose elected (closed)
Directly proportional Extremists parties could gain MPs
No over/under representation Too much party power
More chance of ethnic minorities and women being · Additional Member System (AMS)
elected Hard to find an overall majority
· Additional Member System (AMS) · Alternative Vote Top-Up System
Proportional Overall majority hard to find
Maintains the MP-constituency link Two classes of MP created
Few wasted votes Hard to understand
· Alternative Vote Top-Up System · Single Transferable Vote (STV)
Proportional Complicated, hard to understand
Maintains the MP-constituency link Causes problems for the main parties
Overall majority gained within constituency Over representation of smaller parties
· Single Transferable Vote (STV) Hard to decipher surplus votes
Gain over quota Weak MP-constituency link
More proportional results Produces unstable government
Greater choice
More women and ethnic minorities elected…read more

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