Government and politcs: Democracy and Participation Revision Pack

Covers the first quarter of the syllabus.

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Alex
  • Created on: 07-01-10 16:16

Define Power (1 Mark)

1 of 30

Define Power (1 Mark)

Power is the ability to make an individual or an institution do something whether they wish to or not.

2 of 30

How does participation take place in UK politics a

3 of 30

Political Parties- citizens can campaign on behalf of political parties offering more choice and allowing the representation of minority views. Therefore citizens can help form the government making it more representative; for example George Galloway ensured the muslims views were represented.

Elections- Citizens can vote for a party to represent their views- or can campaign on behalf of a party. This makes the government more accountable. For example the Iraq War.

Referendums- Allow citizens to provide clear devisive answers whilst increasing voter turnout. This serves to check on the power of elected governments.

Pressure Groups- Citizens can join pressure groups and participate in advertising and other activities, this helps to ensure that voices of opinion from both sides can be heard. For example the stop the war coalition.

4 of 30

Give three criticisms of direct democracy

5 of 30

1. Too large

It would be impossible in large modern societies and is only suitable in small states where it is possible for all citizens to gather together and have the debate and vote. For example in California the system has not worked.

2. Too complex

The running of a modern society is too complex for most people to understand and to make a judgement on the issues involved. For example not many citizens could effectively decide economic policy.

3. The masses are too emotional

They are swayed very easily by their emotions and don't think rationally. For example many are in favour of the death penalty.

6 of 30

Give the three main features of direct democracy

7 of 30

1. Popular participation is direct in that the people making the policy decisions do not merely choose who rules on their behalf.

2. Popular participation is unmediated in that the people are the government; there is no seperate class of proffessional politicians.

3. Popular participation is continuous in that people engage in politics on a regular and ongoing basis- all decisions are made by the people.

8 of 30

Give 5 advantages of representative democracy

9 of 30

1. Representatives have better knowledge

They have the time and expertise to make the right decision on complex issues. For example Tony Blair was a trained barrister.

2. Representatives can better protect the needs of the minorities

Representatives can weigh up and protect the needs of minorities which may be persecuted by the masses. For example ministers chose to enter the Iraq war despite thousands protesting against it.

3. Representatives tend to be less emotional

They will make decisions based upon reason not emotion. For example ministers have consistently rejected the death penalty.

4. Representatives relieve the public of the burden

Individuals can get on with their lives without having to worry about political events. For example solving the banking crisis.

5. The best compromise

Maintains some form of participation and accountability to the public- a better system than a dictatorship but more realistic then direct democracy

10 of 30

Give five disadvantages of representative democrac

11 of 30

1. Le** democratic- Individuals have very little input on decisions as they can only vote in General Elections once every five years. For example thousands protested against the Iraq War yet the Government ignored them.

2. Decisions against the wishes of the majority- Governments and representatives may make decisions that are against the wishes of the majority and are only really accountable at election time. For example the Iraq War.

3. Individuals may feel alienated- Individuals may feel alienated or removed from the decision making leading to apathy. It therefore encourages people not to think about politics. For example the recent decline in turnout in General Elections.

4. Too party orientated- People tend to vote for a representative because of their political party rather then the quality of the individual, thus people may feel unrepresented. For example this has led to an increasing number of people joining pre**ure groups.

12 of 30

Give the three main features of representative dem

13 of 30

Feature 1: Popular participation in Government is limited

It is infrequent and brief- being limited to the act of voting every few years.

Feature Two: Popular Participation is indirect

The public does not exercise power themselves; they choose who will rule on their behalf.

Feature 3: Popular Participation is mediated

The people are linked to Government through representative institutions.

14 of 30

How does UK parliamentry democracy work?

15 of 30

1. It is representative

Every citizen has an equal right to participate in elections which can be at local, regional, national or international level. For example the 2005 General Election.

2. It is responsible/accountable

The people have little meaningful control over the Government and cannot influence the process or their representatives. It isn't always clear how MP's represent their constituents when they vote against the majority. For example Oona King voted for the war when a large majority of constituents disagreed.

16 of 30

Briefly outline the reasons why the promised refer

1. European constitution/ Lisbon treaty

2. European single currency (EURO)

3. Electoral reform

17 of 30

1. When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister he ruled out a referendum on the treaty as he claimed the reformation treaty that had been constructed was less radical.

2. The EU pressurised the UK to accept the Euro, however Gordon Brown and Tony Blair said that tests would have to be carried out before they were to be accepted.

3. Blair never reformed the electoral process, mainly because Labour didn't want to share power.

18 of 30

Give five advantages of referendums

19 of 30

1. Increases direct political participation- Helps to strengthen democracy as it gives increased voter turnout and gives people real power on important social and political issues- for example the referendum in Northern Ireland gave the people the power to decide whether they wanted to remain inside the United Kingdom or not.

2. Provides clear decisive answers- Normally provides clear decisive answers to specific issues or questions which may best be settled outside of parliament. For example the further devolution of Scotland gave the people the choice upon whether they wished to further govern themselves or continue governance from Westminister.

3. Technology advances- We have the technology for widespread use of local and national elections. For example the elected mayors referendum in 1998 was held London wide.

4. Power check on elected governments- They are a powerful check on the power of elected governments. For example the North East Regional Devolution was rejected; halting Labour's plans.

5. Revitalise local councils- Several councils experiment with local referendums such as education policy.

20 of 30

Give 5 disadvantages of Referendums

1. Referendums undermine parliamentry sovereignty- can undermine the right of parliament too make and remake any laws made by their successes. For example the North East Regional Devolution undermined Labour's soverign right to devoloutionise the area.

2. Complex issues can become oversimplified- The electorate may suffer from a lack of information and the results may reflect opinions that change over time. For example Wales rejected devolution proposals in 1979 but then accepted them in 1997.

3. Strong influence of the media- Media and other agencies can significantly influence the vote. For example Northern Irelands referendum on devolution was boycotted by opponents.

4. Governments are unlikely to hold referendums unless they are sure that they can win- This isn't democratic and means that the result is already pre-forecast in the majority of referendums. For example the further devolution in Scotland was supported by 63.5% of those who voted.

5. Unbalanced resources- There would be unbalanced resources for groups on both side of the debate- for example governments in Northern Ireland poured thousands into the campaign to accept the Lisbon treaty the second time round, only securing victory by a narrow margin.

21 of 30

1. Referendums undermine parliamentry sovereignty- can undermine the right of parliament too make and remake any laws made by their successes. For example the North East Regional Devolution undermined Labour's soverign right to devoloutionise the area.

2. Complex issues can become oversimplified- The electorate may suffer from a lack of information and the results may reflect opinions that change over time. For example Wales rejected devolution proposals in 1979 but then accepted them in 1997.

3. Strong influence of the media- Media and other agencies can significantly influence the vote. For example Northern Irelands referendum on devolution was boycotted by opponents.

4. Governments are unlikely to hold referendums unless they are sure that they can win- This isn't democratic and means that the result is already pre-forecast in the majority of referendums. For example the further devolution in Scotland was supported by 63.5% of those who voted.

5. Unbalanced resources- There would be unbalanced resources for groups on both side of the debate- for example the Lisbon treaty in Northern Ireland.

22 of 30

Give five democratic features of the UK

23 of 30

1. Universal Suffrage- Universal suffrage allows all adults in the UK the chance to vote, this gives everyone the chance to participate in the democratic process and choose their elected representative. For example everyone who is a UK citizen aged 18 and above can vote.

2. Referendums- Referendums can increase political participation. For example the numerous devolution referendums.

3. Political Parties- Politcal Parties try to be representative and formulate policy in order to help them achieve power in government. Parties also train and recruit the poltical leaders of the future and ensure the organisation of government is strong whilst enhancing the participation and mobilisation of the electorate. For example the Green party educate people about environmental affairs.

4. Pressure Groups- Pressure groups seek to influence Government policy by protecting or advancing a particular cause or interest. They attempt to promote a specific issue and raise it up the political agenda whilst operating at different levels in political life. For example the National Union of Farmers raise important agricultural issues.

5. Existence of civil liberties- Every citizen has human rights allowing them to participate without discrimination. For example the Human Right's act.

24 of 30

Give six undemocratic features of the UK

25 of 30

1. FPTP- FPTP leads to a disproportionate outcome between votes and seats leading to a large number of wasted votes that don't contribute to the final outcome, whilst marginal constituencies are more important. In2005 the Lib Dems won 22% ofvote with 9.6% seats.

2. Unelected PM- Gordon Brown was unelected highlighting the weakness of the system.

3. Falling participation- By 2007 fewer then 1% of the population belonged to a political party which is mirrored by the voters decline in loyalty towards the parties. The trend towards 'partison dealignment' has led the UK to more volatile voting. For example in Sweden 14.5% of the populace belong to a political party and 7.4% in Italy.

4. Political Parties are unrepresentative- Political Parties are clearly unrepresentative of the British electorate. For example less then 1% of the population belong to a party.

5. Excessive pressure group influence- Some pressure groups (especially those representing business) are better resourced and better able to exert pressure then others. They have become part of the policy community- with dangerous vested interest.

6. Erosion of civil liberties since 2001- Since 9/11 Labour has introduced increasing anti-terror laws causing the erosion of civil liberties.

26 of 30

List three pieces of evidence about the participat

27 of 30

1. Decline in membership of political parties- There is a declining party membership mirrored by a decline in voters loyalty towards political parties. For example by 2007 fewer then 1% of the population belonged to a political party.

2. Decline in voter turnout- In the period between 1945 and 1992 the average turnout remained about 75% whilst recently this has declined by a large amount. For example in the 1997 election the turnout was 71% which meant that Blairs 'landslide' victory was won with half a million fewer votes then John Major.

3. Critics claim there has been a shift from one kind of politcal participation to another- This is due to disillusionment, and cynicism with party politics has grown. For example people have been more willing to join pressure groups such as Greenpeace or the Countryside Alliance then political parties.

28 of 30

Explain and illustrate three possible ways of deal

29 of 30

1. Compulsory voting- Parties would have to appeal to all groups and increase the legitimacy of government whilst educating people within society.

Criticism- It limits freedom, doesn't deal with apathy and may lead to donkey voting.

2. Lowering the voting age- Engage younger people and increase political participation and engagement with the political process, for example if younger people are old enough to get votes etc...

Criticism- It is masking the problem that people have disengaged with the electorate, lowering the voting age won't solve it.

3. E-voting- Easier participation with access to information and ease of organisation.

Criticism- More likelihood for electoral mal-practice, virtual democracy and a digital divide.

30 of 30

Comments

caroline finnerty

It's pretty good :) only suggestion i would say is give a few more possible anwsers

sarah higgins

GREAT

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all resources »