Is the UK really a Democracy?

  • Created by: LML09
  • Created on: 21-05-15 15:46

What is democracy?

Democracy is " a system or government in which all of the people of a state or country are involved in making decisions about its affairs, typically by voting to elect representatives to a parliament or similar"

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Political parties

  • Seem remote from voters
  • Campaigning has now moved to the tv and computer screens, and the differences between the parties are not always clear
  • Voters feel a weaker sense of partisan identification (the extent to which an individual identifies with a particular political party)
  • Main political parties are:
  • Conservative -> David Cameron
  • Labour -> Ed Milliband
  • Liberal Democrat -> Nick Clegg
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Conservative - David Cameron

  • Individuals should control and own businesses and services
  • Government shouldn't sort out the gap between the rich and the poor
  • Low tax, so you keep more money
  • Traditional values should be encouraged to build strong communities and families
  • Discipline and respect will cut crime and criminals should be treated harshly
  • Monarchy and House of Lords are an important part of history, so little interference from the EU
  • The UK should stand strong
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Labour - Ed Milliband

  • Government should work with private companies to provide good public services
  • Public services should receive money in order to provide food quality services that are available to everyone
  • Government helps close the gap between the rich and the poor
  • Different levels of tax depending how much you earn
  • Strong communities by promoting tolerance and respect by all
  • Britain has an important part to play in Europe and should be taking a leading role
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Liberal Democrat - Nick Clegg

  • Between Labour and Conservatives
  • Fair and open society, with equality for everyone and strong communities
  • Encouraging businesses to flourish but not interfering
  • Poor and those in need should receive help from the government, but resulting a increase in tax
  • Deal with cause of crime, not just the effects so it can be reduced
  • Britain should have a role in Europe, but people should decide how large a part Britain play
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  • Monitored by the Electoral Commission, which now regulates UK elections
  • Some think political parties should be state funding, to keep the democracy healthy
  • If it came from Trade Unions,big businesses or wealthy individuals, they could expect favours and influence in return
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Electoral System

  • First past the post voting- only the votes of the candidate with the most votes in each constituency count
  • Doesn't give any guarantee of proportionality e.g. the candidate could win by not even achieving 20% of the vote
  • Used in UK elections
  • Produces strong  majority governments (pass laws quickly), but that wasn't the case in 2010
  • Proportional representation- seeks to give weight to every vote
  • All votes are counted and then the governing body is made up of a sample that represents the proportion of votes for each party
  • Number of seats won is more equal to number of votes
  • More coalitions or minority parties gaining influence
  • Used in European Parliament, Scottish and Welsh Assembly and common in other countries
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Voting Behaviour

It can be affected by:

  • Turnout- Many people don't bother to vote
  • Issues- Particular issues can have big effect (1980 conservatives had support from tenants)
  • Partisan alignment- 1950's class represented party (Labour-working, Conservatives- middle) but now identification is much weaker
  • Age- 18-24 less likely to vote, older voters chose Conservative (but this is changing)
  • Education- Graduates tend to vote for "third parties" such as Greens or Lib Dems
  • Gender-Women vote for parties with family issues
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The Power of pressure groups

  • A pressure group is an organised group of people who seek to influnce political decisions and policies without seeking election to public office
  • Insider pressure groups (NFU) have strong links with government and are often consulted
  • They respect confidences and don't make public attacks on ministers
  • Outsider pressure groups (Trade Unions) don't have the same privileges and the government will be largely indifferent or even hostile towards their views
  • Achieve goals in the press, publicising thier blogs and getting on radio or tv by sometimes carrying out illegal acts
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UKs role in the world

The Commonwealth of Nations

  • 53 members ( Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India ect)
  • Mostly British colonies and there are social and cultural ties between members
  • Queen is head and its headquarters are in London
  • Not a political union and its main activites are to encouarge networking and education among the member countries
  • Every 4 years there is the Commonwealth games
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UKs role in the world

The European Union

  • 27 members geographically based in Europe
  • UK joined in 1973
  • Some countries, such as Norway and Switzerland, remain outside the Union
  • Such a the UK, Denmark and Sweden, some countries havn't adopted the euro
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UKs role in the world

NATO- The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

  • 26 member
  • Ensuring that member countries don't fight with each other and their forces work together for world peace
  • NATO used to be a military alliance but now sees a wider role for itself strengthening links with former enemes from the former Soviet Union.
  • NATO forces are used where the world has decided urgent military action or international peacekeeping is needed e.g. Afghanistan
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UKs role in the world

The United Nations (UN)

  • 192 members so one of the largest international bodies
  • Difficult to make decisions on which all members agree
  • UK is a permanent member of the Security Council (responsible for international peace and security) which gives us substantial influence in UN decision making
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