Political participation ensures Active Citizenship:
- Developed by the Labour Party circles in the 1990s.
- This is the duty for all citizens to be politically active and it not just be a right.
- This was described by David Cameron.
- This empowers the community and gets everyone involved.
- It contains value consensus which means people have shared values.
- This is a society where people are more open.
Ways to participate in Politics
We can participate in politics by:
- Voting in elections and referendums.
- Joining an e-petition.
- Signing a petition.
- Protesting through PGs- striking etc.
- Not vote at all.
- Leaving your ballot blank or spoiling it,
- Joining a political party.
- Being informed (educated).
- Become active in a party.
- Standing for political office.
Ways that Political participation can be increased
Political Participation can be increased by:
- Increasing political education in secondary schools and making it compulsory. e,g citizenship lessons. This will give them a wider knowledge to use, if they wish-they will have the choice.
- However, there could be political bias by teachers, some teachers may not be fully educated on politics. Even with political education, they may still choose to not vote.
- Reducing the voting age to 16. 16 year olds are interested in politics and their age braqcket is not being represented because they are not a child, but are not adults yet. They pay taxes, can get a job, join the army etc so why can't they vote. E.g the Scottish Indepedence Referendum allowed 16 & 17 year olds to vote and 80% voted.
- However, it is argued that some will be uneducated in politics and may not actually vote as a result. Also some 16 year olds are immature and my not vote in the correct manner.
- Changing the voting system: FPTP is undemocratic and people feel their vote is wasted so why bother. E.g UKIP only gained 1 seat with millions of votes.
- However, FPTP is still democratic and the system won't change people's attitudes on politics in general. E.g AV referendym had a majority No vote.
- Increased use of referendums: Direct democracy- it will make people used to voting and make them feel included.
- However, Voter fatigue
The turnout is the result of a general election and how many voted:
- In the last 30 years, the voter turnout of general elections has fallen, risen and fallen etc.
- In 1945, the voter turnout of the GE was around 79%.
- Whereas in 2015 the voter turnout was 66.1%.
- A decline in turnout suggests that people have partisan dealignment, voter fatigue, lack political knowledge and political apathy.
- The Conservatives have won a majority more than other parties.
- There was 3 years in a row where the Labour Party won the majority.
Party Membership is the number of people part of a political party:
- 1980: the party membership was 1,693,156 and 4.12%.
- Whereas in 2010, the party membership were 397,000 and 0.80%.
- This shows that there was a decline in party membership in the 20 years of a GE.
Pressure Groups are organisations who tries to influence public policy in the interest of a particular cause.
- A source of political participation.
- They a from of free democracy where people have the right to express their views and protest against the govt's policies.
- Insider PGs, Outsider PGs, Sectional PGs and Promotional PGs.
- Members of PGs strike, lobby MPs, raise political issues, protest, go on marches etc.
- They try to get the govt's attention on issues.
- E.g Uk Uncut protested outside shops that were tax dodgers.
- E.g BMA-junior doctor strikes.
Membership of PGs
Membership of PGs:
- The Institute of Directors: 43,000.
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB): 1,000,000 +.
- Unison: 1.3 million.
- Taxpayers' Alliance: 65,000.
- National Farmers' Alliance: 63,000.
- 38 Degrees: 900,000.
Growth of e-democracy
The growth of e-democracy is important because:
- The use of the internet and social media has dramatically increased during the years.
- It is the main resource of information for most people as society uses the internet more for everything.
- E-democracy can spread political opinions and views to a wider audience all across the country.
- this means that everybody will have a say, through social media during debates and online to ask their questions to their MPs.
- It is easier for people to search for things about politics online as it only takes seconds.