Politics AS

Politics AS - People and politics


Elections and voting

Elections are a method of filing an office or post through choices made by the electorate. The democratic character of elections is ensured by universal suffrage, political equality, the secret ballot and electoral choice.

The main functions of elections are to form governments, ensure representation and maintain legitimacy.

The main voting systems used in the UK are: FPTP, AMS,STV,regional party list and AV/SV

FPTP used for westminster elections, important implications include: systematic biases in favour of large parties, tendency towards a two-party system and single-party government.

sociological model- relationship between social factors and voting. party-identification model- voters loyalty or attachment towards a party. issue model-portrays voters as rationally self-interested actors 

voting affected by:

long term factors- age, social class, race, gender, region and party loyalty

short term factors- party policies, performance and image of parties, effectiveness of party leaders and tactical considerations.

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political parties

a political party is a group of people that is organized for the purpose of winning government power.In a democratic system, parties do this by putting candidates up for election. Main functions of parties include: representation, policy formulation,recruitment of political leaders, organization of government and mobilization of the electorate.

The 'Thatcherite' revolution amounted to a counter- revolution against both the post- war drift towards state intervention and the spread of liberal progressive social values.'economic Thatcherism'  was characterized by a belief in individualism and the free market. ' social Thatcherism' was characterized by the desire to strengthen the state and traditional values.

Blairism and new labour have been associated with acceptance of market economics, support for constitutional reform and third way approach to welfare. New Labour set out to build on Thatcherism rather than trying to reverse it.

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Pressure groups

A pressure group is an organized group of people that aims to influence the policies or actions of government, typically having a narrow issue focus and being united by either shared interests or a common cause 

insider pressure groups-exist to advance or protect the interests of their members.Enjoy regular, privileged and institutional access to government. Promotional groups-exist to promote particular values, ideals or principles, and are motivated by the desire to better others or society as a whole. Outsider groups- not consulted by government or only consulted irregularly and not at a senior level

pressure groups provide a range of functions: provide representation, create opportunities for political participation, educate the electorate, contribute to the formulation of policy and sometimes help implement government policy.

ways pressure groups can exert influence: prominent pressure-group methods, contact with ministers and senior civil servants, lobbying parliament, developing links with political parties, public opinions or media campaigns and use of direct action 

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