Democracy and political participation

What two core principles is democracy based on?
Political participation and political equality
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What is political participation?
The people have a say over policy decisions- government by the people
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What is political equality?
Each citizen no matter who they are has the same chance and opportunity as any other person to influence government decisions
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What is the success of direct democracy based on?
The extent of popular participation
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Where did direct democracy used to be used?
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What is an example of direct democracy being used in our society and government?
A referendum
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What is direct democracy?
Where the people decide over matters of policy and there is no middle man
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What is representative democracy?
Where the people elect others in authority to represent them and make the policy decisions for them
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What is the effectiveness of representative democracy based on?
The extent of popular control over government
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How is direct democracy used in the 21st century?
As a supplement
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Name a pressure group that uses direct democracy?
The occupy movement
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What are the key features of direct democracy?
Direct, unmediated and continuous
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What does "direct" mean?
The people make policy decisions themselves
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What does "unmediated" mean?
That the will of the people does not go through the hands of a middle man or politician
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What does "continuous" mean?
That it is ongoing and never stops, decisions are made when they need to be made
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What are the key features of a representative democracy?
limited, indirect and mediated
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What three things are needed for a representative democracy to function?
Universal suffrage, free and fair elections and inter-party competition
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What is evidence that our democracy lacks competition?
In Eastbourne only the Conservatives or Liberal democrats have a chance of winning and the existence of safe seats
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What does "limited" mean in regards to representative democracy?
That voting is infrequent and brief and only happens every 4-5 years.
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What does "indirect" mean?
The public don't exercise power themselves they simply elect others to do this.
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What does "mediated" mean?
The views of the public are transferred through a representative institution
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What is a strength of representative democracy to do with modern societies?
It is the only form of democracy that functions in modern societies with large populations
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What percentage of the population participate in protests?
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Do the public hold ultimate power in representative democracies?
Yes as they are the people who vote the parties and people in and thus hold the power
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Many people would argue that representative democracy is strong as we are governed by....?
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What does representative democracy encourage?
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What does representative democracy relieve the ordinary citizens from?
The burden of decision making
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What could you argue that representative democracy has created?
A gap between the people and politics
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What does representative democracy place in politicians that is a heavy burden?
Too much faith
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What has representative democracy made the act of voting?
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A weakness of representative democracy- are politicians truly accountable?
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What is the only pure form of democracy?
Direct democracy
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Why is direct democracy good for citizens?
You can truly express your view and it creates more advanced and knowledgeable citizens
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Why is direct democracy good for politicians?
It relieves them of the burden they carry from the citizens
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Where is direct democracy only achievable?
In small societies
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Why is direct democracy bad for ordinary citizens?
Because they are restricted from carrying out everyday tasks
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How can speeches from passionate speakers affect a mass audience such as that in a direct democracy?
Large audiences are more likely to be swayed and views distorted by passionate speakers
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What is a liberal democracy?
A representative democracy that is founded on the values of liberalism
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What was the magna carta?
A charter signed by King John and his barons, established that no man should be punished without a trial before his peers and that ancient liberties should be preserved.
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Name the 6 features of a UK democracy
Democratic elections, pressure groups, referendums, parliament, devolution and the EU parliament
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What are the core features of a UK democracy?
Democratic elections, parliament and pressure groups
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What are the supplementary features of the UK's democracy?
Devolution, referendums and the EU parliament
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Why are elections in the UK democratic?
They are free and fair, based on universal suffrage and we have electoral choice
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Provide evidence for the fact that we have electoral choice
We can choose from a variety of over 100 parties
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Provide evidence that UK elections are fair
The secret ballot was introduced in 1872 and the existence of the electoral commission
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Provide evidence that the electoral system in the UK isn't fair
Some positions, such as in the house of lords, are unelected which undermines the representation of government and the FPTP system has been highly criticised
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At what date was universal suffrage achieved in the UK?
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Provide evidence that we do not have universal suffrage in the UK
The homeless, those under the mental health act and prisoners cannot vote.
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What does parliament ensure?
A representative government (is democratic)
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How do we maintain a deliberative democracy?
The house of commons debates on issues (thus is democratic)
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How does parliament ensure a responsible government?
By overseeing and scrutinising the actions of government
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What affect does party rules and regulations have on the representativeness of government?
MP's cannot truly represent their constituents as they often have to follow the rules and regulations of the party and give in to the pressure of the party whips
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Why is parliaments ability to scrutinise the government weak?
Because often the ruling party has the majority seats in government and thus the oppositions abilities to scrutinise are minimal
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Why could it be said that pressure groups lacked effectiveness in promoting democracy?
Because they often have unelected leaders who are thus not accountable, concentrate their power, have the ability to influence politics through money (sponsorship) and bypass parliament when making decisions
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What is a referendum?
A vote in which the electorate can express a view on a particular issue of public policy. It is an example of direct democracy.
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Are refferendums always binding?
No, often they are advisory
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Give an example of a non-binding referendum
The Nice Treaty in Ireland
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What do many people argue referendums undermine?
The popular authority of government
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What did the Good Friday Agreement create?
The Northern Irish Assembly
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What is devolution?
Giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament and Northern Irish and Welsh assemblies
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What is the west lothian question?
The problem and question that has arose due to devolution from the British people- why don't we have our own parliament and advance representation, if every other country in the UK does?
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What type of a voting system does the EU parliament use?
A proportional one
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How often do elections to the EU parliament take place?
Every 5 years
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What has the EU created that limits how democratic the UK's democracy is?
A democratic deficit as it has the least influence over policy and also a threat to parliamentary sovereignty
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What is a democratic deficit
When democratic organisations or institutions (usually governments) are seen to be falling short of fulfilling the principles of the parliamentary democracy.
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Where in the UK was there 0% turnout and at what election?
In Newport, Wales, at the PCC elections
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What was the voter turnout in 2001 for the general election?
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In the 20th century, around what percentage did the voter turnout used to be?
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By how many members has the labour party fallen from the mid 1950's?
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By how many members has the conservative party fallen from the mid 1950's?
2.5 million
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List the ways that the Uk's democracy could be improved
Lower the voting age, digital democracy, increase the use of referendums, compulsory voting, and fixed term elections
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Name countries with compulsory voting
Italy, Spain, Australia and France
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What is a benefit of having compulsory voting?
That it will increase voter turnout
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What country has the highest voter turnout?
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What are the arguments for digital democracy?
Easier access to information, easier and quicker participation and easier organisation
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What are the arguments against digital democracy?
Electoral malpractice, virtual democracy and the digital divide (elderly unable to use technology)
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Where in the world uses the voting age of 16?
Some states in Germany, the Isle of Wight and Cuba
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What parties in the UK back lowering the voting age?
The greens, liberal democrats, plaid cymru and the scottish nationalists
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What other things can teenagers do at 16?
Have sex and therefore have children, join the army and get married
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What are the arguments for lowering the voting age?
Responsibilities without rights, youth interests are ignored in parliament, stronger political engagement and an irrational cut-off age
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What are the arguments against lowering the voting age?
immature voters, preserving childhood, deferred representation and undermining voter turnout
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What is political participation?


The people have a say over policy decisions- government by the people

Card 3


What is political equality?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is the success of direct democracy based on?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Where did direct democracy used to be used?


Preview of the front of card 5
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