Democracy in the UK

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  • Created by: Becca96
  • Created on: 25-04-14 12:00
What are the three core features of democracy in the UK?
Democratic elections, Parliament and pressure groups.
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How are elections in the UK democratic? (3)
Free and fair, universal suffrage, electoral choice.
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How are elections in the UK free and fair? (5)
Secret ballot, 'one person, one vote', PR systems for devolved bodies, establishment of Electoral Commission, fixed-term Parliaments.
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How are UK elections not free and fair? (3)
Some bodies unelected (e.g. HoL), FPTP disproportional, use of postal ballots has increased voter fraud.
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When was universal suffrage achieved in the UK?
1928
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How can universal suffrage be challenged? (2)
Some are 'unenfranchised' - members of Lords, mentally incapable, prisoners, homeless. Low turnouts, especially among poor and disadvantaged.
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How can electoral choice be challenged? (2)
Two-party system limits choice, rise of consensus politics means little difference between parties.
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How is Parliament democratic? (3)
Dominant House (Commons) is elected, scrutinises government to ensure responsible government, maintains deliberative democracy.
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How is Parliament undemocratic? (3)
House of Lords unelected, party system restricts MPs, executive control (majority in Commons).
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How are pressure groups democratic? (3)
Give a voice to minorities, allow public to express views between elections, alternative opportunity for political participation.
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How are pressure groups undemocratic? (3)
Wealthy groups dominate by funding parties, undermine Parliament, unaccountable (unelected leaders).
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What are the supplementary features of democracy in the UK? (3)
Referendums, devolution and European Parliament.
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Why have referendums been used more widely in recent years?
The increasing prominence of the issue of constitutional reform.
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What is the constitutional convention that has been established through the increased use of referendums?
All major (constitutional) changes must be endorsed directly by the public.
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Name 9 examples of recent referendums - give their dates and issues.
1997 - Scottish Parliament 1997 - Welsh Assembly 1998 - NI Assembly 1998 - Greater London Authority 2004 - North East Assembly 2011 - More powers to Wales 2011 - AV 2014 - Scottish Independence
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How is devolution democratic? (3)
Gives constituent nations of the UK a voice, refines representative democracy, widened opportunities for political engagement.
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How is devolution undemocratic? (2)
Devolved bodies have limited powers, 'The English Question' (no benefit for England).
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How is the European Parliament democratic? (2)
Allows UK citizens to exert influence in EU, elections are fixed-term and operate through PR system (closed list).
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How is the European Parliament undemocratic? (2)
Democratic deficit - European Parliament has limited control over European Commission - and rule from Brussels threatens parliamentary sovereignty which limits UK's capacity to operate as an independent democratic state.
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What were the turnouts for the 1945, 1997, 2005 and 2010 elections?
1945 - 92% 1997 - 71% 2005 - 61% 2010 - 65%
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What was Labour's membership in the 1950s and then in 2009?
1950s - 1 million 2009 - 150,000
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What was the Conservatives' membership in the 1950s and then in 2009?
1950s - 2.8 million 2009 - 250,000
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What is partisan dealignment?
A decline in voting according to party identity - greater focus on short-term factors such as qual.
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What is the alternative explanation for declining turnout and party membership?
A shift to pressure groups and protest movements.
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How can the public be blamed for declining turnout?
Increasingly consumerist society - individualism and materialism have led to a decline in social capital.
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How can the media be blamed for declining turnout? (2)
Creates a climate of cynicism, focuses on 'hype' (scandals and allegations), not debates and policy analysis
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How can politicians be blamed for declining turnout? (4)
Lack of moral direction (only interested in own career), 'age of spin' creating lack of trust, lack of choice due to the rise in consensus politics, electoral strategies which target a few 'marginal' seats and ignore the majority or voters.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

How are elections in the UK democratic? (3)

Back

Free and fair, universal suffrage, electoral choice.

Card 3

Front

How are elections in the UK free and fair? (5)

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

How are UK elections not free and fair? (3)

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

When was universal suffrage achieved in the UK?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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