Elections and Democracy

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  • Created by: Becca96
  • Created on: 28-04-14 11:50
What makes UK elections democratic? (4)
Secret ballot, one person has one vote, competition between candidates, universal suffrage.
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What are the main elections in the UK and how frequently are they held? (4)
General elections (every 5 years), European elections (every 5 years), local elections (every 4-5 years), devolved body elections (every 4 years)
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What are the functions of elections? (3)
To appoint government, to ensure representation and to uphold legitimacy.
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How can the appointment of government function of elections be challenged?
PR systems rarely deliver single-party majority, leading to coalition government which takes more time to negotiate and implement policy.
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How do elections ensure representation? Who are the people linked to? (2)
Links constituents to their parliamentary representatives allowing redress of grievances. Creates a link between government and public opinion, making government responsive.
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How do elections fail to ensure representation? (2)
Long, 5 year terms and lack of agreement on the best way for MPs to represent constituents.
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How do elections fail to uphold legitimacy? (2)
Low turnout indicates voter apathy, and falling party membership indicates lack of satisfaction/engagement.
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What were the turnout levels for the 2001, 2005 and 2010 elections?
2001 - 59% 2005 - 61% 2010 - 65%
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What are the three types of representation?
Trusteeship (Burkean representation), doctrine of the mandate, descriptive representation.
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What is trusteeship?
Politicians use their education and experience to make their own judgement on what is best for the public.
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How can trusteeship be criticised? (2)
Politicians are mainly white, middle class males ('Westminster bubble'). Outdated due to the party system - MPs can only use their own judgement in 'free votes'.
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What is representation through the doctrine of the mandate?
Public consents to being governed by a party according to their manifesto promises. It is therefore the party, not individual MPs, that serve constituents (by being loyal to a party).
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How can representation through the doctrine of the mandate be criticised? (3)
There is little evidence that voters base vote on manifesto content - may be based on long term factors such as partisanship. Manifestos may include 'vote winning' promises that are difficult to implement in practice. Coalitions -no mandate democracy
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What is descriptive representation?
Representatives resemble the group they claim to speak for. Would result in a legislature that resembled a 'microcosm of wider society'. Range of ages, ethnicities, wealth, religion, gender etc.
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How can descriptive representation be challenged? (2)
Difficult to decide on a broader public interest, would reflect weaknesses of society (if many are apathetic and ill informed).
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What did the Labour party do that proved descriptive representation is difficult to achieve in practice?
Labour party used all-women shortlists to boost representation - declared illegal.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What are the main elections in the UK and how frequently are they held? (4)

Back

General elections (every 5 years), European elections (every 5 years), local elections (every 4-5 years), devolved body elections (every 4 years)

Card 3

Front

What are the functions of elections? (3)

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

How can the appointment of government function of elections be challenged?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

How do elections ensure representation? Who are the people linked to? (2)

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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