UK Government and Politics Key Words

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  • Created on: 02-03-16 18:40
Citizenship
Implies that an individual has the right to live within a particular state and thus enjoy all its rights and benefits. However, in return citizens have a level of obligation.
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Political party
An association of people who share common political beliefs and aspirations. Parties normally seek to gain political power or a share of power in order to further their aims and beliefs.
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Factionalism
A tendency within parties to split into different internal groups who hold views that are at variance with the main beliefs of the party.
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Conservatism
State of mind and political movement that is naturally averse to change and reform. Sceptical about strongly held political views, prefers the known to the unknown and generally supports retention of traditional institutions and values.
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Socialism
State of mind and political movement that places values such as equality of opportunity, social justice and collectibism high on its scale of values. Opposed to free market capitalism or proposes measures to moderate the undesirable effects.
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Liberalism
A state of political mind or political movement that places freedom, rights and tolerance high on its scale of values.
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New Right
A combination of very liberal attitudes towards the free market and capitalist economy and very conservative attitudes to society, morality and the maintenance of law and order.
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New Labour
A moderate version of the old Labour Party and was seen as a combination of liberalism and social democracy.
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Consensus politics
Where two or more major parties broadly agree on most basic policies. Implies a lack of strong ideology in politics.
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Adversary politics
A circumstance where political parties are engaged in considerable conflict over political issues. Implies there are strong ideological conflicts in politics.
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Election
A process where people are given the opportunity to choose representatives who will form representative institutions and government.
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Electoral manifesto
A statement produced by a political party at election times, stating what policies it intends to implement if it gains power.
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Electoral mandate
Authority to govern granted to the winning party at an election by voters. Also implies that the government has authority to use its judgement in dealing with unforseen circumstances.
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Majoritarian representation
A political system which tends to throw up a government that enjoys a majority within representative institutions and therefore is able to dominate party politics.
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Majority systems
Description of electoral systems where the winning candidate is required to win an overall majority.
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Plurality systems
Electoral systems where the winning candidate does not require an overall majority but merely needs to win more votes than any other candidate.
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Proportional representation
Describes any electoral system that converts votes into seats in a broadly proportional way.
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Pressure group
An association that may be formal or informal whose purpose is to further the interests of a specific section of society or to promote a particular cause by influencing the government and the public.
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Sectional group
A pressure group that represents a specific section of society such as a trade union or an employer's association. Also known as an interest group.
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Promotional group
A pressure group that seeks to promote a cause rather than the interests of its own members. Also known as a cause group or an issue group.
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Insider groups
Pressure groups that operate inside the political system through contacts with ministers, MPs, peers and official committees. They are regularly consulted by government.
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Outsider groups
Pressure groups with no special links with government but seek to influence decision makers by mobilising public opinion.
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Constitution
A set of principles that establish the distribution of power within a political system, relationships between institutions, the limits of government jurisdiction, the rights of citizens and the method of amending the constitution itself.
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Judicial review
Process undertaken by senior courts where judges are required to interpret, re-interpret or clarify constitutional rules. In this way the meaning of a constitution can be clarified, adapted or applied to new circumstances.
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Unitary constitution
Sovereignty lies in one location. The central sovereign power can overrule all other bodies and has the right to restore all political power to itself.
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Federal constitution
Sovereignty is divided between central bodies and regional institutions.
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Royal prerogative
The ancient, traditional powers of the monarch. These powers do not require the sanction of Parliament, but are arbitrary. Used by the Prime Minister.
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Parliamentary government
A political system where Parliament is a central feature. Government is drawn from Parliament and is accountable to Parliament.
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Pooled sovereignty
A circumstance, as in the EU, where legal sovereignty is exercised collectively by a number of sovereign states.
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Devolution
A process of constitutional reform whereby power, but not legal sovereignty, is distributed to national or regional institutions.
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Power sharing
A method of forming a government in a divided society. To avoid conflict, all major parties, representing different sections of the community, are invited to share seats in government and develop widely agreed policies.
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Parliament
Name given to representative body. Has a number of roles including legislating, holding government to account and representing the community.
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Bicameralism
A system where there are two houses of the legislature which complement each other.
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Cabinet government
A system of government where the cabinet is the central policy-making body.
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Collective responsibility
All cabinet decisions must be collectively supported by all members of the cabinet in public. Also implies that the whole government stands or falls as one, on the decisions made by the cabinet.
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Individual ministerial responsibility
The convention that a minister should resign if their department makes a serious political or personal error. In practice, this usually means that a minister is responsible to Parliament and must face questioning and criticism.
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Presidentialism
Suggests the PM is claiming a separate source of authority, is very much a policy leader, has their own sources of advice and is considered by the media to be the main spokesperson of the government.
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Civil service neutrality
The constitutional principle that civil servants must retain political neutrality, must give neutral advice to ministers and should not become involved in party politics.
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Judicial independence
The principle that members of the judiciary should retain independence from any influence by government or parties or other political movements.
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Judicial neutrality
The principle that members of the judiciary should avoid allowing their political ideas to affect their decisions in cases. Also imples that judges should not show any systematic bias towards or against any groups in society.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

An association of people who share common political beliefs and aspirations. Parties normally seek to gain political power or a share of power in order to further their aims and beliefs.

Back

Political party

Card 3

Front

A tendency within parties to split into different internal groups who hold views that are at variance with the main beliefs of the party.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

State of mind and political movement that is naturally averse to change and reform. Sceptical about strongly held political views, prefers the known to the unknown and generally supports retention of traditional institutions and values.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

State of mind and political movement that places values such as equality of opportunity, social justice and collectibism high on its scale of values. Opposed to free market capitalism or proposes measures to moderate the undesirable effects.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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