Democracy and participation revision 2014

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Information about Democracy and participation revision 2014

Published on March 18, 2014

Author: ajo909



Edexcel A/S Government and Politics revision

Democracy and Participation Revision 2014

Topic 1: The Nature of Democracy • Lets start with this • What is politics? • Politics is about how we are governed. Ways in which decisions are made about government, state and public affairs: where power lies, how governments and states work, and different theories and practices such as democracy, equality, tyranny and violence.

3 Main elements • Be able to explain and define certain and make distinctions between democratic principals. • Be able to analyse various democratic elements and processes. • Be able to evaluate proposed changes to democracy and the extent to which the UK conforms to democratic values

Some key terms to get us going • Power • Legitimacy • Authority • Democracy • Government • Parliament • Direct Democracy • Representative Democracy • Referendum • Political Party • Pressure Group • Ideology • Liberal democracy

Democracy = a political system based on the idea that government should serve the interests of the people. People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.

From this point on you are in teams and you will build up a team score • Each week there will be set points that will require you – as a team to answer questions. • You will receive credit for correct answers • There will be a weekly team prize • There will be an ultimate prize for the overall winners

A democracy should contain 1

What’s the difference between power and authority? Power= the ability to make someone do something that they would not do of their own free will E.g - Coercion – the use of force to achieve ends – the military Authority = the right to exercise power (based on the consent of those being ruled) E.g - Legal/rational – House of Commons E.g – Traditional – House of Lords

What’s Legitimacy? Legitimacy = the extent to which a government has the right to rule and exercise power.

What makes a Government legitimate? Referendums High turnout Free, fair and regular elections Lack of dissent Displays of public support A majority of people vote for the main political party 2

House of Commons is elected Elections are free and fair Elections are held regularly There is a lack of dissent 3

Electoral system unfair and distorts political representation (FPTP)  Every government elected has only achieved the minority of the popular vote House of Lords members are not elected and so do not have the people’s consent Plus – the 2010 Coalition lacked legitimacy because no party won an overall majority and therefore the coalition does not have an electoral mandate 4

How legitimate is the UK Government? Legitimate Not legitimate  House of Commons is elected  Electoral system unfair and distorts political representation (FPTP)  Government elected with mandate to govern  Every government elected has only achieved the minority of the popular vote  House of Lords has traditional authority and political influence is widely recognised  House of Lords members are not elected and so do not have the people’s consent Plus – the 2010 Coalition lacked legitimacy because no party won an overall majority and therefore the coalition does not have an electoral mandate

Political Participation: How do you do it? Voting Contact local politician Member of political party. Wearing a party badge or putting up campaign poster Seeking election Membership of pressure groups Attending meeting, canvassing, distributing leaflets Television or radio phone-in programme Participating opinion polls or focus groups. Taking direct action Political violence Political discussion. 5

Home work • Revise the different forms of democracy – Direct – Representative – Liberal – Pluralist

We are all in this together • Group C – Direct Democracy – pros/cons and examples – compare with Representative Democracy • Group B – Representative Democracy – pro/cons and examples – compare with Direct Democracy • Groups D – Liberal and Pluralist democracy – definitions/differences – compare to direct and representative democracy • Group A– Referendums – what/when/pros/cons and examples • Prepare a presentation 5 minutes maximum for tomorrows lesson, e mail to me or bring on a stick. (Try to keep to 6 slides )

Please score each of the sections in the presentations out of 10: Give a total out of 30 Content Clarity Style Total Score Team A Team B Team C Team D

Political Participation

What does this slide tell you about political participation in the UK?

What does this slide tell you about political participation in the UK?

What does this slide tell you about political participation in the UK?

2010 Election

There are 111 MPs in the 2010 parliament with less than 40 per cent support from their own voters. (and we call ourselves a democracy)

You thought the last slide was bad!!!

Electoral system bias • The Liberal Democrats received 23 per cent of the vote, and only 8.8 per cent of seats. This is a systematic property of the FPTP electoral system, demonstrated again and again in UK election results.

Systems compared: If the 2010 election had used different voting systems

Why do people participate? • Most democratic citizens feel that some level of political participation, particularly conventional participation, is admirable and acceptable. But political participation can be hard: One must find time, and perhaps money, in order to participate. So why do people do it? People participate in politics out of a sense of the following: • Idealism: Some participate because they believe strongly in a particular idea. • Responsibility: For many, participation is a responsibility of democratic citizenship. • Self-interest: A person might work to promote issues and causes that personally profit that person. • Enjoyment: Some simply enjoy public activity, either because of the activity itself or because of the friends they make while politically engaged.

How could participati on be improved? Compulsory Voting Voting at 16 Education E - democracy

Votes at 16 For • Young people become politically aware • Improved political identification • Makes political education relevant Against • Too young to make a judgement • Lack of interest • Deliberate distortion of policies to attract young voters Education For • Improved political knowledge • Encourages engagement Against • Expensive • Would it really generate interest? E Democracy For • Greater access • Direct democracy • Increased turnout • Access to independent data Against • Fraud/Hacking • Exclusion of those who have not got internet access Compulsory Voting For • Increased turnout • Forces people to think about politics • Results have greater legitimacy Against • Abuse of freedom • Expensive • Cannot solve apathy

Is the UK Democratic? Yes we are 1. Regular and free elections 2. Free Media 3. Many democratic institutions 4. Freedom to vote, be elected etc 5. Government is accountable to Parliament and the people 6. Use of Referendums 7. Convention of Human Rights 8. Rule of Law applies to all 9. Freedom of information Act

Is the UK Democratic? No we are not 1. House of Lords 2. Unfair voting system 3. Government elected on a minority vote 4. Powers of the PM 5. No written constitution 6. Power transfers to EU 7. Declining political participation 8. Growing political disengagement

How to solve these problems? • Disillusionment with politicians • Power of recall if an MP is unsatisfactory • People feel excluded from politics • Lower the voting age, more referendums • Ignorance of political issues • Greater political/citizenship education • Low electoral turnout • Reform of the voting system to PR, make it easier to vote

How can democracy be improved? Elected Head of State Elected second chamber Reform the voting system Increase the use of referendums Codified Constitution Decentralised political system For each of these points you must be able to make points for and against

“In what ways has political participation in the UK declined in recent years?” (10) • The first thing to note is that this question is asking you how participation has declined, not why it has declined. Failure to appreciate this distinction will cost you valuable marks. Neil McNaughton’s AS level textbook points out that participation has declined in 3 main ways: • 1) Voter turnout • 2) Party membership • 3) Partisan dealignment • For this type of question, 7 marks are awarded for Knowledge and Understanding (AO1), and 3 marks are allocated for your level of explanation (AO2). Good exam technique to access all these marks is: • 1) Write 3 paragraphs • 2) Focus on a major point in each paragraph, e.g. voter turnout • 3) Include 2-3 facts in each paragraph – e.g. levels of turnout across a number of elections • 4) Explain your facts by linking to the question – e.g. why voter turnout is an important indicator of levels of participation.

Model answer In what ways has political participation declined in the UK in a recent years? • One sign that participation has declined in the UK is falling voter turnout. In 1979 76% of the electorate turned out to vote, whereas in 2001 it declined to 59.4%, recovering only slightly to 65.2% in 2010. Voting is an important form of political participation because it is the direct involvement of citizens in the selection of their political leaders. It’s decline is an important indicator of a fall in participation. • A second indicator of falling participation is levels of party membership. In 1980 nearly 1.7 million people were members of a political party, about 4.12% of the electorate. This had declined to only 476,000 by 2008, a mere 0.95% of the population. Conservative Party membership fell from 1.2 million to 0.17 million in the same period. By joining a political party people are involved in influencing their politicians and taking part in campaigning, hence their increasing unwillingness to do so shows a significant fall in participation. • Finally, an idea called partisan dealignment suggests that participation has fallen in the UK. This idea means that people increasingly identify less closely with political parties than they used to. Traditionally, many working class people, for example, got involved with and voted for Labour out of class loyalty. Such loyalty to a political party has declined significantly over the past 30 years, and suggests that fewer people are taking an interest in politics and participation. • AO1 Knowledge (7 marks) – non-italicised • AO2 Explanation (3 marks) – italicised

What do we mean by Democratic deficit? • A democratic deficit is when a political state is more undemocratic than democratic. Policies to address this deficit are usually described as democratic renewal. • The reasons why there is a democratic deficit include: • falling political participation – renewal policies include increasing voter turnout in general and trying to engage young people with the democratic process. • the persistence of undemocratic institutions within the system of government - e.g. the House of Lords – renewal policies generally involve constitutional and parliamentary reform • the increased centralisation of power that is insufficiently accountable within government - e.g. the prime minister's prerogative powers. – renewal policies generally include devolution and other constitutional reforms.

What do we mean by Democratic renewal? • To fix the deficit we renew 1. The increased use of the internet and social networking by government, parties and other political agencies might engage more people in politics, especially the young. 2. Extending the voting age to 16 plus might engage young people at an earlier stage. 3. The reform of institutions referred to in the previous lesson, including a reformed voting system, 4. might possibly help to correct the low esteem in which politicians and institutions are now held. 5. Citizenship education might be more focused on respect for institutions and an understanding of key issues. 6. The further use of television debates, as used in the 2010 election, might engage a wider range of people. 7. Improved and more convenient voting systems, such as postal votes and internet voting, might help to increase turnout.

Assessment 1. What is meant by Pluralist democracy? (5) 2. Explain 3 ways in which the British political system may be seen as undemocratic (10) 3. Explain the democratic deficit and ways in which it can be eliminated. (25)

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