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Politics (Mr. Buckland) > Democracy And Participation > Flashcards

Flashcards in Democracy And Participation Deck (109):
1

What is direct democracy?

A form of democracy where the people themselves make key decisions. In modern societies this usually takes the form of holding referendums.

2

What is representative democracy?

A form of democracy where the people elect or somehow choose representatives who make political decisions on their behalf.

3

Advantages of direct democracy?

It is the purest form of democracy. The people’s voice is heard

It can avoid delay and deadlock within the political system

The fact that people are making a decision gives a great legitimacy

4

In representative democracy what is meant by accountability?

This means that those who have been elected in a representative democracy must be made responsible for their policies,actions, decisions and general conduct. Without such accountability, representation becomes meaningless.

5

Disadvantages of direct democracy?

- Can lead to ‘tyranny of the majority’, whereby the winning party simply ignored the interests of the minority

- People may be swayed by short term emotional appeals by charismatic individuals

- Some issues may be too extreme for normal people to understand

6

What is social representation?

Characteristics of members of representative bodies should be broadly in line with the characteristics of the population as a whole.

7

What is meant by representing the national interest?

Although representatives may be elected locally, if they sit in the national parliament they're expected to represent the nation as a whole which may clash with the view of their constituency. For example, Labour MP Zac Goldsmith protested the third Heathrow runway.

8

What is redress of grievances?

The practice, adopted by many elected representatives, of taking up the case of an individual constituent who feels they've been mistreated by a national agency to show how they stand up for their people.

9

Advantages of representative democracy?

Elected representatives may have better judement than the mass of people

Elected represenatives may be more rational and not swung by emotion

Representatives can stand up for the minority

10

What are the 5 levels of representation in the UK?

Parish or town councils

Local councils

Metropolitan authorities

Devolved government

National government

11

What are parish or town councils?

Lowest level of government. Only a minority (20%) of people come from within the jurisdiction of town council. They deal with local issues such as parks, gardens and parking restrictions

12

What are local councils?

May be county councils, district councils or metropolitan councils depending on the area. Deal with local services such as education, public transport, roads and public health

13

What are metropolitan authorities?

A big city government such as London or Manchester. Deal with strategic city issues such as policing, public transport, large planning issues and emergency services. Normally have an elected mayor

14

What is a peaceful transition of power?

It means that those who lose power by democratic means accept the authority of those who’ve won. If they don’t politics breaks down.

15

What are free elections?

The description of free means that all adults are able to vote and stand for office. It also implies there is secret ballot. If there is not, votes can be bought and sold

16

How democratic is the UK - Peaceful transitition of power?

Yes
The UK is remarkably conflict free

No
N/A

17

How democratic is the UK - Free elections?

Yes
All over 18 can vote.
There’s little electoral fraud and there exists strong legal safeguards.

No
The House of Lords is not elected at all, nor is the head of state

18

How democratic is the UK - Fair elections?

Yes
There are proportional systems in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and for European parliamentary elections

No
The FPTP system for elections leads to disproportionate results and many wasted votes

19

How democratic is the UK - Widespread participation?

Yes
There is extensive membership of pressure groups, which are free and active. Growing level of participation in e-democracy

No
Turnout at elections and referendums has been falling. So too has party membership, especially among the young

20

How democratic is the UK - Freedom of expression?

Yes
The press and broadcast media are free of government interference. Broadcast media maintain political neutrality. Free access to internet

No
Much ownership of the press is in the hands of a few large powerful companies

21

How democratic is the UK - Freedom of association?

Yes
There are no restrictions on legal organisations

No
Some associations are banned but this is because they are seen as based on terrorism or racial hatred

22

How democratic is the UK - Protection of rights and liberties?

Yes
Strong in the UK. The country is signed up to the ECHR and the courts enforce it. House of Lords protects rights as does the judiciary.

No
Parliament is sovereign, which means rights are at the mercy of a government with a strong majority in the House of Commons. The ECHR is not binding on the UK Parliament

23

How democratic is the UK - the rule of law?

Yes
Upheld strictly by the judiciary. The right to judicial review underpins this. The judiciary is independant and non-political

No
N/A

24

How democratic is the UK - Limited government and constitutionalism?

Yes
Parliament and the courts do ensure the government acts within the law

No
There’s no codified UK Constitution so the limits to government power are vague. Parliamentary sovereignity means the government’s powers could be increased without a constitutional safeguard.

25

How has membership of the main parties changed from 1980 to 2016?

Fell from 1.69 million to 490,000

26

Labour membership change?

In 2015 the price was dropped to just £3 to allow more to vote in leadership elections

A largely new cohort elected Jeremy Corbyn and thus changed the direction of the party.

This was political activism of a new kind

552,000 members

27

How has SNP membership changed?

Following the Scottish referendum in 2014, membership of SNP surged to 100,000 members in a country whos population is just 5 million

28

How has turnout in elections changed from 1980 to 2017

Fell from 76.0 to 68.7

High in 1992 at 77.7

Low in 2001 at 59.4

29

How does UK turnout compare?

Higher than France 2012 which was 55.4

Higher than USA 2016 which was 55.0

30

What was the turnout in the 1998 should London have a mayor referendum?

34.1%

31

What was the turnout in the devoution referendums?

Scotland 60.4

Wales 50.1

Northern Ireland 81.0

32

What was the turnout fro Brexit 2016 and Scottish Independence 2014?

Brexit 72.2

Scotland 84.6

33

Epetitions?

Require little effort and support are more technological world.

Should there be a 2nd referendum? 3.8 million

34

Franchise?

The right to vote in free elections

35

Second Reform Act 1867?

Extends the right to vote, though it only double the electorate to about 2 million. Women and the propertyless are excluded

36

Great Reform Act 1832?

Franchise is extended to new classes of people including shopkeepers and small farmers and anyone whose property attracts a rent of at least £10 per annum. The proportion of the adult population allowed to vote rose to 6% from 4%

37

Ballot Act 1872?

Introduces the secret ballot. Main result is that votes can no longer be bought by corrupt candidates

38

Third Reform Act 1884?

Franchise extended to most working men. About 60% of adults over 21 have the right to vote

39

Representation of People Act 1918?

Most adult men are given the right to vote, plus women over 30 who are either married or a property owner or a graduate in their own right

40

Representation of the People Act 1928?

This extends the franchise to adults over 21, including women

41

Representation of the people act 1948?

‘One person, one vote’

Previously some universities returned their own mp. Meaning, people who were members of the universities had two votes - one for the uni member and one for the constituency where they lived

42

Representation of the people act 1969?

Voting age in the UK is reduced from 21 to 18

43

Scottish elections (reduction of voting age 2016?

In 2014, for the first time in UK history 16 and 17 year olds voted in the Scottish independence referendum. Under the 2016 act, this is extended to all elections in Scotland

44

Should 16 and 17 year olds be given the right to vote? YES ANSWERS

With the spread of citizenship education, the internet and social media young people are now better informed about politics than before

If one is old enough to serve in the army, get married or pay tax, one should be old enough to vote

45

Should 16 and 17 year olds be allowed to vote? NO ANSWERS

People of 16 and 17 years are too young to be able to make rational decisions

Many issues are too complex for young people to understand

Few people in this age gap pay tax so they have a lower stake in society.

46

Should the UK introduce compulsory voting? YES ANSWERS

It may force more votes, especially the young, to make themselves more informed about political issues

By increasing turnout it will give greater democratic legitimacy to the party or individuals who win an election

By ensuring more sections of society are involved, decision makers will have to ensure policies address the concerns of all parts of society

47

Should the UK introduce compulsory voting? NO ANSWERS

It is civil liberties violation. Many argue it’s a basic right not to take part

Many voters are not well informed and yet they’ll be voting, so there will be ill-informed participation

Will involve large costs to adminster and enforce the system

48

What are devolved governments?

Governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They have varying power, all deal with health, social services, education, policing and transport. All have elected represenative assemblies

49

What is the national government?

Jurisdiction of the UK Parliament at Westminster and the UK Government

50

What is the doctrine of the mandate?

That whatever party wins no matter of the margin of the victory is granted democratic authority to carry out all aspects of their manifesto.

51

Strengths of the doctrine of the mandate?

Grants a clear authority to an incoming government and so strengthens its legitimacy

It allows Parliament and the voters to judge the performance of government effectively.

Demonstrates clearly when a government may be overstepping its elective authority

52

Weaknesses of the doctrine of the mandate?

Parties in the UK today are always elected with less than 50% of the popular vote, so their mandate can be called into question

Those who voted for the governing party don't necceserily support all its manifesto commitments

It's not clear whether the government has a mandate to carry out policies not contained in its last election manifesto.

53

What is meant by representing the national interest?

Although representatives may be elected locally, if they sit in the national parliament they're expected to represent the nation as a whole which may clash with the view of their constituency. For example, Labour MP Zac Goldsmith protested the third Heathrow runway.

54

What is redress of grievances?

The practice, adopted by many elected representatives, of taking up the case of an individual constituent who feels they've been mistreated by a national agency to show how they stand up for their people.

55

Advantages of representative democracy?

Elected representatives may have better judement than the mass of people

Elected represenatives may be more rational and not swung by emotion

Representatives can stand up for the miority

56

What are the 5 levels of representation in the UK?

Parish or town councils

Local councils

Metropolitan authorities

Devolved government

National government

57

What are parish or town councils?

Lowest level of government. Only a minority (20%) of people come from within the jurisdiction of town council. They deal with local issues such as parks, gardens and parking restrictions

58

What are local councils?

May be county councils, district councils or metropolitan councils depending on the area. Deal with local services such as education, public transport, roads and public health

59

What are metropolitan authorities?

A big city government such as London or Manchester. Deal with strategic city issues such as policing, public transport, large planning issues and emergency services. Normally have an elected mayor

60

What are devolved governments?

Governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They have varying power, all deal with health, social services, education, policing and transport. All have elected represenative assemblies

61

What is the national government?

Jurisdiction of the UK Parliament at Westminster and the UK Government

62

What is the doctrine of the mandate?

That whatever party wins no matter of the margin of the victory is granted democratic authority to carry out all aspects of their manifesto.

63

Strengths of the doctrine of the mandate?

Grants a clear authority to an incoming government and so strengthens its legitimacy

It allows Parliament and the voters to judge the performance of government effectively.

Demonstrates clearly when a government may be overstepping its elective authority

64

Weaknesses of the doctrine of the mandate?

Parties in the UK today are always elected with less than 50% of the popular vote, so their mandate can be called into question

Those who voted for the governing party don't necceserily support all its manifesto commitments

It's not clear whether the government has a mandate to carry out policies not contained in its last election manifesto.

65

What is meant by an MP representing national interest?

Though MP’s are elected locally when sat at national parliament they have to represent the nation as a whole.

Can cause issues if their constituency feels stronly eg Labour MP Zac Goldsmith campaigned against 3rd runway

66

Manifesto?

A statement of party’s agreed policies produced during an election campaign to inform the public

67

Advantages of representative democracy?

Elected representatives may have better judgement than average people

Elected representatives may be more rational and not swayed by emotion

Representatives can protect interests of the minority

68

Strengths of the doctrine of mandate?

It grants clear authority to an incoming government and so strengths their authority.

Allows parliament and the voters to judge performance of government effectively.

Demonstrates clearly when a government may be overstepping its authority

69

Weaknesses of doctrine of mandate?

Parties in the UK are always elected with less than 50% of vote, bringing their mandate into question

Those who voted for the governing party don’t necceserily support all its manifesto policies


70

Disadvantages of direct democracy?

It can lead to 'tyranny of the majority', whereby the winning majority simply ignores the interests of the minority.

People may be swung by short-term emotional appeals by charismatic individuals

Some issues may be too complex for the ordinary citizen to understand

71

What is social representation?

The characteristics of members of the representative bodies, whether national or local should be in line with the nation as a whole. For instance, half men and women and a proportio drawn from ethnic minorities.

72

Functions of pressure groups?1/2

Represent and promote the interests of certain sections of the community that they feel aren't fully represented by Parliament

Protect the interests of minority groups

Promote certain causes that haven't been adequately taken up by political parties

73

What are the two types of pressure group?

Promotional group

Sectional group

74

What is a promotional group?

seek to promote a particular cause, to convert the ideas behind the cause into government action or legislation. (Greenpeace)

75

What is a sectional group?

Represent a particular section of the community. Sectional groups are self-interested in that the hope to pursue the interests specifically of their own

Some sectional groups may be hybrid in that they believe by serving the interests of their own members, wider society willbenefit. Eg teachers unions, better pay = better education

76

Who are insiders?

Seek to become involved in the early stages of policy and law making

Some such groups employ professional lobbyists whose job it is to gain access to decision makers and make presentations of their case

Government uses special committees to give advice on potential law changes such as trade unions.

77

Who are outsiders?

Usually promotional groups

Typical methods include public campaigning, in recent times often using new media to reach large parts of the population

Don't have to behave as reasonably as insiders and so often use civil disobedience acts including strikes

78

Methods used by pressure groups?

Access points and lobbying

Public campaigning

Funding

79

Access points and lobbying?

Insiders who are listened to by decision makers, sit on committees at local, regional, national or even european level.

Groups who don't have such contacts seek to foster relationships with councillors or more local representatives

80

Public campaigning?

Groups without access to government tend to mobilise public opinion to promote themselves. This ranges from mass acts of disobedience to online petitions

Eg Plane Stupid who aim to prevent airport expansion -
Invade airports in order to block flights
Occupy airport terminals
Organise e-petitions
Delayed Heathrow expansion with a judicial review case

81

Money to favour their case?

It's common for groups to make grants to political parties as a means of finding favour for their case. Trade Unions have always supported Labour whilst large corporations tend to favour the Conservatives

82

Success factors that affect pressure groups?

Size

Finance

Public mood

83

How size affects the success of pressure groups?

The more supporters a group has, the more pressure it can put on decision makers.

Age UK, which campaigns on behalf of the elderly, has had many successes, not least because it represents such a large proportion of society but older people tend to vote in larger numbers than the young

84

How finance affects the success of pressure groups?

Wealthy groups can afford expensive campaigns, employ lobbyists, sponsor political parties and purchase favourable publicity.

The banking industry and business groups such as CBI have secured favourable treatment from governments.

85

How public mood affects the success of pressure groups?

Combination or public sentiment and strong campaigning can be successful in bringing an issue to the attention of decision makers.

This has been the case with ASH - who campaign on the affects of smoking on health - where anti-smoking feeling combined with a successful lobbying campaign in the last 2 decades resulted in success.

The same can be said for LGBT groups, where notably religious sentiment has changed such as The pope

86

Reasons for failure of pressure groups?

Too small and limited funds

Unsympathetic government

Powerful countervailing groups

87

How can pressure groups having limited funding affect their success?

These groups commonly represent rare medical conditions which affect less people or are relatively new.

This problem also relates to 'hyperpluralism' whereby people dont agree with whole party manifesto's but specific issues. Meaning government has so many different groups to satisfy and small groups are drowned out.

88

How does an unsympathetic government affect pressure groups?

Trade Unions have problems influencing Conservative governments while Labour is usually unsympathetic to groups that oppose social reform such as anti-abortion groups.

89

How does powerful countervailing groups affect pressure groups?

Forest, a pro smoking campaign has been regularly defeated due to the anti-smoking lobby that has public opinion on its side.

Plane Stupid, trying to hold back airport expansion is well supported and organised but faces opposition from the powerful air transport lobby and business groups

90

ASH founding and objectives?

Founded in 1967 by academics and interested parties

Objectives include spreading knowledge about the effects of tobacco and to press government to introduce laws reducing its use

91

ASH methods?

Conducts research and publises existing research into the effects of tobacco. It then shares this with government and the public.

Eg sponsored research into the effects of passive smoking and e-cigarettes.

Largely an insider group, concentrating on lobbying lawmakers and governments, mainly using scientific data to aid their case.

92

Successes of ASH?

Restrictions on advertising tobacco and tobacco sponsorship

Health warnings on cigarette packs

Persuading government to increase tax on tobacco to deter consumers

Successfully campaigning for the law banning smoking in public places

Persuaded government to develop a law banning smoking in cars carrying kids

93

Failures of ASH?

Would like to go further on smoking bans and is now concerned that e-cigarettes may be harmful.

94

Do pressure groups help democracy?
YES ANSWERS

Help to disperse power and influence mor widely

Educate the public about important political issues

Give people more opportunities to participate in politics without sacrificing too much of their time

Help promote minorities

95

Do pressure groups help democracy?
NO ANSWERS

Some groups are elitist and tend to concentrate power in few hands

Influential groups may distort information in their interest

Finance is a key factor and groups that are wealthy may have a disproportionate amount of infleunce

96

What is a think tank?

An organisation whose role it is to undertake research into various aspects of public policy.

Financed either by government or by private sources.

97

What are civil liberties?

The rights and freedoms enjoyed by citizens which protect them from unfair and arbitary treatment by the state and government.

Also the freedoms that are guaranteed by the state and constitution

98

What are common laws?

Traditional concepts of how disputes should be settled and what rights individuals have. Common law is established by judges through judicial review.

Eg divorce settlements

99

Freedom of information act 2000?

Allows people to see information held on them by services as the tax office, schools or social security. Also, to view information in the public interest

100

The Equality Act 2010?

Requires that all legislation and all decision making by government, at any level, must take into account formal equality for different sections of society.
- Age
- Disability
- Race etc

101

Strengths of rights in the UK?

Strong common law tradition

UK is subject to the European Convention on Human Rights

Judiciary has a reputation for being independent and upholding the rule of law even against the expressed wishes of parliament

102

Weaknesses of rights in the UK?

Common law can be vague and disputed. Can also be set aside by parliamentary statutes

Parliament remains sovereign and so can ignire the ECHR or can even repeal the Human Rights Act

Increasing pressure on government, as a result of international terrorism, to curtail rights in the interest of national security. The right to privacy (specifically online) is at threat

103

Citizens responsibilities ?

Obey the laws

Pay taxes

Undertake jury service when required

Citizens have a responsibility to care for their children

104

Disputed citizens responsibilities?

Serve in the armed forces when the country is under attack

Vote in elections and referendums

Respect the rights of all other citizens

Respect the dominant value of the society

105

Individual rights?

Freedom of expression

The right to privacy

Right to press freedom

Right to demonstrate in public places

Right to strike in pursuit of pay and employment rights

106

Conflicting collective rights?

Rights of religious groups not to have their beliefs satisfied or questioned

Right of the community to be protected from terrorism by security services that may listen to private communications

Right of public figures to keep their private lives privates

Right of the community to their own freedom of movement

107

How many MP's are female?

208

32%

108

How many MP's are from ethnic minorities?

52

8%

109

Functions of pressure groups ? 2/2

Inform and educate the public on certain issues

Call government to account in regards to its performance in certain policy areas.

Give citizens opportunities to participate in politics other than through party membership or voting