Government and Politics Revision Guide

Important Information: * Your Unit 1 exam will make up 50% of your AS grade * Your Unit 1 exam will make up 25% of your overall grade * The exam is 1 hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes) * There will be a choice of four questions – one per topic * Each question has a 5 mark, a 10 mark and a 25 mark part * You have to answer two questions * You must answer all three parts of both questions * Remember to read the question carefully * Ideally, spend 40 minutes on each question Assessment Objectives AO1: ‘Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant institutions, processes, political concepts, theories and debates.

’ AO2: ‘Analyse and evaluate political information, arguments explanations, and identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between aspects of the political systems studied. ’ AO3: ‘Construct and communicate coherent arguments making use of a range of appropriate political vocabulary. ’ Things You Need to Know: Democracy and Political Participation * Democracy * Legitimacy * Direct Democracy * Representative Democracy * Referendums * Other Conceptions of Democracy * Democracy in the UK * Improving Democracy in the UK Party Policies and Ideas.

* The Nature of Political Parties * The Political Spectrum * Consensus and Adversary Politics * Traditions and Policies of the Labour Party * Traditions and Policies of the Conservative Party * Traditions and Policies of the Liberal Democrat Party Elections * Functions of Elections * Elections and Democracy * Types of Elections in the UK * Electoral Voting Systems * Electoral Systems and Party Systems * Electoral Reform Pressure Groups * Pressure Groups * Classifications * Functions * Distinguishing Between Political Parties and Pressure Groups * Methods and Objectives.

* Power and Influence * Pressure Groups and Democracy Democracy and Political Participation Key Terms: * Democracy * Legitimacy * Representation * Direct Democracy * Referendum * Representative Democracy * Liberal Democracy * Parliamentary Democracy * Political Participation What is Democracy? Democracy is any society or political system where the public have the opportunity to make or influence decisions and where the government is accountable to those people. Abraham Lincoln described democracy as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’.

Common ideas within democracy are that decisions are made using open discussion and debate. Democracy exists at certain levels in many modern states. Examples of important democratic states are * The UK * The USA * France What is Legitimacy? Legitimacy is the idea that a government has a democratic right to hold political power. Legitimacy is usually, though not always, given through an election. This simply means that if a government is voted in by the people, it has the right to rule. Examples of cases of legitimacy are: * The House of Commons. It is legitimate because it is elected.

* The UK government. It is legitimate because it has a clear mandate to govern. * The power of the prime minister is legitimate because they are the supreme policy maker in the political system. However, legitimacy is a difficult concept to justify, because it isn’t always clear whether an institution is legitimate. This means it is difficult to say whether they have the right to hold political power or not. Examples of cases where the legitimacy can be argued against are: * The House of Lords. It is arguably not legitimate as its members aren’t elected. * The monarchy.

It is not legitimate as they are not elected but born into it. What is Representation? Representation is a political process where the public don’t make political decisions directly, but elect people to make decisions on their behalf. The biggest form of representation in the UK is MP’s. There are two types of representation: * Descriptive. This is where the person is a member of the group they represent, such as an old person representing a group of old people. * Substantive. This is where the person is not a member of the group they represent, such as a young person representing a group of old people.

What is Direct Democracy? Direct democracy is a type of democracy where the people make the important political decisions, or are consulted before key decisions are made. This means they are directly involved in the decision making process, rather than leaving it to elected representatives. What is a Referendum? A referendum is a type of direct democracy and is the most common form. It is where an important decision is put to the public in the form of a question where the answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It can be national, regional or local.

Referendums are held for the following reasons: * Sometimes government itself is divided on an issue, and so give the public the final say. * It is now established as a convention for an important change to be approved by the public. * A referendum has the effect of entrenching a constitutional change, making it difficult for future governments to reverse. * It may be especially important to get the consent of the public on a key change, especially if it may concern tax. In the UK, referendums are not legally binding; however, if the result is high, it would be only smart for the government to take the answer into

account; otherwise the public would lose faith in the government. Examples of referendums are: * 1975. This was a national referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European community. The outcome was a large ‘yes’ majority. * 1997. This was a regional referendum, held only in Wales, on whether Wales should have an elected assembly. The outcome was a narrow ‘yes’ majority. * 1998. This was a local referendum, held only in London, on whether London should have an elected mayor and assembly. The outcome was a large ‘yes’ majority. What is Representative Democracy?

Representative democracy is where citizens within a country elect representatives to make decisions for them. Within representative democracy, usually two types of MP’s emerge: * There are those who believe that they should act and react to what the party and electorate wish; they believe that they have been elected to represent both. * There are those who believe that they should act in accordance to their conscience instead; this means the MP does as they see fit. The first type is both representative of the people and is democratic; the second is neither representative nor democratic.

What is Liberal Democracy? Liberal democracy is a type of democracy that values the individual over the majority. This type of democracy conforms to liberal political principles, with a respect for rights and responsibilities, a strong constitution, tolerance and the rule of law. Power is normally divided and separated in a liberal democracy, so as to stop too much power falling into too few hands. The separation of powers splits up power into different branches of government: * The Legislature (Parliament) – the makers of the law.

* The Judiciary (Judges) – the interpreters of the law. * The Executive (Government) – the enforcers of the law. There is also a system of checks and balances, meaning that the separate branches of the government can control each other’s power. Liberal democracy also cherishes the right of the individual, meaning there are strong safeguards on freedom, and it also gives way for a tolerant society, where beliefs and ideologies are allowed to flourish. These features are protected by a strong constitution, which ensures all of these things. What is Parliamentary Democracy?

Parliamentary is a type of liberal democracy, with separated powers, a check and balance system, tolerance, a strong constitution and a huge influence from rights and responsibilities. However, on top of these characteristics, it has its own: * Parliament is sovereign and has ultimate political power. * Laws will only be enforced if legitimised by the parliament. * Government is made from parliament and is part of parliament. * Parliament is representative of all of the UK. So basically, parliamentary democracy is a liberal democracy where parliament is the central body and the source of all political power.

What is Political Participation? Political participation is a huge part of democracy. It is a reference to the fact that many citizens take part in politics on some scale, whether it be minimal (being informed and voting from time to time) or deep (seeking election to a public office or becoming a political leader). There are a number of ways in which the public can get involved and participate in politics: * Being informed about political issues, usually by the media * Making their views known, usually by the internet * Voting regularly in election and referendums * Joining a political party * Joining a pressure group.

* Being active in a party or pressure group or through the media * Standing for office at local, regional or national level Improving Democracy and Participation in the UK It is often said that in modern day UK, there is a ‘democratic deficit’. This means that democracy is at a low, and there are various reasons for this, such as political apathy (where people don’t care about politics or don’t know about politics), which leads to a lack of political participation. However, there are remedies to the lack of both democracy and participation in the UK. Democracy: * In traducing an elected second chamber to replace the House of Lords.

The problems with this, however, are that the new chamber may suffer the same problems as the House of Commons and not be independent of government; and that the new chamber may have too much legitimacy and power and would challenge the authority of government. * Introducing a codified constitution, especially to regulate the powers of the prime minister. However, the problem with this would be that a codified constitution may reduce the power of government too much and reduce the flexibility of the political system. * Making the European Convention of Human Rights binding on the UK Parliament.

The problem with this is that it could reduce the power of Parliament too much, especially when it comes to maintaining national security. * Making constituencies equal in size so that the votes are of more equal value. The problem with this is that population changes make this difficult. Participation: * Lowering the voting age to sixteen to bring young people into the political process. The problem with this is that sixteen and seventeen year olds usually don’t know enough about politics to use their votes effectively. * Introducing compulsory voting, which forces everyone on the register to vote.

The problems with this are that this can be seen as an infringement on human rights, and that it would encourage those who don’t know much about politics to vote, meaning the results will be influenced by uninformed people. * Widening the voting process, such as extending the period of time in which to vote and using other methods, such as more polling stations, internet based voting and phone based voting. The problem with this is that as well as it being expensive to set up extra polling booths and extend the period of time, it is also insecure to vote over the phone or internet.

* Introducing mandatory Politics to the school curriculum would educate students at a young age and encourage them to vote later in life. The problems with this is that not only are young people influenced by the views of older people, like teachers, but this method was tried with the introduction of Citizenship into the curriculum, which proved unsuccessful. An example question for ‘Democracy and Political Participation’: 1 (a) Define democratic legitimacy, and outline one way in which it is achieved. (5) (b) In what circumstances are referendums held in the UK? (10) (c) Should referendums be more widely used in the UK?

(25) (Total for question = 40 marks) Party Policies and Ideas Key Terms: * political party * left/right * liberalism * conservatism * socialism * factionalism * consensus politics * adversary politics What is a Political Party? A political party is a group of like-minded people who share the same views and ideas about how the country should be run. They develop a set of political goals and principals in line with their political ideology, usually on one side of the political spectrum. They seek one of three things: to obtain government; to obtain a share of government; or to influence government.

It tries to achieve its goals by gaining public opinion, choosing candidates, participating in elections and choosing a suitable leader. Its functions are: * Making policy * Selecting candidates * Identifying leaders * Organising elections * Educating the public * Running parliament Its features are: * Have some kind of organisation * Develop policies * Seek government office in some form * Put up candidates for election * Campaign for public support * Train and recruit leaders What is the Political Spectrum? The political spectrum is the invisible line on which every political party stands.

It ranges from far left to far right, with central parties and center right and center left. Each party represents the traditional values of their side of the spectrum to varying degrees. Left Wing and Socialism Traditional political ideas of the left wing: * The state is involved in the economy * Nationalisation of major industries * Relaxed approach to government borrowing * Economic equality * Strong trade unions and protected rights for workers * Anti EU * Welfare state * Tolerance of minorities * Equal rights and opportunities * Liberal attitude to law and order The two most famous movements of the left wing are:

* Socialism * Communism Some examples of left wing parties: * Labour Party * Socialist Party * Green Party What is Socialism? Socialism is a state of mind and political movement that puts issues like equality of opportunity, social justice and the needs of the collective high on its list of values. It either dislikes capitalism or develops ideas to make the negative effects of capitalism less. It isn’t the most extreme left on the spectrum. All political parties on the left of the political spectrum base their policies on traditional socialist values. Right Wing and Conservatism Traditional political ideas of the right wing:

* Strong support for free markets * No state involvement in the economy * Very low levels of taxation * Avoidance of government borrowing * Free labour markets and weak protection for workers * Anti EU * Limited welfare system * Anti-immigration and multiculturalism * Strict attitude towards law and order * Strong on British patriotism * Social change should be natural The two most famous movements of the right wing are: * Conservatism * Fascism Some examples of right wing parties: * Conservative Party * BNP * UKIP What is Conservatism? Conservatism is a state of mind and political movement that doesn’t like massive change and reform.

It is wary of strong political views, prefers the known to the unknown, and supports traditional institutions and values. It isn’t the most extreme right on the spectrum. All political parties on the right of the political spectrum base their policies on traditional conservatist values. Centre and Liberalism Traditional political ideas of the centre: * Mostly free market with some state involvement * Allows for government borrowing for economic growth * Pro free trade * Mild wealth distribution for poverty relief * Pro EU * Strong welfare system only for the needy * Pro multiculturalism.

* Support for rights balanced with need for security * Middle attitude to crime * State should allow for individualism The two most famous movements of the centre are: * Liberalism * Liberal Democrats An example of a centre party: * Liberal Democrats What is Liberalism? Liberalism is a state of mind and political movement that puts freedom, rights and tolerance high on its list of values. It believes strongly in the individual rather than the collective. It also has a strong belief in constitutionalism, social justice and equality of opportunity. It is a philosophy that dates back to the eighteenth century. What is Factionalism?

Factionalism is when the beliefs of a smaller group of member differ slightly from those of the larger group. These people then come together to make a faction or small group within the larger party. This can happen due to a different political background or from disillusionment due to constantly losing elections. Examples of some party factions are: * New Right * New Labour What is Consensus Politics? When two or more parties agree on basic policies, meaning there are little or no political conflicts. It could also mean different parties agree on the same policies on an issue. It can imply a lack of strong beliefs.

What is Adversary Politics? The opposite of consensus politics, this is where different parties are in conflict over political issues. It can also mean parties disagree on basic policies. It can imply a strong belief system in politics. An example question for ‘Party Policies and Ideas’: 2 (a) Define adversary politics, using an example. (5) (b) Explain the divisions that exist within the Conservative Party over ideas and policies. (10) (c) To what extent is the Labour Party still committed to its traditional policies? (25) (Total for question = 40 marks) Elections Key Terms: * election * majoritarian representation.

* mandate * proportional representation * electoral reform * party system * strong government * stable government What is an Election? Elections are a democratic way to elect Members of Parliament into the House of Commons that represent our constituency, and also to elect leaders. They allow the public to give a verdict on the current party in policy, meaning that we either vote them back in if we think they’re doing a good job, or we vote them out if we think they aren’t. In addition, we are granting a mandate to the new government, meaning to we giving them the right to rule. What is an Electoral Manifesto?

An electoral manifesto is a set of policies and promises that a party will implement if they gain a mandate. They present them to the public before an election to gain votes. Once in power, however, many parties find they cannot put into place some of their policies due to the world or economic situation. What is a Mandate? The mandate is the authority to rule granted to the winning party by the voters. The mandate suggests that the government should put into place the policies that were in its electoral manifesto. It also means that government has the authority to use its own judgment if it has to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

What is Electoral Reform? The process where the electoral system in a country is changed, or there is campaign for a change in the electoral system. What is an Electoral System? An electoral system is a system where votes for a candidate from the public are counted up and converted into seats. It is also the process of electing a single leader, such as a mayor or president. The list below are examples of electoral systems with their features and some advantages and disadvantages. * FPTP – First Past the Post * Voters get one preference vote for a single member constituency. These are counted up and the party with the most votes wins office.

It is a majoritarian system. It develops a strong MP-constituency link, and a strong single-party government. However, it is unrepresentative and has proved unsuccessful in the previous election. Has also developed a two-party system. * STV – Single Transferrable Vote * Voters choose candidates in order of preference for a multi-member constituency. First preference votes are counted first, and those with enough votes to fill the quota (the number of votes divided by the number of available seats plus one) gain a seat. The second preference votes are then counted, if there are leftover seats.

If not all of the seats are filled, the third preference votes and subsequent votes are counted until all of the seats are filled. It is a proportional system. This develops a highly proportional result and many parties gain representation. However, it is a very complex system and would most likely bring about political apathy. * AMS – Additional Member System * This is a hybrid system where voters vote for one candidate using the First Past the Post method, and then choose another candidate from a regional list.

This system is more proportional than FPTP but constituencies are still preserves. Small parties also do well with this system. However, it is a complex system, and the candidates on the list are put forward by the party. * AV – Alternative Vote * Voters show preference to two candidates. This system guarantees an overall majority for the winner and helps small parties, but does not help very small parties and could potentially create a three-party system. What is Majoritarian Representation? A majority representation system is any electoral system that produces a majority result. What is Proportional Representation? A proportional representation system is any electoral system that produces a representative result.

What is a Party System? A party system is the typical structure of parties within a political system. It talks about the number of parties that usually compete well in elections, such as two-party, three-party or multi-party systems. It also refers to the party structure of governments, such as single party governments or coalitions. What is Plurality? Plurality describes an electoral system that gives a seat in Parliament to a candidate who has achieved more votes than any other, even if it doesn’t represent an absolute majority, which is more than fifty percent of the vote.

What is a Strong Government? A strong government is a government that has a strong, overall majority, and can implement all or most of their manifesto promises. What is a Stable Government? A stable government is a government is where there is a reasonable majority, and there are very few crises, such economic and world problems, international problems and strikes. Their policies have also proved to be successful and fairly popular. Also has the faith of the public behind them. An example question for ‘Elections’: 3 (a) Describe three different elections regularly held in the UK.

(5) (b) Explain three strengths of the ‘first past the post’ electoral system. (10) (c) To what extent do the different electoral systems used in the UK produce different outcomes? (25) (Total for question = 40 marks) Pressure Groups Key Terms: * pressure group * sectional/promotional groups * insider/outsider groups * pluralism * elitism * functional representation * pluralist democracy What is a Pressure Group? A pressure group is a group of politically, socially, ethically and/or lawfully like-minded people who share the same beliefs on a certain cause or set of issues.

Their aim is to educate the public through often unconventional means, such as criminal acts in order to get into the media. They also seek to influence government to change or create laws that affect their cause or set of issues. Functions of Pressure Groups Pressure Groups have many functions: * They act to protect and safeguard members’ interests, especially sectional * They offer representation that adds to that from the electoral system * They inform and educate the public on certain issues * They can help governments make decisions.

* They help the public express themselves politically, and encourage participation between elections Classifying Pressure Groups There are two ways we can classify pressure groups. One is deciding whether they are a promotional pressure group or a sectional pressure group (or a dual function pressure group). The other is deciding whether they are an insider pressure group, or an outsider pressure group. Sectional Pressure Groups Sectional pressure groups represent a certain type or group of people.

They are often referred to as ‘interest groups’, because their purpose is to fight for their supporters. They also tend to be ‘self-interested’, meaning they have only their own interests at heart, though some are concerned with those of their members. Some examples of sectional pressure groups are: * the Multiple Sclerosis Society – represents sufferers, carers and researchers of the disease * Forest – fights for the rights and interests of smokers * Age UK – represents and fights for the elderly Promotional Pressure Groups Promotional pressure groups represent a specific cause.

They are often referred to as ‘issue’ or ‘cause’ groups, because their sole purpose is to fight for that one cause. These types of pressure groups tend to be concerned with issues that interest the whole community rather than a section of society. Some examples of promotional pressure groups are: * Greenpeace – interested in protecting the environment * ASH – interested in reducing the amount of smoking in the UK * The RSPCA – interested in animal welfare Dual Function Pressure Groups Dual function pressure groups are those that represent both a cause and a section of society.

Some examples of dual function pressure groups are: * the NSPCC – campaigns against child cruelty and represents abused children and children in danger * Plane Stupid – seeks to stop airport expansions and represents those who would be affected should the expansions happen Insider Pressure Groups An insider pressure group is one that has a close relationship with government. It also tends to hold a seat within the House of Commons. This gives the pressure group legitimacy and is seen to be an advantage to achieving their goals, because their views are more likely to be taken into account.

These are some of the reasons why a pressure group may be an insider: * They may have a close relationship with a government department * They may have permanent members on policy making committees * They may be regularly consulted by select committees and MP’s * They may be linked to a political party because of similar beliefs Examples of insider pressure groups in 2011 were: * BMA – advised the coalition on the NHS reforms * the RSPCA – consults with minister and Parliament about animal welfare * ASH – involved in the drafting of anti-smoking legislation Outsider Pressure Groups.

An outsider pressure group is one that does not have a close relationship with government and does not hold a seat within the House of Commons, meaning they are not consulted by Parliament on issues like insider pressure groups are; they are less likely to have their views taken into account. These are some of the reasons why a pressure group may be an outsider: * They may not be established enough yet * They may not wish to be insiders as it may limit their independence * They may not wish to be accountable for their actions * They have greater freedom to act as they wish, such as illegally.

Examples of outsider groups are: * Greenpeace – specialises in acts of civil disobedience (illegal activity) * Plane Stupid – also specialises in acts of civil disobedience * Taxpayers’ Alliance – they are a relatively new group Methods and Objectives of Pressure Groups Pressure groups have many objectives, and to do this they use a variety of methods. They use different methods depending on the objective. Below is a list of objectives and the methods used to achieve them: * To influence the people who make policies and decisions * Seek insider status * As insiders, urge minsters, MP’s and peers.

* Try to get involved in policy and law making * Try to influence party policy makers * To achieve friendly legislation, prevent unfriendly legislation and promote amendments to legislation * Give suggestions to governmental committees * Try to be involved in policy and law making committees * To raise public awareness and place issues on the public agenda * Organise publicity campaigns in the media * Organise large demonstrations * Internet campaigns and e-petitions * Publicity stunts * To get the public to put pressure on the government * Organise public demonstrations * Take part in civil disobedience.

* Develop the support of celebrities and ‘big names’ * To pursue the legal rights of members * Appeals and judicial reviews in the courts to establish rights which are threatened What Factors determine the Success of Pressure Groups? Pressure groups enjoy success in varying degrees. This is usually due to the apparent importance of the issue they are fighting for. There are many factors that determine the success of a pressure group: * Resources * Insider status * Tactics * Agenda * Lack of opposition * Favourable circumstances * Celebrity involvement * Strategic position Distinctions between Pressure Groups and Political Parties.

It is very important to tell pressure groups and political parties apart. Though they do have similar functions, they are two very types of political group. The key differences are: * Political parties seek power, where pressure groups only seek to influence * Political parties are concerned with a range of issues, where pressure groups focus on a narrow range or one issue * Political parties have to be accountable for their policies and actions, where pressure groups have to be accountable for neither (unless they are an insider group) * Political parties have to have some degree of organisation, where pressure groups don’t.

The Importance of Pressure Groups Pressure groups have become more important over recent years. These are some of the ways in which they have become more important: * They have increased in number * Their membership has increased * They are constantly in the media * The public use them for change more than anything else * They have achieved some success * There are more ways to access pressure groups Ways in which their importance is still limited: * The increase in size may be only due to difference of opinion over an issue * Too many groups dilutes the message.

* Though size and membership may be important, it is political parties that hold the power; pressure groups can only influence the political process * Being constantly in the media may lead to an information overload and the public may feel pressured into taking part * Though pressure groups may be the method of choice for the public to seek change, it is the government who has the final say on legislation * Far more pressure have failed than been successful * More access points is not necessarily a sign of success.

What is Pluralism? Pluralism is the acknowledgement of diversity in politics. This means that many political views exist, are tolerated and are encouraged to flourish within a society. The UK is a pluralist state. What is Elitism? Elitism is when the power of a group is condensed into the hands of very few people at the top of the hierarchy, usually the wealthy. What is Functiona