What does democracy mean?
Government by the people
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What does demos mean in Greek?
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What Greek word does cracy come from?
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What does kratos mean in Greek?
Rule or power
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What two core principles is democracy based upon?
Political participation and political equality
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What does political participation mean?
That key political decisions are made by the people
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What does political equality mean?
That each citizen has a free and equal opportunity to influence political decisions
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What are the two most common forms of democracy?
Direct and representative
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What is direct democracy?
People make the political decisions themselves.
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What is the effectiveness of direct democracy based on?
The extent of popular participation in government
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What is representative democracy?
People choose who will make decisions on their behalf.
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What is the effectiveness of representative democracy based on?
The extent of popular control over government
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Where was direct democracy first used?
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How did the Greeks use to govern themselves?
Through a system of mass meetings
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What does direct democracy rely on?
A high level of popular participation in government
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How is direct democracy used today?
To supplement representative democracy
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Give an example of direct democracy being used in our current government
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What is an example of a movement of direct democracy?
The occupy movement
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What are the aims of the occupy movement?
Social and economic equality globally- the elimination of the richest 1%
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Why is occupy a form of direct democracy?
It is leaderless and uses meetings over the globe to talk about their main issues also uses social media to spread message
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What are the three key features of direct democracy?
It is direct, unmediated and continuous
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What is the direct feature of direct democracy?
The people themselves make the decisions they do not choose people to rule on their behalf
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What does unmediated mean?
The people are the government, there is no mediating body
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What does continuous mean?
People engage in politics on a regular and ongoing basis- all decisions are made by the people
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How do people acquire power in a representative democracy?
Through a competitive struggle for the people's vote
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What do those who win elections do?
Represent the people
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What is the basic condition for representative democracy?
The existence of democratic elections
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What ensures a democratic election?
Free, fair and regular elections, universal suffrage and party and candidate competition
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What is universal suffrage?
Everybody can vote
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What are the three key features of representative democracy?
Limited, indirect and mediated
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What does limited mean?
Elections are infrequent and brief, people only vote once every few years
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What does indirect mean?
The public themselves do not rule, they elect someone to rule on their behalf
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What does mediated mean?
The people are linked to government through representative institutions, there is a middle man
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What percentage of the population of the UK say they engage in protests?
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According to a survey in 2012, how many people are going to vote in our next election?
Less than half
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How many people out of 10 believe that Parliament encourages public involvement
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What are the strengths of representative democracy?
Places power in the hands of the public, only form of democracy that can work in a modern society, government by experts, relieves burden of decisions from citizens, maintains political stability by allowing a distance between people and politics
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What are the weaknesses of representative democracy?
Creates a gap between government and the people, places too much faith in politicians, act of voting seen as a ritual, representatives unaccountable and government too tied to political parties
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What are the strengths of direct democracy?
It is the only pure form of democracy as people only obey the laws they made themselves, creates better informed and knowledgeable citizens and reduces or removes public dependence on politicians
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What are the weaknesses of direct democracy?
Only achievable in small countries, politics becomes a second job for all citizens- restricting them, it would take too long to gather everyone together and a mass audience is easily swayed by passionate speeches , even if they distort the issues
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What is a liberal democracy best thought of as?
A special form of representative democracy
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What is liberal democracy?
Representative democracy with limited government
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What was the Magna Carta?
A charter signed by King John and his barons which established that no man should be punished without a trial before his peers and ancient liberties should be preserved
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What are the features of the Uk's democratic system?
Democratic elections, parliament, pressure groups, referendums, devolution and the European Parliament
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What are the core features of the UK's democratic system?
Democratic elections, parliament, pressure groups
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What are the supplementary features of the UK's democratic system?
Referendums, devolution, the European Parliament
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When was the secret ballot introduced?
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What did the secret ballot do?
Ensured that every vote was private and so ended bribery and intimidation
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When was 'one person one vote' passed?
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What did 'one person one vote' put an end to?
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What was plural voting?
Where a person could vote in more than one constituency for the same election
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What was established in 2000?
The electoral commission
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What is the aim of the Electoral Commission?
To ensure integrity and public confidence in the UK's democratic processes
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What are the criticisms of the UK's electoral process?
There are many unelected positions in the UK, FPTP distorts electoral preferences and electoral malpractice
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Give some examples of unelected positions in the UK
The Prime Minister and House of Lords
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Give an example of electoral malpractice
The use of postal ballots in 2005 caused fear of fraud after parties asked voters to send the ballots to them
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When was universal suffrage achieved?
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Up until recently who was prevented from voting?
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Who cannot vote in the UK?
Those under the mental health act and prisoners
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How is electoral choice guaranteed?
Through competition between parties
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What type of party system do we have in the UK?
A two party system
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How does parliament ensure representation?
Through the elected house of commons
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How does parliament maintain deliberative democracy?
Through debate in the House of Commons
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How does parliament ensure responsible government?
By overseeing and scrutinizing actions of government
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How does the party system prevent democracy?
Party discipline prevents MPs acting on their own views or those of their constituents
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How is parliament's ability to scrutinize the executive weakened?
By the fact that the party in power usually holds the majority in the House of Commons
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Why has the effectiveness of pressure groups in promoting democracy been questioned?
They have concentrated power, undermine parliament and are unaccountable
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What does concentrated power in pressure groups?
Powerful pressure groups may hold all the power rather than distributing it, for example financially powerful pressure groups may buy influence
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How do pressure groups undermine parliament?
They can bypass parliament and so weaken the representative process
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How are pressure groups unaccountable?
Many of their leaders are unelected
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What is a referendum?
A vote in which the electorate can express a view on a particular issue of public policy
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What is a referendum an example of?
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Do referendums have to be binding?
No they can be advisory
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Give an example of an advisory referendum
The Nice Treaty in Ireland
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What is an argument against referendums?
They undermine the elected role of government, they are advisory not binary, they offer a simple answer to a complicated topic and they are expensive
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Since what point where referendums used more widely?
Since New Labour as a part of their constitutional reform act
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When was New Labour elected?
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Why have referendums been used more widely by New Labour?
As a part of their constitutional reform programme
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What is devolution?
Giving powers from parliament to devolved countries such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
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What form of government does Scotland have?
The Scottish Parliament
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What is Northern Ireland's form of government?
The Northern Irish Assembly
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What form of government does Wales have?
The Welsh Assembly
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What was the benefit of devolution?
It gave people in devolved countries a voice that they had never had before on national issues and widened opportunities for political participation
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What are the criticisms of devolution
Creates the English question and is practically home rule
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What is the English question?
That parliament is a shared parliament and everywhere else has its own parliament, devolution has done nothing to advance representative democracy in England
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What percentage of the UK's population live in England?
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When were elections to the EU parliament introduced?
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How often do elections to the EU parliament take place?
Every 5 years
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With what electi the EU elections held?
Through proportional representation
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What is a criticism of the EU parliament?
Creates a democratic deficit as the EU parliament is the weakest of EU institutions, with little policy making influence and the argument of rule from Brussels
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What is the argument of rule from Brussels?
Growing EU influence over politics has been interpreted as a threat to our parliamentary sovereignty
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What is a democratic deficit?
When democratic organisations are seen to be falling short of fulfilling the principles of parliamentary democracy
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List examples of democratic deficit in our democracy
Non-elected posts, FPTP, the participation crisis, ineffectiveness of parliament and the EU parliament
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What was the average turnout for general elections between 1945-92?
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What was the turnout in the 2001 general election?
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What was the turnout in the 2005 general election?
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What was the turnout in the 2010 elections?
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What has happened to party membership in recent years?
It has declined
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What was the Labour Party membership in the mid-50s?
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What was the Labour Party membership in 2008?
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What was the Conservative Party membership in the mid-1950s?
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What was the Conservative Party membership in 2008?
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Who have people blamed for the decline in political participation?
The public, the media and the politicians
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Why would people blame the public for a decline in political participation?
The argument that people are materialistic and individualistic, that they have become more concerned with themselves than larger society
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Why may people blame the media for a decline in political participation?
The argument that they have created cynicism among the public, leading to growing disenfranchisement towards politics and politicians. Policy receives less news than scandals.
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Why have people blamed politicians for a decline in political participation?
Lack of vision, scandals, that they believe only in elections, that they are overly obsessed with media leading them to look untrustworthy, that there is a lack of choice and that voters are ignored to target specific minorities in elections
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What ways can the UKs democracy be strengthened?
Increased use of referendums, more political education, responsive government, reduced government, compulsory voting, digital democracy, lowering the voting age and fixed term elections
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Name some countries that use compulsory voting
Australia, Spain, Italy and France
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Why would compulsory voting improve the Uk's democracy?
It would increase political participation and ensure that the public is more politically aware
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What is a disadvantage of compulsory voting?
May force those who are uneducated in politics to vote, they may vote randomly and thus we would have an illegitimate government
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What country has the highest voter turnout?
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What was the voter turnout at the most recent election in Belgium?
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What is the idea of digital democracy?
The idea of using mobiles, the internet, interactive television as a means by which to vote
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What is an advantage of digital democracy?
It would increase political participation and make voting easier
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What is a disadvantage of digital democracy?
It could allow for hackers to affect the results and creates a digital divide
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In a survey, what percentage of people believed that internet voting would be most helpful for participation?
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In a survey, what percentage of people believed that text messaging would be most helpful for participation?
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In a survey, what percentage of people believed that electronic kiosks would be most helpful for participation?
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In a survey, what percentage of people believed that digital TV would be most helpful for participation?
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What is a digital divide?
A divide between those who are able to use digital democracy and those who can't
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Before 1969 what was the voting age?
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What is the current voting age?
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What age would the voting age be lowered to if it were lowered?
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Name countries with the voting age of 16
The Isle of Man, Cuba and certain states in Germany
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Name some parties who back lowering the voting age
The Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, The Greens and Plaid Cymru
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What governmental body endorsed lowering the voting age?
The Electoral Commission
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What are the arguments for lowering the voting age?
Responsibilities without rights, youth interests ignored in government as not necessary to win votes, stronger political engagement would occur and that 18 is an irrational cut off age
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What are the arguments against lowering the voting age?
Immature voters, preserving childhood, deferred representation and undermining turnout
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Give an example of a lack of political participation in the UK?
0% turnout in Newport for the PCC elections
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What does legitimacy mean?
The right to govern
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Give an example of an illegitimate country
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What does coercion mean?
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What is influence?
Being able to affect how others act or think but no force is involved
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What percentage of the population voted for the coalition?
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What does authority mean?
The right to exercise power
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In what three ways can someone gain authority?
Tradition, election and charisma
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What are the features of a modern democracy?
Peaceful transition between governments, free and fair elections, free from censorship, accountable government, freedom of individuals, different beliefs and ideologies tolerated, rule of law and interests of the people is key
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Give examples of modern democracies
UK, USA, France
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What is direct democracy also known as?
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What is Burkean representation?
The idea that elected representatives should use their own initiative rather than following the wishes of their constituency or party
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What is delegation?
The idea that a representative should closely follow the wishes of those who have elected them
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What is party representation?
If a representative is a member of a party, they are expected to support and vote for or with that party as they were elected for their party label
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How does representation operate in the UK?
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Which theory of representation do most MPs choose to follow?
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What can be argued to provide true representation nowadays?
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Give an example of an MP representing their constituents
Angus Robertson representing the Australian family about to be deported and Stephen Lloyd over apprenticeships
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What are the features of a pluralist democracy?
Multiple parties and associations, different political beliefs allowed to flourish, free media and power is shared
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Give an example of a pluralist democracy
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What are the features of a liberal democracy?
Civil liberties are protected, freedom of press and individuals, limited government and high political toleration
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Give an example of a liberal democracy
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What are the advantages of representative democracy?
Most people do not have the time to fit politics into their busy schedule, representatives have more experience, representatives are accountable whereas people aren't, contradictory opinions, people react emotionally to issues, education
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What is parliamentary democracy a form of?
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What are the advantages of direct democracy?
Purest form of democracy, important decisions strengthened by mandate, educates the public, people can participate more directly in democracy, entrenchment of constitutional changes through referendums, referendums can solve the conflict in governmen
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What year was the EU referendum?
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What are the disadvantages of representative democracy?
It is hard to make representatives accountable, they may not always represent the wishes of their constituents, they may be too devoted to their party, electors are presented with one manifesto that they have to fully either agree or disagree with
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Give examples of issues with representative democracy
The 2010 coalition and low turnouts
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What are the issues with direct democracy?
Issues may be too complex for one person to understand, people may vote in an irrational way, voter fatigue, loss of respect for representatives, tyranny of the majority, low turnouts lack legitimacy, close results lead to failure to achieve outcome
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Give an example of the tyranny of the majority in referendums
Proposition 8 in California, Swiss referendum banning the construction of Islamic minarets
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Give examples of low turnouts to elections
42% in AV referendum
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What was the turnout to the Scottish referendum?
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Give an example of a very close referendum result
In 1997 the result of the vote on Welsh devolution was yes-50.5% and no-49.5%
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Why may referendums be used?
When government is split over an issue, when constitutional changes are being proposed, when it is necessary to entrench constitutional change and when there is the need to secure popular consent
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Give an example of a referendum being used when the government is split on an issue
2011 AV referendum and EU referendum
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Give an example of a constitutional referendum
The 1998 London mayor referendum
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Give an example of a referendum being used to entrench constitutional change
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Give an example of a referendum being used to secure popular co
The Good Friday Agreement in Belfast referendum
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What form of democracy is the most pure?
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How can people participate in politics?
Protests, pressure groups, referendums, voting, running for election, petitions, taking part in political consultation exercises, activism, joining a party and generally keeping up to date in what occurs in politics
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Give evidence of a lack of political participation
Low turnouts to elections, falling party membership, declining activism, disillusionment with parties and identification with parties have declined
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What was the turnout to the 1992 election?
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What was the turnout to the 2015 election?
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What was the turnout to the London mayoral elections?
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What are the ways that have been suggested to increase political participation?
Compulsory voting, digital democracy, increased use of referendums and lowing the voting age
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What is evidence of increasing political participation?
Increased pressure group membership, increased use of campaigning through social media, increasing use of direct action
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Give examples of general ways of improving our democracy
Elected HoL, replacing the monarch, reforming the electoral system, increased use of referendums, codified constitution and separation of powers
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Who is the current head of state?
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Other cards in this set
What does demos mean in Greek?
What Greek word does cracy come from?
What does kratos mean in Greek?
What two core principles is democracy based upon?