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As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
As introduction to politics
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As introduction to politics

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  • 1. Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 2. Definition of power • Power is “the ability of A to get B to do something B would otherwise not do.” • If A was the Government… • … and B was the people… • then A could get B to pay taxes, obey laws, etc. • Power is one of the most important concepts in politicsPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 3. But power corrupts ! • Lord Acton once said that …” “… all power corrupts” • There are several examples of elected politicians who have acted in a corrupt manner • He also said that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For example in a dictatorship such as Turkmenistan the ruler acts in a corrupt way • To quote the Oracle in the Matrix Reloaded … • … “Q : What do people with power want?” • …A : More power !”Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 4. What about power in the UK? • In the UK, the power of elected politicians is limited • This prevents powerful politicians acting in a corrupt way • The power of the Prime Minister is therefore limited by the laws of the UK, the fact that he cannot continue in power if his party loses a General Election, etc.Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 5. What is authority? • “the right of some person (such as the Prime Minister) or institution (such as the Government) to make political decisions.” • Authority is usually based on legitimacy • In a democracy, legitimacy comes from … the peoplePolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 6. What is democracy?Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 7. Definition of democracy • “A system of rule based upon government of the people, by the people and for the people” • Of the people – elected politicians pass laws that the people obey • By the people – everyone, regardless of race, gender, etc; should be allowed to stand for election • For the people – elected politicians should govern on behalf of the peoplePolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 8. History of democracy • Origins in Ancient Greece 5th Century BC. The word democracy derives from demos (meaning people) and kratia (meaning power) • Therefore, democracy = people power • In practise the ‘people’ has meant different things at different times. Today, it means every adult registered to vote • As population size grew, direct democracy was gradually replaced by representative democracyPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 9. Democracy was not always considered a good thing • The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato once warned that “people would be swayed emotionally, rather than thinking rationally” • He also said “the masses were unwise” • Aristotle feared that politicians would use power to pursue their own selfish interests • Today, most people accept that democracy is the best form of government, despite certain drawbacksPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 10. What is the difference between a delegate, and a representative ? • The people appoint • The people elect delegates to act on their representatives to behalf represent them • This is a form of direct • Electing representatives is democracy a form of indirect • In Ancient Greece, democracy delegates were appointed • There are other forms of at random indirect democracy; such as liberal democracy and participatory democracyPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 11. What’s the difference between direct and representative democracy? • Direct democracy exists • Representative “where the will of the democracy is “a form of people is translated into indirect democracy in public policy directly by which elected politicians the people” act on behalf of the • Examples include people through a system referendums and town hall of regular and periodic meetings in New England elections which enable politicians to be removed from office and made accountable”Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 12. Representative democracy • In a representative democracy an MP should act according to his / her conscience • This view was first put forward by the Conservative theorist Edmund Burke – that is why it is known as the Burkean notion • The winning party gains legitimacy from the people, and claims a mandate to enact its’ manifesto • Representative democracy is the most common form of democracy, and is the most effective • The liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill once described representative democracy as the “ideal type”Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 13. Accountability • A representative is answerable (or accountable) to the people (see www.TheyWorkForYou.com). Accountability can take many forms • The voters can “kick the rascals out” at election time (a quote from Edmund Burke) • The media can scrutinise their actions • The people can ask questions during MPs surgeries, local meetings, school visits, etc.Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 14. What is direct democracy? • Athenian model • Government by the people DIRECT DEMOCRACY • Purest form of democracy • The views of the people are directly translated into policyPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 15. What are the problems with direct democracy ? • The people may not understand complex questions (e.g. California 1978 Proposition 13) • The majority might discriminate against the minority • Impractical • Costly in terms of time and money • People can be swayed emotionally, rather than thinking rationally (Plato’s view) • May result in public apathy • Could also result in political instabilityPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 16. Arguments FOR representative democracy • Its more practical, and less time-consuming, than direct democracy • Politicians act in a more rational way than the demos (or people) • Ensures some degree of public participation (e.g. via voting, joining a pressure group) • Representatives are always held to account by the peoplePolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 17. Arguments AGAINST representative democracy • Irregular participation (in the case of a General Election, once every four / five years) • Politicians can become out of touch with ordinary people • The people can become bored with the electoral process, and politicians therefore end up speaking to “empty galleries” • Women and ethnic minorities are often under-represented • The government tends to ignore its mandate • Sometimes the voting system is unfair • Representatives often ignore public opinionPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 18. What is liberal democracy? LIBERAL DEMOCRACY LIBERAL Basic DEMOCRACY freedoms Free and fair elections enjoyed by all, in which two or more such as parties compete freedom of speechPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 19. Definition of liberal democracy • “Liberal democracy joins together 2 sets of principles • Liberal freedoms such as freedom of worship • With a democratic means for deciding upon who will form the Government. The democratic method involves competitive elections, in which almost all adults are allowed to vote.”Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 20. How does liberal democracy operate? • Liberal democracy is based upon the consent of… the people. This ensures that politicians are held to account • In a liberal democracy the power of politicians and government is limited • There are 8 features of a liberal democracy. Can you name them? Answers on the next slidePolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 21. The 8 features of a liberal democracy • Free and fair elections • Elected representatives and the government should be held to account by the people • Competitive elections • Civil liberties must be protected • A variety of beliefs should be tolerated • There must be a peaceful transition of power • Rule of law should prevail • The power of elected representatives and the government should be limitedPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 22. Participatory democracy • A compromise between direct and representative democracy (and politics could be described as “the art of compromise” Aristotle) • Combines the practicality of representative democracy, with the theoretical appeal of direct democracy • We, the demos (or people), participate in the democratic system in several ways • How many can you name?Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 23. How do people participate in the political process? • Signing a petition • Raising / donating money for a political cause • Wearing a symbol to show support for a cause, such as the Make Poverty History wristbands • Writing a letter / sending an Email to an elected representative • Voting • Joining a pressure group • Joining a political party • Standing as a candidate for election • Taking part in a protest march • Taking direct action. This is usually illegal such as animal rights groups releasing animals from a laboratoryPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 24. Participation today • Electoral turnout appears to be in long-term decline. However many people participate via activities in the community, show support for various causes and take part in new social movements • At the 2001 General Election the electoral turnout was just 59%, and more young people voted in Big Brother than in the General Election ! In 2005, the figure was a little better (61%) • In local elections most people don’t vote. In 2006, the turnout was under 40%Politics – Introduction to AS Politics
  • 25. Plural democracy • A plural democracy exists where “a variety of beliefs, demands and interests are permitted to flourish together” • A plural democracy such as the UK and the USA exists where society is made up of a mass of autonomous individuals or groups • In a plural democracy, all citizens actively participate in the democratic processPolitics – Introduction to AS Politics

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