Syllabus Area One:. Living in a Democracy. What Is a Democracy?. Aims : Identify why Britain is a democracy Examine our rights and responsibilities in a democracy. What Is a Democracy?. Democracy Comes from the Greek word ‘demokratia’. ‘Demos’ People ‘ Kratos’ Power
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Syllabus Area One: Living in a Democracy
What Is a Democracy? Aims: • Identify why Britain is a democracy • Examine our rights and responsibilities in a democracy
What Is a Democracy? Democracy Comes from the Greek word ‘demokratia’. ‘Demos’ People ‘Kratos’ Power In a democracy people have the power to choose their government and participate in how decisions are made.
Direct Democracy The earliest democracy dates back to Ancient Greece around 510 BC. All men could be directly involved in making decisions. They just went to meetings of the Assembly on a hill in Athens called the Pnyx (slaves, women, children, and foreigners were not allowed to participate). Ancient Greece is an example of a direct democracy. Why would it be difficult to have a direct democracy in Britain today?
Representative Democracy A direct democracy is difficult to achieve… • There are around 55 million voters in the UK. • Laws would never get passed. • There are too many laws to be considered. • People do not have the time to be involved in the many different areas of government • Ordinary people may not have the expertise to make the right decision. Britain has a ‘Representative Democracy’. We elect or choose representatives to make decisions on our behalf.
Key Words Democracy A country where people have the right to vote for their government and participate in decision-making. Representative Someone you choose to speak on your behalf and make decisions for you.
Member of Parliament (MP) British Parliament Member of the European Parliament (MEP) European Parliament Types of Representatives Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Scottish Parliament Local Councillors Local Council/Authority
Those aged 18 and over are allowed to vote in election. People can protest and make our feelings known. People can write to newspapers or express views in print about an issue. People have the right to be protected e.g. NHS, armed forces. People have the right to choose representatives and vote on issues. People have the right to a fair trial in court and protection by the police. People should use their right to vote so that everyone’s views are reflected. People must obey the law and not limit or restrict the rights of others. People must not tell lies or slander people – this is illegal. People must pay their taxes to help provide money for services e.g. NHS, armed forces. People must accept the decision of the majority. People must uphold the law and support the police in their work. Rights and Responsibilities
How Are MPs Elected? Aims: • Identify how a person gets elected as an MP. • Examine the different features of an election campaign
Who Can Become An MP? • Have to be over 21 • Nominated (chosen) by ten voters in your constituency • Submit a £500 deposit • The deposit will be returned if you get 5% of the vote.
Who Can Become An MP? • Most candidates represent a political party. • The national party ‘approves’ potential candidates. • They then have to be chosen by their local party members (or Constituency Party). • Previous experience is important e.g. your job, being involved in the local council. • Candidates have to go through a selection process and be interviewed for the job.
The Election Campaign In the weeks running up to an election, candidates and political parties try to persuade people to vote for them this is known as the ELECTION CAMPAIGN. National LevelLocal Level Win support for Candidate tries to win your party local votes by meeting Explain your policies voters and showing concern for local issues. A good national campaign will encourage local voters to vote for that party’s candidate. Party with the most MPs forms the government. Its leader becomes the Prime Minister Candidate with the most votes wins the election and becomes the MP
National Level *Election manifestoes *Party Political Broadcasts *Interviews by party leaders *Daily press conferences *Visits to various parts of the country *Posters/Adverts *Campaign websites/blogs *TV Debates Local Level *Leaflets *Public meetings *Canvass voters *Interviews with local press/radio *Walkabouts *Posters The Election Campaign
Voting At Elections Aims: • Examine trends in voter turnout during past elections. • Identify the reasons why people should use their right to vote.
Keywords • Manifesto – a document which states each party’s policies • Party Political Broadcast – a 5 min television advert for a particular advert • Press Conference – a daily briefing for journalists about party’s policies.
Voter Turnout At Elections • Between 1970 and 1997, voter turnout (% of people who voted) was always above 70% for general elections. • Recent voter turnout 2001 59.4% 2005 61% 2010 65.1%
Why Has Voter Turnout Declined? • There is a decline in trust for politicians e.g. expenses scandal. • People are less interested in politics. • Election turnout is higher for a general election than it is for local council elections. • Less people belong to political parties and are therefore less likely to vote. • People often think their vote doesn’t make much of a difference in a safe seat compared to a marginal seat.
Why Is It Important That People Vote At Elections? • Opportunity to elect representatives who make decisions on your behalf e.g. MPs, local councillors. • Opportunity to have a say on important issues at a referendum e.g. setting up of Scottish Parliament. • It is an important right. If people don’t use that right future governments could take it away. • If the election turnout is low then the government can’t claim to represent the majority of people in Britain. • The only way to change the government is to vote for another one.
The First Past the Post System Aim: Identify how the result of a general election is decided.
Which Candidate Wins? Constituency A Labour 21,200 Conservative 21, 199 Liberal Democrat 12,000 SNP 10,000 The winning candidate has a majority of one. This is an example of a marginal seat - where the vote is close.
Constituency B Labour 35,000 Conservative 15,000 Liberal Democrat 7,000 SNP 8,000 The winning candidate has a majority of twenty thousand. This is an example of a safe seat - where one party is so strong that they can usually count on winning the election.
Argyll and Bute 2010 Alan Reid Lib Dem 14,292 31.6% Gary Mulvaney Cons 10,861 24.0% David Graham Lab 10,274 22.7% Michael MacKenzie SNP 8, 563 18.9% • Who won the election and why? • What was the winning candidate’s majority? • Why would some people claim the result of the election was unfair? • Is this a safe or marginal seat?
General Election 2010 Seats % of Vote Conservative 307 36.1% Labour 258 29.0% Liberal Democrats 57 23.0% Others 28 11.9% Total 650 Government Majority
Which Party Wins the General Election? *The party with the most MPs after all the votes are counted becomes the government. *The leader of that party becomes the Prime Minister. *If the winning party has more MPs than all the other parties added together this is called an overall majority. * After the 2010 election, no party had an overall majority so the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government.
The First Past the Post System We Are Learning To: Identify the advantages and disadvantages of the First Past the Post System
Advantages: *Easy to understand *Fair *Results known quickly *One MP for each constituency *One party is usually a clear winner Disadvantages *Large parties benefit *Unfair to smaller parties *Wasted votes *People don’t vote in safe seats First Past the Post
General Election 2010 Seats % of % of Vote Seats Conservative 307 36.1% 47.3% Labour 258 29.0% 39.7% Liberal Democrats 57 23.0% 8.8% Others 28 11.9% 4.2% Total 650 Government Majority
Proportional Representation We Are Learning To: Identify how Proportional Representation (PR) can be used to decide the result of an election.
Advantages: It is fair. Each party gets the same % of MPs as votes. Small parties get better representation All votes are important Many other countries use PR e.g. Italy, Ireland. Disadvantages: Can be complicated to understand/organise. Often leads to coalition government as no party has a majority – nobody has voted for a coalition. Smaller parties get too much power – their support can determine who is in a coalition government. Representatives may not have a direct link with their constituents. Proportional Representation
Democracy – Homework Exercise 1 • Describe the rights and responsibilities which UK citizens have. (6 marks) • Outline the advantages and disadvantages of the First Past the Post Electoral System. (6 marks) Due Monday 27th March 2006
What Is The Government? We Are Learning To: • Identify the role played by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. • Examine how MPs represent their constituents in Parliament.
What Is The Government When people talk about our government, they often use the word PARLIAMENT. Parliament is made up of: • House of Commons (MPs) • House of Lords • Monarchy Each part of Parliament plays a part in how laws are made in this country
What Is the Government? • The government is in charge of running the country and is made up of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. • The Prime Minister picks the most important MPs in their party to help him or her form a government. This is called the Cabinet. • The Cabinet makes the important decisions and runs the country.
The Role of the MP We Are Learning To: Identify how MPs represent their constituents (people from their local area) in Parliament.
The Whip System • Every political party appoints ‘Party Whips’ • It is the Whips job to make sure that MPs support their party and leader in key votes in the House of Commons. • If an MP refuses to support their party he/she may have the Whip withdrawn. This means their party does not support them and they may not be selected to stand for the party in the next election.
The Whip System How Does It Work? Each week, the Whips issue MPs notes on the order of business in Parliament for the coming week. *One line whips asks the MP to attend the House *Two line whips expects the MP to attend and support the government *Three line whip demands an MP’s attendance and support.
Hours Worked by An MP: Mon-Fri House of Commons 2.30-10.30pm (Can be later if there are important debates) Sat-Sun Work in Constituency Hours Worked By An MSP (Scottish Parliament) Mon Work in constituency Tues-Fri Scottish Parliament 9.30am – 5pm Fri-Sun Work in constituency The Work of an MP
The Work of an MP Question Time • Can ask Cabinet (Government) ministers questions about what they have done. • Prime Minister’s Question Time is on a Wednesday for 30 mins. • Questions are given 3 days in advance.
The Work of an MP Debates (Discussions) • These always take place when new laws are being passed. • MPs can make speeches and ask questions. • In some debates, MPs will be asked to vote on an issue or a new law.
The Work of an MP Committees • Keep an eye on what the government is doing and examine new laws. • MPs can join these committee and put forward the views of his/her local area.
Constituents Party Local area National Interest Ideological Beliefs Individual conscience Pressure Groups Media Pressures on an MP