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Democracy and Voting

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Introduction

Politics is the study of power: * Politics as institutions (government, EU and local council) * Politics as activity (voting, getting involved) * Politics as conflict (Tries to resolve conflicts mostly through non-violence) * Politics as power (dictates social activities): 1. Coercive (Stalin) 2. Persuasive (Blair/Bush) 3. Absolute (Tsar Nicholas) 4. Legitimate (Western Democracy leaders) Definition of Power: Max Webbers 3 types of authority: 1. Traditional (Monarchy, hierarchal, conservative) 2. Rational/Legal (Power from rules and legitimate ways into power) 3. Charismatic (Special qualities to exercise authority; eloquence - Blair) Contemporary Version: Stephen Luke's 3 Faces of Power: 1. Decision-making force (Parliament, council, laws) 2. Non-decision making force (Cabinet, MI5) 3. Manipulative desires/force (Nazi: "Jews are bad") Democracy Comes from the greek (Demos = People and Kratos = Rule, Tule by the People). First form in Athens - (90% couldn't vote, just free white men and the rich). Two principles of democracy: 1. Equal Access (To run, vote, take part) 2. Equal Freedom and civil liberties For democracy to be effective, it must include checks and balances. The power must not be concentrated (to class, spectrum, etc.), and must have the power separated - devolved, "power corrupts absolutely" Features of Democracy: * Competitive elections (choice) * Freedom of speech, press, expression * Political Parties * Equality of vote * Due process * Human rights and liberties Sovereign is the "ultimate authority" in the land. Two main types of democracy: 1. Direct Democracy: citizens directly involved (Athens - not effective: forced, concentration, hard to come to decision, decision made may be interested of those who are voting 2. ...read more.

Middle

Opinion Polls - eections dominated by them, random sampling used. 50s and 60s - determined by class - becoming less of a trend 1992 - inaccurate. 2005 - fairly accurate Advantages: Invokes interest and motivation to vote, determined party targets Disadvantages: Helps decide when election is called, bandwagon effect, boomerang effect: people like the underdog. Complacency - no voting because you know your going to win. Key Features Effects 1959 Labour Serious about issues, spoke to those affected, Tony Benn (oo, hello), all about YOU Shows they are responsible, shows they care, attracts women also look modern, shows they count us as important Labour 1992 Used Celebes (lovies), dramatic music, no substance, movement and scenery May attract fans also discourage them ('They want to help us 'cos we're poor), cinematic effect = not bored Cameron Personal handheld cam, children (listening), internet Personal means that people will think he cares about them - getting the real him (makes him more real), Hitler effect; with children makes him look cool, listening shows he cares even about children, internet = modern, like him. Media Bias - through images, language, coverage, newspaper of itself. Yes: Print: always state their support for one purpose, emotive headlines "Got'cha", images, loaded words "surprise attack", coverage given, satirical (Mock the Week), Rupert Murdoch No: Pluralists; provide everyone with everything, papers disagree, media reflects racisl divide, competition laws, BBC/ITN: neutral charter Impact of media: Germany 1930s (If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.) Glasgow Media Group: Journalists set the agenda: Marxist (Dominant Theory) Elitis running the show. ...read more.

Conclusion

* 2nd/3rd party could gain support on 2nd/3rd preferences as they are least objectionable, but not first choice. How does the SV system work? * The country is divided into single member constituencies. * Voters in each constituency have two votes. * Voters' first preferences are counted and if one candidate gets over 50% of the vote he/she is elected. * If, however, no candidate manages to win 50% of the vote the two highest scoring candidates are retained - the rest are eliminated. * The second preferences are then examined and any votes received by the two remaining candidates are redistributed. Whoever now has over 50% of the vote, wins. What are the advantages of SV? * There is still a link between constituents and MPs. * It overcomes one of the flaws of the AV system; as it is between the first two parties, it is guaranteed that the one elected based on second preference votes has a majority of first preference votes. * It ensures majority support of the winner and creates strong government. * It reduces the number of wasted votes. What are the disadvantages of SV? * Smaller parties do not have much of a voice - there is still a lot of under-representation. * Votes do not equate to seats - often there is over-representation of the winning party. * Tactical voting could still be an issue. How does STV work? * The country is divided into multi-member constituencies. These constituencies would be much larger than in FPTP and would return more than one representative. * Parties can put up as many candidates as they like and voters have the opportunity to rank all candidates in order of preference. * Seats are allocated on a quota system. For each constituency, all candidates who meet the quota are elected. ...read more.

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