People & Politics AS

Revision cards for AS government and politics unit 1 - People and Politics.

Exam board - Edexcel


Pressure Groups & Political Parties

Pressure Groups

  • seek to exert influence
  • narrow issue focus
  • shared interests / common causes

Political parties

  • seek to win power
  • broad issue focus
  • shared preferences
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Interest & Cause groups


  • Defend interests - Trade unions defend the rights of workers against bosses
  • Closed Membership - only really open to those it effects e.g Teachers join the National Union of Teachers
  • Material concerns - (a group 'of ') teachers union protects teachers, members benefit from being members
  • Benefit members only


  • Promote causes - Fathers 4 Justice protest to gain publicity and get other fathers interested
  • Open membership - anybody can join to help or show support
  • Moral concerns - (a group 'for') defend those who perhaps can't defend themselves
  • Benefit others or wider society - Amnesty international help protect human rights - benefactors often not members
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Liberal democracy

  • Power Corrupts
  • Limited government
  • Freedom
  • Free Market
  • Government by the people
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Direct Democracy

  • Popular participation is direct in that the people 'make' policy decisions - they do not merely choose who will rule on their behalf
  • Popular participation is unmediated in that the people 'are' the government - there is no seperate class of professional politicians
  • Popular participation is continuous in that people engage in politics on a regular and ongoing basis - all decisions are made by the people
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Representative Democracy

  • Popular participation in government is limited - it is infrequent and brief, being limited to the act of voting every few years
  • Popular participation is indirect - the public do not exercise power themselves; they choose (usually by election) who will rule on their behalf
  • Popular participation is mediated - the people are linked to government through representative institutions
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How could the UK political system be made more dem

  • direct democracy
  • use of referendums more often
  • elected house of lords
  • compulsary voting
  • public participation in house of commons
  • change first past the post system to a proportional representation
  • curb the hidden face of power
  • more frequent general elections
  • abolish the monarchy
  • better educated electorate
  • lowering the voting age
  • use of digital democracy
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The electoral commission

The electoral commission was established by the political parties, elections and referendums act 2000 (PPERA). It is an independent body, charged both with reviewing the operation of th UK's democratic processes and with making recommendations for strengthening democracy. The electoral commission has a number of key responsibilities. It:

  • reports on elections and referendums
  • sets the standards for running electons and reports on how well this is done
  • must be consulted on changes to election law and electoral procedures
  • comments on the intelligibility of referendum questions and oversees their conduct
  • registers political parties
  • makes sure people understand and follow the rules on election finance, as outlined in the PPERA and elsewhere
  • publishes details of where parties and candidates get money from and how they spend it
  • makes sure people understand it is important to register to vote and know how to vote
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Deliberative democracy

a form of democracy in which the public interest is decided through debate, discussion and argument, amongst either representatives or private citizens

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Pluralist democracy

a form of democracy that operates through the capacity of organized groups to articulate popular demands and ensure government responsiveness

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Parliamentary democracy

a form of democracy that operated through a popularly elected deliberative assembly, which establishes an indirect link between government and the governed.

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Majoritarian and constitutional democracy

Majoritarian Democracy

  • Protects Society
  • Parliamentary sovereignty
  • Majoritarian elections
  • Single-party rule
  • Centralized government

Constitutional Democracy

  • Protects the individual
  • Divided sovereignty
  • Proportional elections
  • Coalitions
  • Fragmented Government
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Functions of Political Parties

  • Representation
  • Policy Formulation
  • Recruitment Of Leaders
  • Organization Of Government
  • Participation And Mobilization Of Electorate
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Catch-all Parties

A catch-all party is a party that develops policies that will appeal to the widest range of voters, by contrast with a programmatic party

  • Pragmatic
  • Short-Term Popularity
  • Flexible Values
  • Follow Public Opinion
  • Policy Renewal
  • Classless Support
  • Weak Activist Base
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Programmatic Parties

  • Ideological
  • Long-Term Goals
  • Fixed Values
  • Shape Public Opinion
  • Traditional Policies
  • Class-Based Support
  • Strong Activist Base
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Party Government

Party government is a system through which single parties are able to form governments and carry through policy programmes.

Party govenrment has a number of features

  • The major parties have clear ideological convictions and develop rival programmes of government, giving the electorate a meaningful choice between potential governments
  • The governing party is able to claim a popular mandate and enjoys sufficient internal unity and ideological cohesion to be able to translate its manifesto commitments into government policy
  • The government is accountable to the electorate through its mandate and by the existence of a credible opposition party, which acts as a balancing force
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How are labour party leaders elected

  • in the case of a vacancy, nominations must be supported by 12.5% of the PLP. where there is no vacancy, nominations must be supported by 20%
  • voting takes place consecutively in three sections, each section having one third of the vote. section 1 consists of Labour MP's and MEP's. section 2 consists of individual members of the labour party (since 1993, they have voted on the basis of one member, one vote, or OMOV). section 3 consists of members of affiliated organizations (trade unions and socialist societies).
  • if no candidate recieves more than half the vote, further votes are held on an elimination basis. Votes are redistributed (as necessary) according to the preferences indicated on the ballot paper.
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How are conservative party leaders elected

  • in the case of a vacancy, candidates can be nominated by any two conservative MP's. Where there is no vacancy, a leadership contest can be initiated by the parliamentary party passing a vote of no confidence in the present leader. this is called if 15% of conservative MP's write to the chairman of the 1922 committee
  • If more than two candidates stand, MP's hold a series of ballots to reduce the number to two. On each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If two candidates stand, the election immediately proceeds to a ballot of all party members. If only one candidate stands (as happened in 2003), he or she is elected uncontested
  • all paid-up party members are then eligible to vote for one of the two remaining candidates. the candidate who tops the poll is declared the leader
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How are Liberal Democrat party leaders elected

  • Candidates for the leadership of the liberal democrats must be supported by 10% of the parliamentary party plus 200 party members drawn from at least 20 constituencies. There is no limit to the number of candidates and MP's can nominate more than one candidate
  • The election is decided by all individual members of the liberal democrats in a postal ballot
  • voting is conducted on the basis of alternative vote* (AV)

* Alternative vote is a voting system in which electors vote preferrentially and lower placed candidates drop out in succession with their vote being redistributed until one candidate gains 50%

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A Two-Party System

A two party system is a system that is dominated by two 'major' parties that have a roughly equal prospect of winning government power. In its classical form, a two-party system can be identified by three features:

  • Although a number of 'minor' parties may exist, only two parties enjoy sufficient electoral and parliamentary strength to have a realistic chance of winning government power
  • The larger of the two parties is able to rule alone (usually on the basis of a parliamentary majority); the other party provides the opposition
  • Power alternates regularly between these parties; both are 'electable', the opposition serving as a 'government in the wings'
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A multiparty system

A multiparty system is a party system in which more than two parties compete for power. Multiparty systems can be identified by three factors:

  • No single party enjoys sufficient electoral or parliamentary strength to have a realistic prospect of winning government power alone. This means that the distinction between 'major' and 'minor' parties often becomes irrelevant
  • Govenrments tend to be either coalitions or minority administrations. This can either create a bias in favour of compromise and concensus-building or it can lead to fractures and unstable government
  • Government power can shift both following elections and between elections as coalition partnerships break down or are renegotiated
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Left and right wing

The left

People who hold generally optimistic views about human nature and have a positive attitude to social change; left-wingers tend to support liberty, equality and fraternity e.g Communism, and to a lesser extent Socialism

The right

People who tend to be pessimistic about human nature and oppose change; right-wingers tend to favour order, authority and duty e.g Fascism and to a lesser extent Conservatism

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Thatcherism is an ideological agenda that was associated with the ideas and values of Margaret Thatcher abd the policies of her government, 1979-90. Thatcherism does not so much constitute a coherent and systematic philosophy as an attempt to marry two distinct traditions. Although there is political and ideological tension between these two traditions, they can be combined in support of the goal of a strong but minimal state: in Andrew Gamble's (1994) words, 'the free economy and the strong state'.

The two elements within Thatcherism are:

  • Neoliberalism (sometimes called 'economic Thatcherism'). This is an updated version of classical liberalism. Its central pillars are the free market and the self-reliant individual
  • Neoconservatism (sometimes called 'social Thatcherism'). This is a form of authoritarian conservatism that calls for a restoration of order, authority and discipline in society
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One Nation Conservatism aand Thatcherism

One Nation Conservatism

  • Paternalism
  • Tradition
  • Organic Society
  • Social Duty
  • Pragmatic Intervention
  • 'Middle Way' Economics


  • Self-Interest
  • Radicalism
  • Rugged Individualism
  • Personal Advancement
  • Roll Back The State
  • Free-Market Economics
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Old Labour and New Labour

Old Labour New Labour

Ideological Pragmatic

Working Class 'Big Tent' Politics

Managed Economy Market Economy

Social Justice Social Inclusion

Universal Benefits Targeted Benefits

Cradle-To-Grave Welfare Welfare-To-Work

Traditional Constitution Constitutional Reform

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Liberalism is an ideology that is defined by a commitment to the individual, reflected in the doctrine of 'natural' or human rights. The core value of liberalism is freedom: individuals should enjoy the greatest possible freedom consistent with a like freedom for all. Liberals place a heavy emphasis on limited government, believing that government is always in danger of becoming a tyranny against the individual. They therefore suppost democracy and constitutionalism. Liberalism encompasses two contrasting traditions:

  • Classical liberalim believes in a minimal state and free-market capitalism. This views individuals as strongly self-interested and self-reliant creatures
  • Modern liberalism believes in social welfare and economic intervention. This holds that the state should 'help individuals help themselves'
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Insider and Outsider groups


  • Access To Policy-Makers
  • (Often) Low Profile
  • Mainstream Goals
  • Strong Leadership


  • No/Limited Access to Policy-Makers
  • High Profile
  • Radical Goals
  • Strong Grass-Roots
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Functions of Pressure Groups

  • Representation
  • Political Participation
  • Education
  • Policy Formulation
  • Policy Implementation
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How do pressure groups exert influence

  • Ministers and Civil Servants
  • Parliament
  • Political Parties
  • Public Opinion
  • Direct Action
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Factors that affect pressure group power

  • wealth
  • size
  • organization and leadership
  • the government's views
  • popular support
  • the effectiveness of opposition
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How do Pressure Groups promote Democracy

  • Supplement electoral democracy
  • Widen political participation
  • promote education
  • ensure competition and debate
  • limit government
  • maintain stability
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How do Pressure Groups threaten Democracy

  • Increase political inequality
  • exercise non-legitimate power
  • exert 'behind the scenes' influence
  • lead to tyranny of the minority
  • undermine parliament
  • narrow self-interest
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Brilliant :D

Rukhsana Bashir


thanks :D really detailed

maryan Sadik


need to improve ur MP3 :S the lady doesnt take a breathe! please send me an MP3 that makes things more clear. thank u.



Thanks very much! The revision cards have been a great help!



Great, Thank you :)

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