Simple plurality electoral systems
The plurality system is the simplest, and is more commonly known by its descriptive term, "First
Past the Post" (FPTP). Each elector has a single vote, and this is cast, in single member
constituencies, for one candidate
Ideology and political philosophy
Canadian political parties
Left: NDP, Marxist- Leninist
Others: Green, Bloc Quebecois, Christian Heritage, Marijuana Party
Left-right dimension does not capture the
Variables leading to liberal democracy:
- Gradual (UK: 1215-today)
- Rise of industrial capitalism
- New middle class (petit bourgeoisie)
- End of catholic church domination
- Rise of science (enlightenment)
- Emergence of social movements (labour, femini
Rosalie Abella is an example of a member of the Supreme Court who was not born in
Canada, was born in Germany and came here as a child: Do not have to be a born
- Do courts exercise too much power?
- Do courts reflect inherent elite bias?
- The politics of a country is said to reflect a societys dominant culture
Culture and Political Culture
- Culture: Shared values, beliefs, practices relating to food, clothing, social
relations, language, religion, literature, music
History is characterized by modes of production
The real nature of man is the totality of social relations
The end of capitalism (Communist Manifesto)
Nationalism and ethnic politics
Managing ethnic pluralism
75% of post-Cold War conflict ethnonationalist
What is a nation?
A community of people, normally defined by a
Political socialization: Shaping the Political Mind
Where do beliefs and values come from?
Humans partly shaped by nature but also by the hand that rocks the cradle
Process through which attitudes toward and
Introduction to Politics
What is Politics?
Ancient Greek origin: Polis -> city state/community
Aristotle believed that all citizens are members of a community and so have responsibility
Politics is Who gets what, when, and how (Har
Constitutions: blueprints of governance
Whats at stake?
Control of House of Representatives and senate plus numerous state elections, ballot
Senate: now 55 democrats and 45 republicans
Looks like 2006 election
electoral reform and the minor parties
Since 1997 there has been substantial electoral reform in Britain - although the system for
electing Members of Parliament to Westminster (the First Past The Post system) remains firmly
in place with little prospect
The purposes of elections
Elections Competition elections between political parties are the lifeblood of a democratic
system of government.
Elections occur at every level of government. In the United Kingdom, regular elections are held
Elect Members of
What are pressure groups?
A pressure group is an organised group that seeks to influence government (public) policy or
protect or advance a particular cause or interest. Groups may promote a specific issue and
raise it up the political agenda or they may
the mechanics of persuasion
Basic Techniques of persuasion
Public policy decisions are result of a complex and often lengthy process. The tactics chosen by
a particular pressure group to achievethe desire degree of political influence are in part dictated
functions of pressure groups
Pressure groups are a vital part of a healthy democracy. Indeed the sustained and rapid
expansion of pressure group activity and involvement in the political process is often heralded
as a sign of growing political involvement
Proportional electoral systems - party list systems
Again, as in the preferential category, there are a number of different proportional systems, each
with their own variants.
Party List Systems
These are the simplest form of proportional systems. Parliam
Evaluation of preferential voting systems
Alternative Vote - Unlimited preferences, one day of voting, all preferences are counted.
Supplementary Vote - preferences limited to 2, one day of voting, only top two candidates
considered and only 2nd preferenc
Low voter turnout - a threat to democracy in the uk?
The strength of enthusiasm for and engagement with the democratic process in Britain is vital to
sustaining a healthy representative democracy. Voter turnout is measured by the percentage of
Party political funding
These revision notes cover the issue of how Britain's main political parties are funded. The
creation of the Electoral Commission has changed the ground-rules for political funding in the
UK. Is there a case for the introduction of
Modernity spawned a variety of ideological schools/families
With the demise of feudalism, people were free to ponder and publish their
* Modernitys children
Liberalism (Locke 1632-1704)
Socialism (Fourier 1772-1837)