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Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Origin of the word politics – a word developed from the Greek term polis meaning city or state; on a basic level it refers to managing the affairs of the state, although this is generally used in a modern context to describe government. More modern views tend to see the word politics as conflict of ideas. Failure of politics – this can lead to political and violent unrest from general disorder to terrorism, revolution (Russia 1917) or civil war (Englands civil war ending in 1649 is the reason we have a parliamentary government rather than monarchy sole rule) depending on the severity of the political breakdown. Conflict of ideas – Everyone has an opinion, a political opinion of how the country should be run, however mild or extreme that opinion may be. People who go to vote, mums, dads, teachers, lollipop ladies, local council, MPs or ministers representing those voters, they all have an idea of how they think the country should function. Political ideas, when escalated to a grand scale become ideologies. An ideology is a collection of political ideas with the same overall goals. These are often radical and no longer a major part of the well-established more peaceful democracies. Examples of successful ideologies include; radical forms of nationalism, feminism, fascism and socialism. What is Politics
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 On one hand …… on the other hand People should aspire to own their own homes as private property gives people a stake in society Social housing is a way of ensuring equal opportunities for all and is a vital service to create a fairer community Employment legislation should be used to ensure that employees are well-looked after and protected in their work Employers should not be burdened by obligations and red tape but free to hire and fire as they see fit Education is a right, not a privilege, and should be free to all who want it until at least 21. An educated society is a better society People should pay for their own education as they benefit directly as individuals. It is not necessary to fund degree education Britain needs support and an alliance with the USA and so was right to participate in the war with Iraq The war with Iraq was groundless, Britain should focus more on its allies in the rest of Europe Examples of conflicting Political Views:
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Conflicting Interests – Different groups of people have different needs depending on their circumstances, these are known as interest groups. These groups may clash with one another if their personal group interests go in different directions. Interest groups usually attach to a political party, for example the Environmentalists tended to attach to the Green Party. Politics is the process by which these interest groups are mediated and their clashes resolved. Examples of conflicting interest group aims are in the table below; Aims of Example Interest GroupsExample Opposing Aims Trade Unions will campaign for better wages and conditions for their workers in the public sector Taxpayers may oppose this because of the additional tax burden they would face if the Unions are successful Many people in the countryside oppose a ban on fox-hunting as it interferes with their traditions and way of life City-dwellers are more likely to support the fox- hunting ban as it is not part of their lifestyle and they consider it barbaric Some people campaign for the right to die i.e. euthanasia for the terminally ill Groups who campaign for the elderly suggest that this may threaten the safety of vulnerable elderly people who may feel pressured by relatives into euthanasia
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Politics and the Struggle for power – power is desired by people for different reasons, some for altruistic reasons (they want to improve society) others for more personal reasons (they just want the power). Whether or not people as a species are born to fight for power is a philosophical question which you dont need to answer. (Feel free to dance around the room with joy) Politics and the struggle for Power
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Struggle for power happens in different ways: Elections allow parties to compete with each other for power in Europe, nations, regions and locally. Individuals compete at elections too for the right to represent other people as a local councillor, at regional assemblies and in Westminster Parliament on a national level. Politicians compete with each other on an individual level for more senior positions on the opposition front bench or in government. Within the current governing party (the highest level of power!) there is the struggle to have the power of being prime minister. The struggles highlighted above are often perceived as politics by the general public because they are the struggles that the media tend to focus on in the news. Obvious point – the party which wins the election is the one whose political ideas will become more dominant in the government! Politics and the struggle for Power
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Examples of Government ideas changing when different parties are in charge; 1975 Margaret Thatcher leads Finance and business interests gained influence Trade Unions lose power 1997 Tony Blair leads More integration with Europe More focus on the poor
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Examples of Government ideas changing when different parties are in charge; Austerity Big Society University fees Education reform The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 What gives a government the right to rule? – Legitimacy of government can be claimed through three different methods; Tradition, Force and Consent. Tradition this is when a governing system has been in place for many generations and is accepted by the people as a stable form of government. Hereditary monarchy is an example of a traditional legitimacy to rule. Force is a controversial form of legitimacy, the idea that if the county is kept peaceful and secure then a forced regime of government is acceptable. Dictatorship is an example of a forced right to rule. Side point – disagreeing with the methods and ideals a government employs does not make it an illegitimate form of rule. The Right to Rule
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 What gives a government the right to rule? – Legitimacy of government can be claimed through three different methods; Tradition, Force and Consent. This all sounds like a lovely, fluffy solution – but, wait, nothing is ever that simple How do we judge whether people consent to their government Can we classify past consent as current consent What proportion of people consent to the regime How do you know if a majority vote is enough for legitimacy Does a lack of dissent indicate consent In general practice peace and stability is accepted as a form of consent. The Right to Rule
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Key Words You NEED To Know … State Government Ideologies Legitimacy
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 Professor Bernard Crick, In Defence of Politics, (4th edition, 1992) Politics arises from accepting the fact of the simultaneous existence of different groups, hence different interests and different traditions, within a territorial unit under a common rule. Useful Quote
Copyright © Politics Teacher Ltd 2011 A link to a lecture on the basics of what is politics dy%20of%20Politics.pdf dy%20of%20Politics.pdf It is a good idea to keep up-to-date with modern politics so that examples you can give are as modern as possible; Useful e-links for hard working students
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