1. Political representation
This session will develop your
• What is meant by democracy
• The role of manifestos,
mandates and referendums in a
• The main levels of government
in the UK and their
2. What is democracy?
• Originated in ancient
• Athenian democracy
was direct democracy
ie all citizens could
participate directly in
Why might this type of
democracy be difficult
to achieve in a country
like the UK?
The Landesgemeinde of a
Swiss canton. All citizens
have a right to attend and
vote on decisions.
3. What is democracy?
• Modern style of
developed in modern
Europe following French
• Most modern
• Citizens elect
elections to make
decisions on their behalf
The House of Commons of
the UK Parliament.
Who represents us in the
House of Commons?
4. Manifestos and mandates
• In a representative democracy
representatives (eg MPs) are generally
expected to present their policies to
the electorate in the form of a
Think of one example of a policy which a
party might include in its manifesto.
• The party which wins the majority of
seats usually forms the government
and can claim to have a mandate to
implement the policies set out in the
• Examples include the decision to enter the European
Community in 1975 and the setting up of devolved
government in Scotland and Wales in 1997.
• Some people have argued that a referendum should be held
on the new European constitution.
ordinary citizens over very
important decisions in a
referendum where all
voters are given a chance to
vote on an issue.
• Working in a small group think of arguments
for and against making more use of
referendums to take political decisions in the
• List your points on a sheet of paper.
7. Should the government make more
use of referendums to make political
• Allows citizens to directly have
a say in decision making
• Voting in elections only allows
people to decide on broad
party policies . Referendums
allow say in specific issues .
• Some decisions are too
important to be left to
politicians eg constitutional
changes such as devolution
and membership of EU
• Costly and bureaucratic to
• Voters may be influenced by
how the question on the
ballot paper in worded.
• Voters and often ill
informed on issues so
better left to politicians who
have access to a wider
range of information
8. Levels of government
European Union – Council of Ministers, European
Commission, European Parliament
National government – Parliament (Commons and
Regional and devolved government – Scottish
Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland
Assembly, Regional assemblies
Local government – County/Metropolitan
councils, District/borough/city councils,
9. Levels of government
• Research what role each level of government
plays in governing the UK.
• How do representatives get elected or
• What powers does each level of government