Electoral Systems Essay Modern Studies Jobs

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Electoral Systems

'The UK can no longer claim to have a 2-party system.' Discuss

In the past few voters backed anyone other than a Conservative or Labour candidate, few MPs belonged to anything other than the Conservative or Labour parties and one party always managed to secure an overall majority. These characteristics led some to claim the UK has a classic 2-party system. Recently, with a decrease in the numbers of people voting for the 2 main parties, an increase in third party voting and representation, and a coalition government in the House of Commons, this claim is under scrutiny.

The UK can no longer claim to have a 2-party system because fewer people are voting for the two main parties. In the immediate post-ward period Britain came to be regarded has having a classic two-party system as few voters backed anyone other than a Labour or Conservative candidate. For example, the lowest proportion of the electorate voted for the two main parties in 2010 than any other general election since 1922. However, more people still voted for Labour and Conservative than any other party. For example, two-thirds (66.6%) of the votes in Great Britain in 2010 were cast for either the Conservatives or Labour. This shows that although the 2 main parties appear to be losing support they remain dominant in the meantime confirming the continued existance of the 2-party system.

As there has been an increase in the number of people voting for parties other than Labour or the Conservatives, the UK can no longer be claim to have a 2-party system. Smaller parties are picking up more votes. For example, in the 2010 General Election almost one in four votes went to the Liberal Democrats; their second highest vote share to be secured by the party (or its predecessors) since 1923. Also, nearly one in ten voters in Great Britain (9.7%) voted for someone other than the three main parties. However, in the recent local council elections Labour and the Conservatives won much more seats than any other party. For example, there are 2158 Labour councillors, 1005 Conservative councillors compared to only 431 Lib Dem councillors. This shows while there is some evidence of party dealignment at general elections, more recent local council elections confirm the 2-party system is still strong in the UK.

The 2-party system could be said to be alive and well in Scotland as the two main parties continue to vie for power. The only difference is the the two main parties vying for power are the SNP and Labour, not Labour and Conservative. For example, despite using the AMS which has an element of proportional representation, in 2011 the SNP won 69 seats, Labour 37 and the Conservatives only 15 seats out of a total of 129. However, third party representation in the UK Parliament suggests the UK is no longer a 2-party system. There has been an increase in the number of representatives elected under a banner other than Conservative or Labour. For example, in the 2010 General Election 85 MPs (including 18 from Northern Ireland) were elected under a banner other than Labour or Conservative. This shows that, despite a strong 2-party system in the Scottish Parliament, the 2-party system in the UK Parliament appears to be weakening.

The UK does still have a 2-party system because general elections usually produce a majority government. Under FPTP the country is split up into 650 constituencies with seats won on a 'winner-takes-all' basis, which usually returns single party majorities. For example, single party majorities have occured in every post-war UK Parliament except for 1974 when there was a hung parliament and in 2010. However, the 2010 General Election saw the party with the largest number of seats - the Conservatives - unable to win an outright majority of seats. For example, although the Conservatives won 307 of the 650 seats, they did not manage to secure the 326 seats needed to win a majority. This led them to form a coalition with the 3rd place party, the Liberal Democrats. This shows although the FPTP usually leads to a 2-party system, the UK currently can not claim to be a 2-party system as a result of the coalition government.

In conclusion, although the FPTP electoral system usually returns a majority government and there is still evidence of a strong 2-party system in Scotland, the UK cannot claim to have a 2-party system. With fewer people voting Labour or Conservative, an increase in third party voting and representation, and a Con-Dem coalition goverment in power, the UK can no longer claim to have a 2-party system.

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Social Issues

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These are only suggested essay plans and do not need to be followed.

Assess the importance of social class in influencing income and health. (15 marks)

Introduction

Paragraph One

Social class is a very important factor in influencing income.

Income determines area lived in which in turn determines the school attended. Better qualifications = better chance of attending higher education = higher income.

However, ...

Recession and unemployed graduates.

Paragraph Two

Social class is a hugely important factor and influences health to a very large extent.

Lower classes less likely to eat healthy diets compared to middle classes.

However, ...

Lower classes less likely to drink in excess of recommended alcohol levels compared to those in the least deprived areas.

Paragraph Three

Ethnicity is also an important factor which influences income.

As a result of discrimination, many ethnic minority groups sufffer from higher unemployment levels.

However, ...

Ethnic minorities are concentrated in working class jobs where all workers are low paid.

Poverty as a result of social class is often compounded (intensified) by the introduction of an equality characteristic such as ethnicity.

Paragraph Four

Health is greatly influenced by gender.

Male life expectancy is lower than female life expectancy. One reason is the number of males dying prematurely due to heart disease.

However, ...

Risk factors for coronary heart disease are cigarette smoking, lower exercise levels and poor diet which are associated with lower social class.

Gender interacts with socio-economic status.

Conclusion

International Issues

The USA

Critically examine the view that the US government has been successful in tackling political inequality in the US. (15 marks)

Introduction

Paragragh One

The US government has been successful in tackling political inequality through the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

Higher levels of those registered to vote maintained.

However, ...

the overall percent is down. Although total number of voters increased, numbers decreased. 

Paragraph Two

Success of increased registration rates of minorites as a result of NVRA.

2008 most ethnically diverse electorate.

However, ...

the very low availability of registering to vote at public assistance agenices will ensure continued under-representation of the poor in elections. 

Paragraph Three

The creation of 'majority-minority' districts through the Voting Rights Act has led to an overall reduction in minority influence in Congress.

More ethnic minority representatives in Congress but fewer Democrats overall.

However, ...

the Voting Rights Act ensures equal opportunties to participate in the voting process.

The first Asian-American city councillor of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, was successfully elected in 2004 following an investigation into racially-targetted challenges carried out by the Justice Department as a result of their remit under the Voting Rights Act. 

Paragraph Four

It is largely independent campaigns and party campaigns - not the US government - through registration drives that increase voter registration levels.

E.g. ACORN and the Obama campaign

However, ...

laws passed by the US government have created fairer representation for minorities.

'Majority-minority' districts have led to an increased number of ethnic minority representatives in Congress.

Conclusion

 

Modern Studies Voting Behaviour Essay

1360 WordsFeb 19th, 20146 Pages

Voting Behavior

Long term factors that may influence voting behavior over a long period of time include:
Social class
Gender
Age
Religion
Ethnicity

Social Class

“Class is the basis of British party politics: all else is embellishment and detail” (Pulzer)

Social class is one of the fundamental divisions that define post war British electoral politics.
Some would suggest that the social class of a person might explain their voting behavior.
Social groups will vote for political parties that serve their group interests best e.g. people that belong to the working class will vote for a political party that serves working class interests.
This is called ‘socio-political alignment’ and gave rise to strong class based…show more content…

there was more working class conservatives than middle class radicals.
Ø The working class was bigger than the middle class

Factors affecting voting behavior

The complex long-term influences on voters, for example
Social class
Gender
Age
Race

Short term:
Influence of Media

In Richmond, North Yorkshire an affluent constituency 63% of people voted for the conservative party. In Glasgow, North East a deprived constituency 68% of people voted for labour. This is form the 2010 general election.

Post 1974: Voting behavior and the influence of social class:

Since 1970’s it is possible to conclude that there has been a decline in the influence of social class on voting behavior. In other words, a decline in the historical class-party link (the working classes are more Labour then Conservative and the middle classes are more conservative then labour).
There are more individuals from defined classes crossing the class/party lines when they vote.
This process is sometimes referred to as partisan de-alignment.

2010 General Election

The 2010 General Election showed further erosion in the relationship between class and party support.
Conservative support in the 2010 General Election increased across all

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