Author Archives: politicsteaching

About politicsteaching

A Politics Teacher based in Surrey.

Book Review: The Alastair Campbell Diaries Volume 1 Prelude to Power 1994-1997

This Book Review was guest written by a Sixth-Form Student

This book gives a day-to-day guide about the events that Alastair Campbell went through from the day that John Smith passed away until Tony Blair walked into 10 Downing Street as the first Labour Prime Minister since 1979. This long diary from 1994-1997 gives an excellent insight into the British media and the personalities that were involved within politics in the 1990’s.

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Was the AV Referendum a good exercise in democracy?

AV vote will not break the Coalition, insists Cameron – Channel 4 News
The AV Referendum took place on the 5th May 2011.

In 2011 Britain’s second nationwide referendum. This was on the issue of whether to replace the First Past the Post voting system with the Alternative Vote system for General Elections. Many people have questioned the effectiveness of this referendum and whether it turned out to be a good democratic exercise.

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What is Liberal Democracy?

Athenian Demo
A depiction of Athenian Democracy.

The term democracy comes from the Greek demokratia, literally meaning “rule by people”. The origins of democracy can be traced back to Ancient Athens. Athenian Democracy was direct in its nature. It had two key features that defined its fundamental operation:

  1. Officials were randomly selected from among the citizens.
  2. A legislature that was made up of all citizens.
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How does the UK judicial system work?

See the source image
The Courts system in England and Wales. Scotland retains its own distinct system.
The ongoing ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial involving Colleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy is about alleged defamation, a civil issue.

There are two types of law in the UK, criminal and civil. Criminal Law is where the state (or a private individual) seeks to punish a crime (something that the state has decided is prohibited). For example, murder is a criminal offence and necessitates a criminal trial if someone is suspected of having committed it. Civil law is where courts adjudicate on disputes between parties and allows for parties to seek compensation and damages. For example, defamation is not a criminal offence, but is a civil wrong, and can therefore be adjudicated in the civil courts.

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Why did Citizens Juries never take off in the UK?

In September 2007 Gordon Brown announced that his New Labour Government would undertake a number of ‘citizens juries’ on key social issues such as crime and punishment and the future of the NHS. He said that this was party of a process of “reaching out, of doing the business of government differently”. However, despite this pledge, the concept of Citizens Juries in the UK has never really taken hold as a conventional political practice. So, what is a Citizens Jury and why have they never had a significant impact on the UK political process?

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