Defining politics, government and democracy
in British politics today
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Politics' with a big 'P' is concerned with how we, individuals and groups, relate to the state. This chapter defines political activity with a focus on political conflict, government and democracy. Conflict resolution depends on the political system involved. Autocratic governments seek to repress dissent and impose settlements, irrespective of the desires and interests of those involved. Government always works best when citizens have been properly prepared. The ban on smoking in indoor public places from 2007 is a good example of effective preparation, as it seems to have been accepted more or less without serious complaint. The chapter also lists the conditions necessary for representative democracy. Two such conditions are: full adult franchise - everyone must have the vote; and secret ballot - to ensure voters are not coerced or influenced, as used to be commonplace in Britain in earlier times.

British politics today

The essentials


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