Wednesday, 10 December 2014

2014 Party Political Broadcasts

There are many more examples, and details (+ an explanation of PPBs) in this post:


and another.


There are more, including spoofs, below the line

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Media bias - some resources

Tabloid Watch is a useful blog with a variety of detailed posts looking at the frequent inaccuracies of papers such as the Mail and Express.You can click on tags - the Mail tag flags up 790 stories!
My MediaReg blog covers media regulation; this post, for example, highlights a few cases of inaccuracy by papers such as the Mail. I have also blogged on some satirical videos, though some are not suitable for KS3/4 viewing.
You can also find profiles of what kind of person reads each newspaper (and other media organisations) here.
The name of The Sun Lies blog rather gives away what it looks at!
Is media ownership an issue? Some politicians think so. There's a Wiki too! There's a long government document on this.

One of many resources you can use
below the line, a list, hyperlinked, of many of the media regulators and campaign groups

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Women in Parliament

You can watch a video of the exchange here.
It wasn't so long ago that the Prime Minister caused an outcry by telling a female MP, "calm down dear" in the style of a notoriously sexist film director Michael Winner (who used the phrase in an insurance ad).
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle, at whom the comment was aimed, said "a modern man" would not have "expressed himself that way".
But a Downing Street spokesman said it was just "a humorous remark" (BBC)
I noticed today two interesting articles in the Guardian, looking at the experience of female MPs and comparing the percentage of female MPs here and elsewhere.

Here's a sample quote from a Labour MP, Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow constituency):
For young women, particularly, when they see a woman from their area in parliament (I grew up in my constituency and I went to local schools), that makes a big difference, because they can identify with you. It makes the idea that this is a career they could go into much more realistic and possible. And to me that’s really important – if they want a career in politics, then why not? “Why not” is what I say when people say they can’t, or it’s too difficult. Women being visible in national political life, working on issues that not only affect women but society at large, is a really important message. Parliament still doesn’t look like society in terms of gender and ethnicity – that needs to change. (Guardian)
Here's a graphic overview of how women fare as elected politicians across the EU (the article has further graphs illustrating the % of women in the UK and Scottish governments, plus further analysis):

Songs about relationships

Some songs about love and relationships

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Is it alRight if there's no Left left?!

Use resources on this blog!
Your task today is prepare a presentation of around 3-5mins in which you report to the class on the views, ideology, policies, philosophy of one major political party - one from...
There is also an option to look at Respect, not a major party with significant hopes of large numbers of MPs, but they do have as many MPs as the Greens or UKIP at the time of writing (before a bye-election UKIP look set to win)!

NB: You will be logged off computers with 20 minutes left in the lesson, so print off anything you need by then, or email a PowerPoint to me (I'll put this on the board).

I would like your report to include some detail on the following:
  1. PARTY HISTORY: Briefly outline the history of the party: how much time (if any!) have they spent in government; have they always been a major/small party or have their fortunes changed over time; who are some of their most significant leaders (or MPs); have they formed any alliances/coalitions at any time?
  2. ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES: Factual detail on how many MPs, MEPs (European Parliament), MSPs (Scottish Parliament), MAs (Welsh Assembly), MLAs (Northern Ireland Assembly) they have. Include the total number for each, eg there are 650 MPs in the House of Commons (Wiki). Comment if you can on this party's local standing - is this an area in which the party enjoys success? You could briefly discuss why when you come back together.
  3. LEADER + 2015 ELECTION HOPES: Using at least one left-wing and at least one right-wing newspaper as sources (ask if unsure!) sum up/provide a flavour of how the party leader is viewed; find the odds on this party winning the 2015 election, and any predictions on how many seats they might win; what do opinion polls say?
  4. POLICIES + IDEOLOGY: Using newspapers and/or the parties' own website, find at least 3 current/recent policies, and sum up whether these reflect a party that is right-wing, left-wing or even a mix of both! Think back to the findings and points from your own questionnaire results last time.
You can use a variety of resources on this blog to help with this task:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

UK Government spending breakdown

This site gives some detailed figures
Most political parties have well developed, detailed policies on a range of issues. A common question asked of many policies is what will it cost, or how will you pay for it?

You can see how often cost, and the economy, is raised in the parties' political broadcasts on TV, some of which are gathered here.

This often comes up during 'PMQs' (Prime Minister's Questions', a weekly event in the House of Commons when the PM has to answer a series of questions from other MPs. Here's an iPlayer link to an example.

The links below will help YOU to answer these questions for YOUR policies!

YOU should be prepared and equipped to answer questions such as this, or others - perhaps from some who don't sure your views!

You can also find data (and opinions) on specific areas of government spending by googling terms like this one, or 'uk defence spending'


Guardian (UK daily 'broadsheet' or 'quality' newspaper) pie chart of 2014 government budget here.

BBC summary of 2014 budget changes.

You can also get a pie chart at the ukpublicspending website, or click on areas of government spending for some more detail on where the money goes.

There are many more resources, often more challenging, in this post.

Presented as a pie chart here.
In greater detail here.)

Guardian pie chart: click HERE for full-size view

Not as detailed, but click HERE to see this version.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Image Issues: Miliband's big speech

We will be exploring the issue of image in politics, how reportage and perception of personality can predominate, leaving actual policy as a secondary matter.

Here's how (traditionally pro-Labour, left-wing) The Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell reflected Miliband's September 2014 Labour Party Conference speech - seen as a key step on the way to the 2015 general election:

C4 News produced multiple packages to reflect his speech. This one is relatively 'unvarnished', and presents Miliband's 6 policy pledges in a fairly straightforward fashion:

This second C4 News package precedes any word from Miliband with correspondent commentary which frames Miliband and his speech in a largely negative light, which continues with the manner in which his actual speech is presented. It is worth reflecting on the point that while newspapers are not prohibited from being biased (although their own self-regulation Editor's Code includes a clause on 'Accuracy'), it is strictly illegal for broadcast news media to be biased. OfCom can remove the license to broadcast from offenders - and indeed has done just that to some cable/satellite news stations:

According to these young writers, Milliband appeals to young voters.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


We will watch this video at the end of the lesson:

Some links:

For any picture galleries, you may have to skip through ads; do not click on any ads.
BBC (2013)
The Wiki.
Guardian (2008) [quality UK newspaper]

Guardian (quality UK newspaper)
VIDEO: C4 News 2013 report (7mins)

Daily Telegraph (UK quality newspaper). 20+ images.
New York Post (USA tabloid), a pro-GitBo view?
Huffington Post (a major politics blog). It may be easier to copy pictures from this one.
Time magazine (global news mag.)

Guantanomo Boy [Amazon link]: you can read the brief description and user reviews, but you can also click LOOK INSIDE and read the start of the book! Can you find the quote from Gandhi?
Publisher description.

Daily News (US college students)

Guardian (UK quality newspaper) report on US government defence.

Guardian (UK quality newspaper) report. NB: the video with this story is disturbing.

Guardian interview with inmate [please don't watch the video; we will watch it together later]
VIDEO: Moazzem Begg speaks about his experience as a detainee

AUDIO: UK lawyer Clive Stafford Smith puts forward the human rights argument against G.Bay
UN condemns G.Bay practices (Guardian report)

Daily Mail: (UK mid-market/tabloid; may be blocked) Frankie Boyle pledges to use libel award to campaign for last UK GitBo prisoner
Guardian (UK quality newspaper) report: Boyle goes on hunger strike and tweets updates.
Huffington Post (major US right-wing politics blog) on Boyle's hunger strike tweets.
Digital Spy (celebrity blog): short report on Boyle's hunger strike.
Wiki on Shaker Aamer.

VIDEO: I will close it...
VIDEO: Woman heckles Obama over failing to close G.Bay

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Hackgate Scandal

Your task today is to produce a briefing on one of the recent major media/politics stories:
(1) the so-called 'Hackgate' scandal that has lead to the convictions of some prominent media figures, and difficult questions being asked of the Prime Minister, David Cameron

We'll watch the short Newsround report on the Hackgate trial

You/your group will get a stamp for every informative section you include on elements such as...
You can easily find informtaion with searches including some of the following:
Hackgate, phone hacking, News International, News of the World closure, Milly Dowler hacking, Hacked Off Hugh Grant, News International court case, Rebecca Brooks Andy Coulson trial, Rupert Murdoch hacking questions (etc)

Some sample links are contained in the list above, but here are a few more:
the Wiki;
BBC timeline (up to 2012);
CNN facts guide;
Guardian newspaper articles on phone hacking;
the prosecution case (BBC summary);
the main players (BBC guide);
2014 who's who (updated BBC guide).

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Facts and figures on UK population

Some links to help you better explore this:
Government's Office of National Statistics (ONS) report that 1 in 8 of UK population were born abroad.
More ONS links.
Guardian table with ethnic breakdown for each council area in Eng + Wales.
Wiki figures for UK and Eng + Wales.
Bar charts showing ehtnic breakdown.
One of the data charts in the Oxford Uni source.
Oxford Uni tables and pie charts (scroll down for pie chart, Figure 2, see the screenshot in this post).

Thursday, 1 May 2014

MPs getting rowdy in the Commons

An example of the (Deputy) Speaker trying to assert control over a rowdy House of Commons:

The rules on the behaviour of MPs are rather strict - when speaking in the House of Commons you are not permitted to accuse another MP of lying, no matter how strong the evidence may be. That would be 'unparliamentary language'.

MPs can be ejected from the Commons chamber for breaking the rules, and this has happened to the likes of George Galloway and Ian Paisley over the years. In most cases 'the Speaker' will intervene, an MP who doesn't take part in votes and basically puts aside his/her loyalty to their own party to see that the Commons runs smoothly: they decide who gets to speak, in what order, for how long, whether they have broken any rules, and oversees the scheduling of debates - which bills get a chance of a first/second/third reading.

Here's an example of an MP doing what 'Tarzan' (the nickname given to Tory MP, later a powerful government minister, Michael Heseltine) did back in 1976 - swinging the mace that lies between the two front benches.

By the way, did you know that the gap between the benches is measured in sword lengths, to avoid conflict?!
Below the line: several videos showing MPs misbehaving!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Darth Vader for President?

This brings to mind the growing protest over the census form (every 10 years the government sends out compulsory forms to track the demographics of the UK, including sections for religion) which has seen 'Jedi' become the 4th biggest 'religion' in the UK, rivalled by The Flying Spaghetti Monster. We also have the Pirate Party in the UK, dedicated to overturning digital copyright laws.
At the very end of the article, there is a sense of some seious politics amidst the theatrics:
The UIP was registered in 2010 and aims to create an electronic government in Ukraine, transition to digital media and offer free computer courses to all citizens.
Read the full article here.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Would e-voting encourage the young to vote?

In the light of the March 2014 budget, I recently blogged on the potential impact of pensions reforms - something that a typical young person is highly unlikely to have ever thought about - on the lifetime earnings and tax deductions faced by the young generation whose wages (through income tax) are going to pay for this.
KEY STAT: 76% of pensioners vote, only 44% of under-25s vote
I mentioned the common analysis that this reform, brought in by the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition BUT eventually backed by Labour too, reflected the much higher priority the main parties give to older voters because they are so much more likely to actually cast their vote than the young. The 'grey vote' was a much used term.

Now comes news that the organisation which advises the government on how well or otherwise our democracy's voting system is functioning, the Electoral Commission, has also stated that we need reforms to close this growing voting gap between young and old: 76% v 44% respectively.

Here's the Guardian article in full:
The UK should consider allowing internet voting in elections because the current system risks appearing alien and outdated to an increasingly disenfranchised younger generation, the election watchdog has said.
Launching a review of modern voting, the head of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, warned that the state of the electoral system was "not an issue that can stay on the slow track any longer".The long-term trend of falling voter turnout was particularly marked among young people, she said.
Watson said the election watchdog would examine a range of ways to make voting more accessible, including the "radical" option of internet voting and US-style same-day registration for those not on the electoral roll.
"Whether it is the ability to register to vote on the day of the election, or voters being able to use any polling station in their constituency, or the introduction of advance voting, or even more radical options such as e-voting, we plan to look at a variety of options, assessing how they will help citizens engage more effectively," she said.
Watson said online registration was welcome but did not add up to an ambitious, comprehensive modernisation strategy.
With some polls showing 76% of pensioners voting compared with 44% of eligible under-25s, the Electoral Commission said more could be done to make the system more reflective of wider society.
"By doing so we could by proxy help address some of the issues with turnout, particular amongst an increasingly disenfranchised younger generation," Watson said. "Unless our electoral system keeps pace with the way many voters live the rest of their lives – where the way they bank and the way they shop has been transformed – it risks being seen as increasingly alien and outdated, particularly to young voters as they use it for the first time."
She said critics should not see change as a move towards making the electoral system like The X Factor, as society must make sure voting was seen as a "serious and important civic act".
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "The government is always looking at how our electoral system can modernise – that's why we are bringing in online registration and introducing individual electoral registration this summer.
"Technology changes fast and there is always more that can be done to make voting accessible, but it is the government's primary concern to ensure the effective delivery of elections."
What do you think? Would YOU be more likely to vote if you could do it online? Remember, 16 year-olds have been given the right to vote in the Scottish referendum in 2015, and one of the big three parties (Labour) has said it would look at extending this for general elections too, so the issue of voting might not be so distant after all...

Thursday, 20 March 2014

2014 Government Budget: Taxing Your Future?

Helpful starting points/further reading: BBC Beginner's Guide to the Budget
The Gov.UK guide to government spending is more technical 
My previous blog post has many graphics, links and a short video

An unfortunate comparison, but this useful guide gives a quick summary of local gov. spending on p.12; I've also blogged on this before with many more resources!
older people vote – 76% last time. What is the point of easing the housing, jobs and debt crises of the young when only 44% bothered to vote? Low

earners don't vote much either, so the young/poor vote least of all. The IPPR shows how, since 2010, average voters lost 12% in service cuts, but those who didn't vote lost 20%, or £2,135 a year. So, Russell Brand, young people are badly treated if they don't vote. [Polly Toynbee, Guardian, 21.3.14 - lots of facts and figures on how decisions by both major major parties in recent years have hit young people]
Toynbee, above, criticises Brand; videos on Brand's controversial views here.

This can seem very abstract, and alien to teenagers who might not think this impacts upon them, but government budgets, and so their public spending plans, include how much more or less they will spend on schools for example, and how this money is divided up.

This Guardian article claimed that the budget targeted pensioners votes
There is an increasingly common point of view that this government - like its predecessors - puts the interests of pensioners above those of young people, basically because they are much more likely to vote. All of the broadsheet or 'quality' papers from March 20th 2014 (except the Telegraph) specifically mention the 'grey vote' on their front pages. We'll explore the press in more detail in another lesson.

Read what press expert Roy Greenslade made of the press coverage here.

If you skip to 2:12 in, this BBC radio guide to the economy and public spending explains how it works if we imagine that the whole UK economy amounted to just 100 pennies ... from which more and more is going towards paying out pensions, putting pressure on spending on other areas, such as education.
Skip to 2:13 in, and this is a very user-friendly guide!
The Guardian reports that the 2014 budget, from 19th March 2014, was quite obviously pro-pensioner and unfavourable to youth (or 'Generation Y'), as the sample quote below illustrates:
It can be useful to have a grasp of the demographics of the UK; the map below (click here for the full-size image, here to read analysis of how the size of a youth population influences a country's politics) puts the UK into global context:
There are lots of reports on this year's budget; for example, you can find a 100 second video summary here from the Daily Telegraph, a right-wing paper, or select from a range of articles here from The Guardian, a more left-wing paper.

As well as any of the above, you will have the following main resources to use for this task:

Interactive Telegraph guide to public spending - you can click (or just hover) on any of the circles, or the Department names, for further details.

Guardian pie chart graphic of public spending.

This guide is not so user-friendly, but allows you to access some more detailed breakdowns.

This guide to the main elements of the 2013 spending review highlights some of the key trends in government spending.

NB: the images below are only screenshots: click on the blue, bold underlined hyperlinks above to visit these sites/resources!
Telegraph guide: click/hover on bubbles or Department names for more detail

Guardian guide; zoom in to read the fine print!

The guide: click on the + for more details guide - welfare is a key target for cuts; what is your view?

Monday, 17 March 2014

UK Political Parties: a guide

The Wiki list
Most of you will know the names of the 3 biggest UK political parties, 2 of which are in government currently as a coalition while the other forms the main Opposition (their job is to respond to government proposals, although they will sometimes agree with these!).

There are many more, from small fringe parties or single-issue parties (UKIP being a good example) to parties which operate only in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but still send MPs to Westminster plus the devolved parliaments/assemblies of NI/Scotland/Wales.
This link (see screensot, left) contains a list of many of these, including parties which are exclusive to some parts of the UK.
We will spend more time later looking at and comparing the parties policies, but for now you could use this website to compare the policies of some parties (from the last general election):
PocketPolitics guide. (you'd select the 2010 Westminster option)
Here's another lnk, whch looks only at the 3 main parties:
Here's a comparison of the policies of the 3 biggest UK parties, from C4's website. [on a PC CTRL-click links to open in a new tab, on iPad hold the link and select Open In New Tab, so you can keep this webpage open]

If you come across any useful websites/links on UK political parties, pass on details as a comment below and I'll add them to this post

You can use other posts and resources in this blog to help with ideas for your party, and we will return to this frequently. Use the links list you see on the right in the picture below (the post pictured has examples of posters from UK political parties)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

UK Political Parties' posters, past and present

Using some of the links below, you can build a good impression of how party politics have shifted over time, for example the reduction in real difference between Labour and Tories as 'New Labour' moved to the free market, right-wing position of the Conservatives.
You can also decide for yourself whether or not these posters are actively misleading!

The Tories needed to convince sceptical voters they could be trusted with public services

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

World Book Day: Young People and Politics...

I'd like you to select one of the two articles linked below ... and read it! We will leave at least 5 minutes to discuss your thoughts/responses/findings.
If you finish quickly and want to read more, further links appear at the end (including an option with a strong statistical/mathematical slant).

Click on one of the following articles, then read through it:
ARTICLE 1: "Young People's Boredom With Politics 'Should Not Be Confused With Apathy'" [Joseph Rowntree Foundation]
This article uses some complex language.
Click here if this is the article you'd prefer to read. Paragraphs are longer and language more challenging compared to the Mirror article below.

ARTICLE 2: "Russell Brand is wrong - young people HAVE to be engaged in politics" [Daily Mirror]
This article uses less challenging language.
Click here if this is the article you'd prefer to read; the language is less complex and the paragraphs shorter than the other article above, but it is still quite long! (If this page won't load, scroll to the bottom where I've copied in the text - its easier to read from the webpage though)


If you're a quick reader, you could try another article on the same theme...
This is from a broadsheet/quality newspaper, but is written by a young person. Click here to read.
This article is quite 'dry' in tone, and includes a lot of statistical analysis, which keen mathematicians may enjoy!

I'm not sure whether tabloid papers will be accessible through our web filter; so, just in case, here's the text from the Mirror article:
Russell Brand is a brilliant comedian and a great talent. Recently he made some very serious points about our political system.
Lots of them were spot on. I don’t think we have a democracy that works if only a third of the population voted at the last election.
But I didn’t agree when he said we have tried voting and it doesn’t work . I don’t think we have tried as a nation to vote in huge numbers.
When you think of what people went through to give us these freedoms it seems very easy to say we have tried it and it has failed.
If you look at it from the perspective of young people, only 44 per cent of them turned out to vote in 2010 compared to 76 per cent in the older demographic.
And that’s where Bite the Ballot comes in.
We have been working across the country to get young people engaged in politics.
Today sees the first National Voter Registration Day where we want to get thousands of young people to register to vote.
We looked to the success of the Rock the Vote campaign in the USA, which used celebrities such as Christina Aguilera to encourage people to register, and decided this was something Britain needed.
We have reached out to schools, youth clubs, universities and businesses.
Events are taking place all over the country with people joining in to help register more voters.
It’s amazing that with a little bit effort from a small team you can really instil the vision that voter registration is a rite of passage for all those aged 16 and above.
Coming up to the election in 2010, I was teaching business studies at the Wilmington Enterprise College in Dartford, Kent.
A colleague asked me if I was going to vote and I said no. I said the same thing I hear from young people now: ­politics doesn’t affect me.
But he made it real for me.
He started relating politics to things I have to deal with every day from road tax for my car to whether we go to war.
He said politics decides whether your favourite nightclub can have a late licence or if it can have a dance floor.
These were clear-cut examples of how politics affects everything in my life.
So I thought to myself, why don’t I know this stuff?
I wondered how I could go the whole way through school and three years at university and no one came round canvassing for votes or engaging me or my friends.
Did I not matter as much?
Young people have been labelled apathetic but they have never really been told how important politics is.
Between the staff and students at the school we formed Bite the Ballot.
We began looking at the reasons why people weren’t involved, why they were frustrated with the process, and we tried to turn them into opportunities.
One reason given was that people didn’t know how to go about voting and didn’t want to embarrassed at a polling station.
So we held a mock election in school.
We had three teams canvassing the school and on the day of the vote we set up a classroom exactly how it would be at a polling station for an authentic experience.
We taught 668 people how to vote in that one day and they all said: “Is that it? It’s so easy.”
Bite the Ballot is now nearly four years old and we are still growing and looking at new ways of getting the message out.
We have developed two learning games, called The Basics, which illustrate the powers we have and the choices we face as a country.
We are trying to get young people to engage in shaping the society they live in .
We have registered more than 15,000 people using these games and today is vitally important with the General Election next year.
The statistics are very telling – 96 per cent of over-65s are registered to vote compared with only 56 per cent of those aged 16 to 24.
Estimates suggest 3.8million people won’t be registered for the 2015 election and we are trying to get as many signed up as possible.
They deserve to be heard.
The Mirror’s search for a young person to be the Voice of a Generation is a brilliant way of engaging people in the political process.
It is a great opportunity for ­some­one to report on the issues from a young person’s perspective.
There will be some wonderful stories coming from the young person selected.
We have to get young people engaged in politics, to balance things out, keep it fresh, and we hope today will be an annual drive to get them registered.
We have created a no-nonsense registration form on our website that takes out the jargon and helps people understand what is being asked of them.
I respect Russell Brand for voicing his opinion. We need more of that.
It’s what Bite the Ballot is ­encouraging – it’s about getting more people to voice their opinion to truly reflect our country.
Need to get yourself on the register of voters? 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Bradford research materials

For general information about Bradford start with these websites:
These websites has information about the population of Bradford:
These websites explain about the Bradford riots:
These websites show how communities can work together:

This Is Where We Live 

Make Bradford British

The following three videos have been removed. However, you can read about what they said and covered through the BBC site and reviews such as this one from the Daily Telegraph.

Bradford City of Dreams Episode 1 BBC full documentary 2013

Bradford City of Dreams Episode 2 BBC Full Documentary 2013

Muslims helps Jewish community to save Bradford Synagogue 

Muslims helps Jewish community to save Bradford Synagogue [report by 'JewishNews']

Recollections of Jewish Bradford

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Parliament and UK General Election Process in a Nutshell

You should bookmark this blog, and any other pages/sites you think will be helpful for your Citizenship exam.
1: Close the video list. Try the task until you get all 4 right

Click on this link, close the video pop-up menu once the page loads, and drag and drop the 4 answers, click reveal, and keep going until you go all 4 right. Use this information, and whatever you find by going on to the next step (just click reveal for each question), to write in your own defintion of the 2 main types of voting system on your worksheet.
Simply click each 'reveal'

Click here to go the page you see previewed right, with a 22min video setting out the process of the UK general election, and how our Parliament functions.

You can find many more resources on voting systems in this blog post, and several others in this blog!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Understanding 'left-wing' and 'right-wing'

A couple of videos for you which seek to explain to explain the difference...


Two further terms you can consider; if you take the political test, you'll find you're placed not just on a left/right spectrum but also an authoritarian/libertarian spectrum. (Source for quotes below; you can find an alternative explanation here)
Authoritarian:The state, as the highest expression of institu­tionalized structure, supersedes the individual and makes it possible for the individual to acquire and develop a stable and harmonious life Mass communication, then, supports the state and the govern­ment in power so that total society may advance and the state may be viable and attain its objectives.
The State (the elite that runs the state) directs the citizenry, which is not considered competent and interested enough to make critical political decisions. One man or an elite group is placed in a leadership role. As the group or person controls society generally it (or he or she) also controls the mass media since they are recognized as vital instruments of social control.
The mass media, under authoritarianism, are educators and propagandists by which the power elite exercise social control. Generally the media are privately owned, although the leader or his elite group may own units in the total communication system. A basic: assumption a person engaged in journalism is so engaged as a special privilege granted by the national leadership. He, therefore, owes an obligation to the leadership.
This press concept has formed and now forms, the basis for many media systems of the world. The mass media, under authoritarianism, have only as much freedom as the national leadership at any particular time is willing to permit.
Libertarian:The libertarian press concept is generally traced back to England and the American colonies of the seventeenth century. Giving rise to the libertarian press theory was the philosophy that looked upon man as a rational animal with inherent natural rights. One of these rights was the right to pursue truth, and potential inter­feres (kings, governors et al) would (or should) be restrained.
Exponents of this press movement during the seventeenth century, and the 200 years which followed, included Milton, Locke, Erskine, Jefferson, and John Stuart Mill. Individual liberties were stressed by these philosophers, along with a basic trust in the people to take intelligent decisions (generally) if a climate of free expression existed.
In theory, a libertarian press functions to present the truth, however splintered it may be in a pluralism of voices. It is impossi­ble to do this if it is controlled by some authority outside itself. Through the years many new ideas were grafted on to early press libetarianism: One of these, for example, was the general accept­ance of a kind of obligation to keep the public abreast of govern­mental activities, or being a kind of fourth branch of government supplementing the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
This was actually a rather recent concept, having been grafted on to the original libertarian theory. There flows a basic faith, shown by libertarian advocates that a free press- working in a laissez faire, unfettered situation-will naturally result in a pluralism of information and viewpoints necessary in a democratic society.

Any more suggestions? Add as a comment...

Party Policies: 2013 Party Political Broadcasts

A party political broadcast (also known as a party election broadcast or party conference broadcast depending on the date of broadcast) is a television or radio broadcast made by a political party.
In the United Kingdom, political advertising on television or radio is illegal, but parties are instead allocated broadcast slots across the traditional terrestrial TV channels. On a given day, a given party will be allowed to broadcast a piece about five minutes long.
[Source: Wikipedia]
The major parties are granted opportunities to communicate directly to mass TV audiences through occasional party political broadcasts. As a form of advertising, these are essentially propaganda on behalf of a party, seeking to persuade viewers/voters that this party is the superior brand, the one they should vote for and believe in. These PPBs often focus on the alleged weaknesses or drawbacks of their opponents.
UK PPBs are fairly tame; its legal in the US to pay for political advertising, and many ads are savagely critical of an opponent. Critics of this system argue that, because of the huge cost of paying for TV ads and the fundraising required, this opens politics to corruption: wouldn't someone donating a million want something in return?

PPBs are easily spoofed too; this example twists the Conservative message into a very silly manifesto for delivering fudge and slaughter ...

Nonetheless, these short ads help to further your understanding of what the parties stand for.

Lets look at some examples...

2013 Tory PPB 12.4.2013
Having been out of power from 1997-2010, the Tories calculate that Eurosceptic policies and attacks on welfare will win the 2015 general election for them, and hope that their austerity policies deliver economic recovery, arguing there is no alternative after years of Labour overspending.

2013 Labour PPB 19.4.2013
After 13 years in government, Labour find themselves widely blamed for the economic disaster that kicked in in 2008; they seek to tread a fine line between attacking Tory austerity and agreeing to some of their economic policies and welfare reforms. Their central argument is on fairness.

Researching Party Manifestoes

A cynical rebranding or reflection of greener policies?
This is one of several posts with resources on the political parties - use the tags or links lists to find more, eg 2014 party political broadcasts; guide to UK political parties; party posters...

Over the course of the opening lessons in this strand you will research major parties' manifestoes and their aims. You will also go on to come up with your own new political parties, and we will hold a debate and election with these new parties!

below the line you will find links to the 2010 manifestoes, party websites and news sources on the policies of the following political parties: Tories/Conservatives; Labour (still the big two, but both struggling to win an overall majority and losing votes to smaller parties); Lib Dems (will they lose most of their seats in 2015?); UKIP (the wild card in 2015?); Greens (could take seats from Labour, + maybe more votes than Lib Dems?); and two fringe parties as further examples: George Galloway's Respect Party and the pro-piracy/anti-copyright Pirate Party

Use some of the following links to help you with your initial research (hold in the CTRL or CMD button when clicking a link and it will open in a new tab/window so you don't have to keep going back) - you can also look for more options yourself using key search terms such as (party name) manifesto and policy (or polic*):

Tory website policy guide;
Tory/Conservative Party website: 'Where we stand'; [if it times out, try their homepage]
BBC guide to their 2010 election policies;

Monday, 13 January 2014

Parliament + Government: What's the Difference? (4min video)

You could try the last 2mins of this vid (from 4:13 in):

This one sets out the key facts and terms

This one sets out the role of an MP; you can find more resources on this topic here.

The UK Parliament has traditions going back several centuries, such as the formal procedures around the State Opening of Parliament, in which the monarch addresses both Houses (of Commons and Lords) and sets out what 'her government' intends to do over the coming year.
Such ceremony is an important tradition say some; others argue that its offputting - what do you think?

How Laws Are Made (6min video)

Voter Turnout: UK Democracy in Crisis?

The long-term trend is clear: fewer of us are voting.
Increasingly, the young in particular don't vote while older people do.
This is reflected in the policies of our major parties - in January 2014 the big 3 (Labour, Tory, LibDem) all seemed intent on ensuring that the pension would not go down, whilst proposing measures (such as scrapping housing benefit for the under-24s) that targeted the young.

Here are a few graphics to get you thinking, or just to help with research and reading on this topic. The hyperlinks for articles, where you can find out more, are included in the captions.

Turnout for these elections was at a ridiculously low 15% - are the other 85% represented?!

MOST will vote in general elections but not others, eg European elections

There are multiple reasons why some chose not to vote.