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AS and A Level: United Kingdom

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How to become a successful politics student

  1. 1 Enjoy the subject – Politics is all around you so make sure you watch the news, read newspapers and look online at what is happening in the world. Sign up for updates from news organisations.
  2. 2 Read around the subject – There are lots of political books that will help you to gain a wider perspective of the subject, these range from autobiographies of past Prime Ministers to how varying British parties have developed.
  3. 3 Watch TV – There are lots of politics programmes which will help up to understand how politics works in reality and help to gain your own examples.
  4. 4 Make sure you know enough for the exam – Remember you will always need to know and be able to understand more than the limitations of any specification.
  5. 5 Use political vocabulary correctly – Try explaining new words and concepts to friends and family so that you get used to the using the new language.

Five things to remember when answering essay style questions

  1. 1 Make sure you focus on the question being asked. It is tempting to include everything you know in an answer but the test is what you select in relation to the question.
  2. 2 Ensure you understand what is meant by the ‘command word’ – Every question contains a specific command such as ‘Distinguish between...’, ‘To what extent...?’, ‘How effectively...?’, ‘Discuss’.
    Learn what is expected for each command word.
  3. 3 Make sure you have planned your answer so that you have a clear structure. You need to define three or four areas to be dealt with systematically. Remember that each point or area or discussion should be easy to identify.
  4. 4 Provide relevant evidence to illustrate points being made – Students often struggle to get the right balance between theory and evidence, either making their answers over theoretical or just writing one example after another. You must remember to use the evidence to support claims you making.
  5. 5 Make sure you have explored different viewpoints, theories and concepts as this will help to make sure that your answer is balanced. Do not allow your answer to be subjective.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 27
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Leadership styles

    3 star(s)

    Generally, this approach is not considered to be the most appropriate way to get the best response from a team in ordinary working life, but it has distinct advantages in situations where there is great urgency and pressure to achieve, such as the armed forces. Autocratic leaders may rely on threats or intimidation to ensure that followers conform to what the leader requires. In addition, this approach could devalue team members by ignoring their expertise and input and discouraging demonstrations of initiative.

    • Word count: 2819
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Impact of government policies

    3 star(s)

    Examples of human rights: * right to life * right to free elections * right to a fair trial * freedom of expression * prohibition of torture Finance - In order for the public services to operate they need a flow of funds to cover expenses such as equipment and infrastructure. Therefore the financial policies of the government have an incredible impact on the public services. Public money is so important that if the money used to fund the services is reduced then this will have an impact on the work the services can afford.

    • Word count: 2203
  3. Marked by a teacher

    How effective is the British Constitution in protecting the rights of its citizens?

    3 star(s)

    Any amendment made to the British constitution is made in the same way; a new law must pass with a majority of supporters in both Houses followed by a Royal Assent. The constitution comes from a number of different sources which include; statutes such as the Magna Carta, law and customs of parliament, constitutional matters decided in a court of law and constitutional experts who have written on the subject such as Walter Bagehot. Parliament has a close hold over the British Constitution.

    • Word count: 2307
  4. During this project, I hope to test out my hypothesis that the BBC War reporting undermined the security of the British troops during the Falklands of 1982, potentially breaking the Treason Act, 1940.

    Secondly, I aim to study the increase of war broadcasting in the UK with an apparent correlation to the development of technology. Thirdly, I will assess the argument that this rise in technology has diminished security of British troops, breaking the Treason Act 1940 and lastly, I will present and assess empirical evidence for this argument in relation to the Battle of Goose Green of the Falklands War, 1982 using this case study as an example to relate to and avoid, in present day conflicts.

    • Word count: 2423
  5. To what extent have constitutional reforms since 1997 reduced the powers of the UK government

    gave to many powers away and they would fight to claim them back. The coalition agreement focuses a lot on constitutional reform and in their 20 months and 20 days in power they have gone through a incredible amount of constitutional reform, heavily influenced by the lib dem side of the coalition. The Blair government was elected on a manifesto which included the promise of devolution. Devolution is a process of constitutional reform where power, but not legal sovereignty is distributed to local institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Therefore setting up, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland assembly Labour, this was seen as a very popular policy by the elector and helped them secure a majority of 179.

    • Word count: 2010
  6. What does it take to change the United Kingdoms constitution?

    In 1991 the Labour party produced a detailed Constitution for the UK and since then many constitutional character statutes have been published adding to the support. It appears that there has been a gradual shift towards UK having a written constitution; a written constitution would just be the subsequent step. Furthermore, Britain is one of the only democracies that does not have a written constitution. There may be a great deal of problems needing to be addressed but we cannot be said to know what our constitution actually is, much less to understand it fully, until we have attempted to enact it.

    • Word count: 2034
  7. In this report I will talk about four of the different types of voting system, and which one out of them I find most preferable.

    For example, in the 2005 general election the Liberal Democrats gained 22% of the votes and gained 62 seats (9.6%), the Conservatives had 32% of the vote and gained 198 seats (30.7%) and the labour party had 35.2% of the vote and gained 355 seats (55%). If anything these statistics show that FPTP is extremely unproportional, because as little as 3.2% of the vote can result in a 157 seat difference. However FPTP does have a few good points. One of these is the likely hood of coalition.

    • Word count: 2164
  8. Free essay

    Identify and Discuss the Role of Prime Minister, Giving Specific Examples within the British System of Government.

    The principal roles of the prime minister are taken from the historical roles of the monarch on a discretionary basis. The Royal Prerogatives are the powers of the Crown and are part of common law. The UK has a constitutional monarchy not an absolute monarchy. This means that the monarchy is impartial. The work that the monarch does in politics is largely symbolic. The work of the monarch within the remit of the royal prerogative is seen as being on behalf of elected ministers.

    • Word count: 2215
  9. How effective is Parliament as a check on the executive?

    So despite a large share of the vote, they do not win many seats. It is important to remember that 2010 is an exceptional election. The electoral system ensures that the most popular party has the most seats. In 1974 and 2010, this is not the case. Even though the Conservatives won the most seats, 307, they lacked an overall majority in Parliament. This meant they had to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats (who won 57 seats) in order to have a majority in Parliament. The main problem is that parties can win over half the seats with just a third of the vote.

    • Word count: 2830
  10. To what extent does the prime minister dominate the UK political system?

    Brown also placed some of his allies into key jobs such as Darling and Balls. In addition to this, those in the cabinet who are not personally loyal to the PM will pretend they are in order to keep their job, as being sacked will effectively end their career. In 1962, PM Harold McMillan sacked six cabinet ministers in the Night of the Long Knives and everyone in cabinet since knows that this can happen again. This influence is not limited to ministers, junior ministers and backbenchers want to get promoted so they are brown nosing too.

    • Word count: 2684
  11. What, If Anything, Would Be Achieved By The United Kingdom Adopting A Codified Constitution?

    Whilst sources comprising the constitution are indeed in written form, i.e. Acts of Parliaments and Statutes, a majority of the sources remain unwritten, such as conventions and the royal prerogative. The U.K can be said to be the only major country in the world to not have a codified constitution, and this has led to a debate as to whether or not the U.K should adopt a codified constitution. Refuting the need for the UK to adopt a codified constitution would be the fact that there has not been a truly revolutionary momentous event that would signal the need for a codified constitution.

    • Word count: 2095
  12. Discuss the indepedence of the UK Judiciary

    In contrast to this the UK's parliamentary system is described as instead being a 'fusion of powers' which is the complete opposite. This 'fusion' comes from the constitutional idea that parliament must be sovereign, and politically that in reality a parliamentary system of government, the executive is in control of the other branches of government. Nevertheless the judiciary is left out of this idea, as there is no real reason to suggest that the judiciary should be involved in this association of fusion.

    • Word count: 2374
  13. To what extent have Government been concerned with reducing the dependency culture since 1997?

    Gordon Brown in March 2008 said 'Child poverty is the scar that demeans Britain.' The government has aimed to reduce child poverty and the dependency culture for this by introducing a scheme called 'work for your benefits'. The aim of this scheme is that lone parents are required to undergo unpaid work to ensure their financial support is maintained. This has been seen as reducing the dependency culture in which parents and families are not spoon fed money from the state.

    • Word count: 2032
  14. To what extent have governments and political parties agreed on how best to raise educational standards in Britain since 1997?

    A further 3000 senior staffs from heads, deputies and bureaucrats could be cut as schools become federations. This method is believed to save �250 million by reducing senior posts. The federation model too can save another �500 million. A further 10% could be cut on schools spending budget on equipments and facilities. However pressure group National Head Teachers Union (NHTU) opposes the federation proposals. The Conservatives and Lib Dems are in consensus to the belief that no cuts should be made. The Conservatives want more private involvement and more business involved whereas The Lib Dems intend to scrap measures such as the Child Trust Fund which pays out �500 million a year to place more money into maintaining standards.

    • Word count: 2382
  15. Media or Manifesto?

    In 1992, Neil Kinnock led a radical campaign, and as opposition to an increasingly unpopular Conservative party, Labour were favourates to win the general election3. However, the Conservatives still came through as the winners. One theory behind this is that though people had lost faith in the Conservatives, they still did not want to shift their vote so far to the left as to vote labour, and gave indifferent votes in the polls. While a number of people may have said they would not vote Conservative, they just could not bring themselves to vote Labour.

    • Word count: 2316
  16. Political Parties

    He used the media very effectively during his campaign. Another example of an MP using the media for politics is George Galloway's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother. This enabled young people to watch a popular TV programme whilst listening to a politician. However, Galloway's showing was ridiculed and criticised by some, including members of his own constituency. Another way in which MPs can serve their constituents is by putting pressure on the Executive. This can be achieved during Prime Minister's Question Time.

    • Word count: 2124
  17. Discuss the changes in attitude towards Europe that have taken place within and between British political parties over the last forty years.

    It came into force on the 23rd of July. The aim of this treaty was to utilise economic integration as a foundation for political integration via the 'Monnet method'. The coal and steel industries were initially targeted as the basis for integration as at that time they were the essential component of military and industrial power. By integrating these two industries it would make it difficult for a single nation to gain a military advantage. After much initial success the six members agreed to extend the treaty farther to include their wider economies, this led to the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which took effect in 1958.

    • Word count: 2420
  18. Labour Party history since 1979

    And second the right to elect Labour's Leader and Deputy Leader was no longer the responsibilities of the Deputy Leader were to be elected using an electoral college. 2) Modernisation 1983-94 Labour's poor showing in the 1983 general lection resulted in a backlash against the ideas and strategy Benn and his colleagues. After 1983, the Party leadership began to research its authority and it introduced organisational reforms which both broadened and centralised the decision-making process within the Party. The leadership reasserts its authority One way in which the Labour Party leadership tried to reassert its authority was by purging the Party of members of the Militant tendency in mid-1980s.

    • Word count: 2080
  19. The Vampires Attack As he walked up the rickety stairs to the graveyard, his hand flaking the paint off the banister

    He looked around for any means of protection and saw a stake with a note about the up-and-coming Easter egg hunt in the graveyard. Wrenching the stake from the ground, he turned to face his attacker; seeing how close the monster was too late. The creature was right at the end of the stake and as he collided with it, the stake went straight through his right shoulder. As Jake looked down at the victim that was now pinned to the ground by the stake he saw its coal-black cape, its milky-white fangs and his blond hair and blue eyes in the reflection off its pale white eyes.

    • Word count: 2455

    The Licensing Act and the 1902 Education Act went against the strict political and social views of the non-conformists. This was enough for them to go out and vote Liberal in 1906. This accounts for a 25% increase in Liberal votes in 1906. After years of Tory dominance the Liberals turned the 1900 election result on its head. A major significance was Tariff Reform, this united the Liberal Party and they stood together and stayed united in the defence of Free Trade.

    • Word count: 2256
  21. Is There A Need For Constitutional Reform?

    All in all, it would seem that the government can look back upon a programme of continuing constitutional reform that far exceeds anything accomplished by its recent predecessors and which amounts to the upholding of promises made at the time of the 1997 general election. But how far are these things achievements? How far do they keep promises made at the election, and subsequently? And, above all, how far have they led to the better governance of Britain, and have they been a good use of legislative time and taxpayers' money that might have been better deployed?

    • Word count: 2027
  22. Can parliament bind it's successors with the provision in the Northern Ireland Act 1998, s.1 (1)?

    In the case of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, we must first look at s 1(1). "It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section, in accordance with schedule 1." The section entails that Northern Ireland will remain part of the United Kingdom, and therefore is under its law-making power, until such a time that the people of Northern Ireland wish otherwise.

    • Word count: 2312
  23. In liberal-democratic political systems, which type of executive offers greater scope for democratic accountability: a presidential executive or a prime-ministerial/parliamentary type?

    Presidents can and have used this fact to push legislation through the legislature on the back of their proven support of the population. The president could argue that he represents the view of the state as a whole whereas the members of the legislature are simply representative of their constituencies. "In many South American countries and in France at various times the president has been able to go one step further and to assert that he alone represented the people."

    • Word count: 2570
  24. Describe the proposals made during the Second World War for the provision of a Welfare State.

    The contribution each individual should pay would depend on what benefits they themselves would receive. White papers and other acts were also written in order to deal with the post-war reconstruction. Ideas about how to tackle the lack of housing were mentioned in a post-war housing policy, which estimated that 750,000 new houses would be needed. A "Town and Country Planning Act" was also devised to control the construction of offices, factories and houses. In 1944 a white paper was made, proposing "A free National Health Service", which meant free and comprehensive health care.

    • Word count: 2096
  25. Write a short report on the structure of the society of Britain today, which includes information on class, culture and racial differences this information will then be compared with the American society today using the same information.

    The staff who are treating you may be in a different social class making them think that you are beneath them therefore resulting in poor healthcare and education. Age can also be a deciding factor in your health. As you may be discriminated against because of your age, this can also happen with race, sex, religion and disability. These are the most common factors that are discriminated against. Having the factors discriminated against can lead the sufferer to depression even suicide it can also make the persons work at school suffer in they are discriminated against in school.

    • Word count: 2260

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Extent to which leadership effected the 2001 federal election outcome.

    "In conclusion, leadership was a very important factor in determining the outcome of the election. However, the two events outside the control of either of the candidates, those of the Tampa crisis and September 11, were used as a vehicle by the Liberal party to show John Howard's capabilities as a leader. These events allowed Mr. Howard to shine; in times of crisis the party with the advantage of incumbency become very popular, and a change of Government is undesirable. Beazley was on a sure path to success, but Tampa and September 11 rendered a Labor victory all but impossible. It was clear from pre-election polls that after these events Labor's substantial popularity was completely reversed in favour of the coalition. Each party's campaigns also showed the value placed on leadership, this being the most substantial issue dealt with in television advertising."

  • To what extent has the Prime Minister become Presidential?

    "In conclusion, the Prime Minister may sometimes appear to be distancing himself from Parliament but unlike the President he is constantly answerable and remains accountable to Cabinet. On the other hand, many powers of our Prime Minister are less restrained than those of a President such as patronage, the support of a strong party system and the ability to exercise a large number of prerogative powers. These powers are largely flexible due to the lack of a legal framework defining the office (influenced by the fact Britain has no codified constitution). The Prime Minister has certainly appeared to become increasingly presidential and we are moving away from Cabinet government and toward Prime Ministerial government; however I disagree that it is conforming to the American model. Blair is continuing a recent trend of particularly dominant Prime Ministers, for example Wilson and Thatcher. By taking full advantage of Labour's huge parliamentary majority and continued popularity, he appears to be pushing the Office to its limits, further enhancing the control of the Prime Minister over policy making."

  • Discuss the view that today Parliamentary Sovereignty exists more in theory than in practice.

    "It is therefore my conclusion that I am in agreement with the statement that "Parliamentary sovereignty exists more today in theory than in practice". There are too many limiting factors against the view which is supporting that Parliament is wholly autonomous and sovereign of any higher authority; the EU being a glaringly obvious example of a supranational state which has become deeply federalised and, in more cases than not, ruled against the UK's own decisions in individual circumstances. Another instance which has highlighted the flaws of the conventionalisation of the legislature is the Human Rights Act (1998). Sadly, it binds the future actions of any successor government to itself. It should be held that any future parliament can be permitted (and hold the supreme right) to debate and execute the re-introduction of corporal punishment, for instance, but the HRA effectively prohibits that, as the EU's implementation of the HRA also will supersede any vacancy left by the repealing of the Act; a damning indictment against the position upon which the UK has suddenly found itself."

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