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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.

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  1. To What extent was 'New Labour' a continuation of Thatcherism?

    This 'continuation' some argue, brought fundamental changes to the exercises of executive power because 'New Labour' was built on a model (Thatcherism) that worked . This could imply a change in the way in which the executive operates simply because of how the political culture had developed, "the product not of conspiracy, but of events"4, which are beyond the control of the executive. However some could argue that these changes were as a result of New Labour's tactics, making other parties do the same because of the obvious electoral success that derived from this approach.

    • Word count: 1902
  2. adult education

    Or it can include a set of ideals and values: adulthood. (Tight, M. 1996) An accepted definition of 'adult' in adult education is not and cannot be clear. It is very difficult to specify or classify this sector of education. It is hard to call it a sector at all, but it definitely includes formal education or training leading to a qualification. On the other hand, there are wide range of informal learning opportunities are also available, which are significant sources of skill and knowledge development. The focus of policy is widening to include informal with formal learning and non- vocational with vocational learning.

    • Word count: 3266
  3. 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
  4. What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of First Past the Post?

    Another factor that shows that FPTP is advantageous is that the outcome of elections using it is clear and concise. These elections usually produce a clear winner to which a government is formed. Even if no one part secures a majority of the votes cast, it usually achieves a majority of seats by which it wins the election. This simplicity avoids the trouble that formation of coalition governments between parties often entails. Also, FPTP, by supporting the main two parties of the UK and by giving the party that wins an election a "winner's bonus" of additional seats can be said to provide and create strong governments.

    • Word count: 837
  5. Do the resources available to the prime Minister invest him with significant power?

    An example of the overwhelming power a Prime Minister can have with a majority is Tony Blair, who had almost-unstoppable legislation-passing power in after the 1997 Labour landslide victory over the Conservatives. Also, party support for the Prime Minister's legislation is usually quite reliable, although this is not conditional, and depends greatly on the popularity of a specific Prime Minister with their party. The Prime Minister's power is also limited by threats of leadership challenges should that Prime Minister reach very low levels of popularity from disgruntled MPs or ministers.

    • Word count: 1097
  6. The Democratic Example

    Then, in 1679 came an act that made the ancient writ 'Habeas corpus' law. This was a fundamental swerve towards a more democratic nation. Ironically, we seem to be going back in time rather than forwards. The proposed new detention law, whereby the police can interrogate a suspect for up to 42 days without trial is a direct threat to this most ancient of rights, this of course is not to mention the control orders that were passed in 2005 under the Terrorism Act.

    • Word count: 1449
  7. How effective is parliament at holding the executive to account?

    Question Time has been televised since 1989 and this makes it easier to watch. However, this is not as good for ministers as more people will watch them answer questions and make a judgement on them. An example of a question asked at question time is on the 14 July 2005, where Bill Rammel was questioned about sixth form colleges. Question times is very effective at holding the executive to account because ministers face many questions from MPs However, Question Time is ineffective at holding the executive to account because it is an unsuccessful waste of time because much time is spent preparing for it and preparing the questions.

    • Word count: 1033
  8. Labour Party

    Some of their Labour councillors are: Cllr. E. A. Baker - St. Michael's Cllr. Baker plans to retire from being a Knowsley Councillor in 2008. He is a member of several committees - the Corporate Performance Scrutiny Committee, Scrutiny Coordinating Committee and Tender Opening Panel. He holds surgeries at Mosscroft Community Centre. Cllr. J. B. Greer - Park Cllr. Greer plans to retire in 2010. He is a member of the Area Partnership Board Coordinating Group, Corporate Performance Scrutiny Committee, Economy and Employment Scrutiny Committee, Human Resources Appeals Committee, North Kirkby Area Partnership Board. He holds surgeries at both Park Close and Tower Hill Community Centres, and Copthorne Adventure Playground. Cllr. J.

    • Word count: 1459
  9. 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
  10. Winston Churchill

    His reputation remains assured as one of the great leader of the 20th century, whose contribution really did change the history of the world. Belief: He believed he could lead Britain to victory although defeat seemed almost inevitable. In 1940, when Britain stood almost alone against the might of Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill stepped forward to lead his nation and led his nation to victory in World War Two.

    • Word count: 415
  11. Should the UK have a monarchy?

    In a democratic society, why should one person who has not been fairly elected have the power to overturn laws and influence the outcome of elections? However, no British monarchy has vetoed an act of parliament since around 1720 and perhaps the fact that the monarchy can advise and warn the prime minister in times of difficulty means that although they have not been elected, they can give a wise and fair view of the situation without being constricted by the will of the people who voted to put them into power The cost of the monarchy is often a much fought-over and bitter battle.

    • Word count: 541
  12. Abigails Party Context

    I think this is a reflection of Leigh's feelings as a young man. Leigh's films and plays offer a 'slice of life realism' usually choosing down to earth subjects. Abigail's Party mocks the aspirations and tastes of the new middle class that emerged in Britain in the 1970s. Leigh obviously feels some animosity towards middle class people as, by status, they are perceived to be better than he, a working class Jew. But intellectually and culturally, he is superior. The play was aired on BBC, a popular channel for the British middle class.

    • Word count: 814
  13. Describe the methods by which Parliament creates statutes.

    For example, a local authority wishing to build a new development might propose a Private Bill. If an individual MP wishes to put forward a Bill, then it is called a Private Member's Bill. These often fail to make it as an Act of Parliament without widespread support. However, some important legislation has originated in a Private Member's Bill. An example would be The Murder (abolition of death penalty) Act 1965 which successfully abolished the death penalty. Bills, once they have been created, are introduced either into the House of Commons or the House of Lords, except for all important finance Bills, which must start life in the House of Commons.

    • Word count: 904
  14. Discussing John Diefenbaker

    Part of this ability would have come from his work as a defense lawyer, where he would represent poor clients. This obviously helped him develop a greater understanding of society's lower class, which would have strengthened his connection with the poor during the elections ("Wikipedia" 2007, pg. 1). John Diefenbaker received many awards due to his contributions so Canadian society. The majority of his recognition came in the form of honourary degrees, which are academic awards presented to an individual who is a distinguished member of society.

    • Word count: 1069
  15. priministers power

    The British Constitution o There is no codified constitution and so there are few formal limitations on the British executive. A Prime Minister exercises significant discretionary powers. For example, by convention, a Prime Minister exercises the monarch's powers of ministerial appointment and dismissal. He needs no approval from parliament. The Prime Minister also assumes the monarch's powers as Commander-in-Chief and there are no formal constitutional checks as in the USA; so parliament does not need to ratify treaties or even declare war.

    • Word count: 5998
  16. Political and Global Issues

    prime minister has done Russia - toning down criticism of alleged human rights abuses, working hard to bring Russia closer to Nato and the European Union. The Russia officials have acknowledged the contribution British expertise, know - how and money have made there country's reforms over recent years. Fundamental differences still remain. President Pudin did let Mr. Blair at a news conference, no that they do not know where Saddam is. His exact words were: "We do not know whether perhaps Saddam is still hiding somewhere underground in a bunker sitting on cases containing weapons of mass destruction, and is preparing for blowing the whole thing up bringing down with him the lives of hundreds of thousands of people."

    • Word count: 848
  17. Some differences and similarities between the Australian and United States federal legislatures

    Executive power is vested in the President. He nominates the members of his Cabinet and other senior Executive Branch officials, who must be confirmed by the Senate. The Constitution can only be changed by a referendum of all voters in the Commonwealth. A change can only be made when a majority of votes in a majority of States votes for the alteration. The Constitution can be changed by a two thirds majority in each house of Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states. The Constitution describes the separate legislative, executive and judicial arms of government but requires that ministers be, or soon become, Members or Senators.

    • Word count: 1602
  18. Question from January 2003

    Presidential government, on the other hand, has a distinct separation of power. If chosen to form part of the executive, you must give up your seat in the legislative, this is not the case with a parliamentary system, the Lord Chancellor in Britain, for example, sits in all three arms of the state. The legislative, under a parliamentary government, has more power than that of a presidential government. The president is solely responsible for selecting his or her cabinet members, however in a parliamentary system the Prime Minister must have their selection confirmed by the legislative.

    • Word count: 706
  19. Explain how Peel changed the fortunes of the Conservative party 1829 - 41 Between 1829 and 1841, many changes had been made by Peel to reconstruct the Tory Party

    Peel was a member of the Carlton club which was a conservative headquarters to deal with electoral matters. This made the party in to a cohesive group with the same aims and objectives even though this didn't change; they became the united force in which they were before. This also provided an alternative government at a time when the opposition was falling apart and the conservatives were pulling together. But this may not be seen as Peel's responsibility rather the problems with the Whigs as a factor to consider.

    • Word count: 1217
  20. How effective is Parliament in Calling the Executive to Account?

    However, select committees can also produce a counter argument as to the effectiveness parliament. Whips control the membership of the select committees, therefore whips will not place minsters in the committee who are likely to object or thoroughly scrutinise legislation. Membership is also in proportion to the percentage of seats each party holds in the House of Commons; therefore it could be argued that the committees could be bias if the ruling party has a large majority. The Winterton Rule reduces parliament effectiveness as well.

    • Word count: 1248
  21. Arguments that the British Prime Minister is an elective dictator are arrant nonsense. The Prime Minister is constrained by his or her cabinet colleagues, the will of Parliament and the decisions of the judiciary. Discuss.

    The relationship of the Prime Minister with his cabinet is central to the workings of the executive. In this context, central to Prime Ministerial power is the ability to hire and fire. The cabinet is the body that is ultimately appointed by the Prime Minister and assists in the running of the government. The Prime Minister appoints over a hundred ministerial posts covering cabinet, non-cabinet and junior ministers and also Parliamentary Private Secretaries. He or she has the power to "ask ministers to resign, recommend the Sovereign to dismiss them, or with their consent, move them to other offices"1.

    • Word count: 3031
  22. Has the Prime Minister become more powerful in recent years?

    Cabinet meetings have become less frequent now and are shorter than before; this signifys that the cabinet has lost it's importance when it comes to collective decision making and the prime minister has become more independent. Indeed, it is now said that the prime minister has control over a large number of posts which has given him more patronage power and therfore he has the ability to give and take power away from anyone who opposes him/her.

    • Word count: 552
  23. The Assassins A man, who is about thirty years old, was sitting at an almost empty bar. The man looked out of place for he was wearing the most expensive garments and gears. His silk tie and shirt, jet black jacket

    Most unfortunately the action of the bartender resulted in broken wrist and a broken neck. The last man standing was the old man. He was in the corner, crouching and shaking. The killer, who didn't even seem to be out of breath, walked towards the old man and asked almost fondly "How old are you?" "Ninety four..." the old man replied pleadingly, hoping that this man had a drop of mercy left in him. "Well you lived long enough." The killer concluded and he thrusted his knife into the old man's heart.

    • Word count: 3031
  24. Describe the formal process of statute creation and the role of the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Crown in this process.

    The process of the bill its self can be issued on two different colour paper; green and white. If it is green paper then this would mean it is a focus for parliament and discussion would be held, public consultation therefore more general approach. However if it is on white paper it is a build on green paper and has a more firmer approach therefore more than likely will form a bill. Once the bill has been passed its start the seven areas of progression it starts with the first reading, this means that the title of the bill is announced to the House of Commons there is no debate but a general vote will take place, determine whether or not the bill will go to a second reading.

    • Word count: 1145
  25. Is Britain an elective dictatorship?

    The government proposes usually around 95% of the bills passed. Also from 1997-2005 the Labour party had not lost a bill. Another reason why Britain is considered to be an elective dictatorship is the limited powers of parliament, which has led to the undermining of parliamentary sovereignty. The central issue to why Britain has become an elective dictatorship is the decline in strength of parliament even though it is regarded formally as the sovereign body within the constitution. Recent developments and modifications have meant that Parliament's effectiveness in holding the executive to account, restraining the executive and scrutinising the executive has become limited.

    • Word count: 1127

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