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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. What Criticisms have been made of the Judiciary?

    The roles of the judiciary can be, in short, threefold, and can be summed up as; 1) The interpretation of the law 2) The enforcement of the law 3) Arbitration between citizens and the state Crucial to the fulfilling of these roles is the maintenance of Judicial Independence and the Judicial Neutrality. The lack of independence is the first main criticism of the judiciary. The judiciary is supposed to be independent from other branches of the government and judges are meant to be selected in a non-partisan manner. Appointments are based on secret soundings or consultations among existing judges and senior lawyers.

    • Word count: 713
  2. Electoral Systems Assignment

    If the population believes that a particular government has not acted very well on behalf of its people, it is likely that they will either vote against the current government or decide to not vote at all. This was the situation in 1997 when the Conservative Party lost an election after the Labour Government won a landslide victory. The country was able to express their dissatisfaction with the government and in doing so, granted a mandate to the successive government.

    • Word count: 1562
  3. Taoiseach VS Primer Minister

    ? It has been argued that the Prime Minister and Taoiseach surround themselves with 'yes men and women' (those who simply accept the wishes of the Prime Minister/Taoiseach and rarely get involved in robust discussions at cabinet meetings i.e. Blairs Babes and Cowens Cronies) and this yet again gives them more control ? ? However, unlike the British Prime Minister who appoints 20-23 cabinet members, it is stated in the Irish Constitution that the Taoiseach can only appoint 7-15 cabinet ministers, that the Tanaiste(Deputy Prime Minister)

    • Word count: 1404
  4. Compare and contrast the effectiveness of parliamentary and Dail committees

    256 committee places, 175 TD's and 81 Senators (although this did improve the accountability of the Irish Committee System). However modifications to the Irish committee system in 1997 and 2002 meant that like Britain, Irish committees would now mirror government departments, although there would now only be 13 committees (15 including public accounts) the Irish committee system was now much more effective. A common factor in both the Irish and British committee system is perhaps due to the fact the government will always have the majority.

    • Word count: 784
  5. To what extent is Labour still a Socialist Party?

    deprived through no fault of their own and that some have inherited their wealth, rather than worked for it: in such cases, they believe that wealth should be redistributed, but those who achieve wealth through their own hard work, deserve to keep their fortune. It also believes that those who make o effort to improve their situation, should receive minimum state benefit to encourage them to work - state intervention should be available to remove 'artificial' privileges and to create greater opportunities).

    • Word count: 1937
  6. Free essay

    Voting Behaviour

    Parties will try to make their leader as appealing to the public as possible by making sure they are likely to charm voters. The leader must be personable, relaxed and genial when making public appearances so these are qualities that parties look for in their leaders. If your leader doesn't possess these qualities they must possess other admirable qualities. For instance many people do not like Margaret Thatcher as a person, but even so they see her natural leadership qualities, toughness and resilience which appeal to them.

    • Word count: 1510
  7. Role of a team leader

    A CO has a range of significant responsibilities with regard to the allocation of service personnel, finances and equipment. They are accountable to the higher ranks and have a legal duty of care to the team. COs are highly valued and progression within the service is awarded to the best officers who have worked their way up the ranks. Position and responsibilities There are many functions of a team leader. These range from helping the team to decide how roles and responsibilities will be divided amongst its members to helping to coordinate the task and resolving interpersonal conflicts. The team leader is the contact point for communication between the team members.

    • Word count: 985
  8. Is the Modern Conservative Party Today Truly Conservative?

    This has certainly moved the party to more central policies in this aspect, but is also fairly similar to One Nation Conservatism. The official Conservative Party stance on human rights has changed significantly under the leadership of David Cameron. Whereas in the past the belief that human rights should be sacrificed for the sake of law and order, the party now says that rights are more important than security, and that they cannot be neglected. This has been seen in there official opposition to the use of ID cards.

    • Word count: 853
  9. How effective is Parliament in checking Executive Power?

    The official opposition party, the party with the second most seats, has a larger voice than other opposition parties. This is partly due to them having more MPs and partly due to the leader of the official opposition being allowed more questions during Prime Ministers Question Time. This allows more specific and in depth scrutiny that if every member could ask one question, though it does reduce the voice of many parties and pushes Parliament towards a two party system.

    • Word count: 858
  10. To what extent do you agree with the view that referendums should be used more widely in the UK?

    This means that, if the Government's stance during the referendum is not held by the majority, the Government know that they are out of touch with the public and a reshuffle of the Cabinet may be held. They are also a check on elective dictatorships, ensuring the Government don't make all the decisions. Another advantage is that they give the people a direct say, therefore increasing democracy in the UK. They also provide greater participation, ensuring voting doesn't take place just every 5 years.

    • Word count: 641
  11. Discuss the view that the constitutional reforms since 1997 have not been sufficiently extensive.

    in to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland helping decentralize the government this from the view of the conservatives was seen as radical and very extensive as it changed an institution and tradition that had been going on for many years. Bogdanor has said that these changes have moved us towards a 'quasi-federal state', therefore moving the UK away from a traditional constitution. However the Conservatives have now come to accept new constitutional consensuses so have adapted and come to terms with it but still would rather tradition was kept.

    • Word count: 814
  12. Difference between Deep and Shallow Ecology

    The term 'light green' has been applied to the beliefs of so-called shallow ecologists. Shallow ecologists believe that different aspects of the natural world are interconnected, so the way that we treat nature should take this into account. Subsequently, they believe that the existing political and economic structures must be transformed so that they place environmental issues at the centre of their concerns. They believe that ecology is largely scientific in nature. Shallow ecologists place humans on a higher level than the rest of the Earth.

    • Word count: 444
  13. To what extent are there differences between the Labour and Conservative parties over policies and ideas?

    This ideology was heavily at odds with the Conservative 'Whig' party at the time, which emphasized a deregulated economy and a large emphasis on the individual over a collective group, Ala Labour and worker 'solidarity'. It is important to note that these two differences can be separated not only by the 'left' and the 'right', but also by differing views on what 'freedom' and 'human nature' really is. The Conservative party falls under the view of Negative Freedom, which articulated that so long as humanity has a clear freedom to express choice, and then he is free [Being free from interference from others in effect].

    • Word count: 1040
  14. Analyse the main factors that limit the effectiveness of Parliament

    As party unity has grown since the end of the 19th century, parliament has declined. The government can always rely on loyal voters in the House of Commons to approve legislative policies, maintaining power as well as creating an elective dictatorship. However, notable examples of party disunity can be seen under a labour government in '74-'79 as 45% of Labour MPs voted against the government at some stage. Similarly, under John Major '92-'97, Eurosceptic backbenchers and the withdrawal of the whip from 8 eurosceptic rebels clash with the Major government opitomized the divisions within the Conservative Party.

    • Word count: 665
  15. 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
  16. State a case for and against replacing the current voting system used to elect members of House of Commons.

    and one of the purposes of elections is that every vote should be of equal value yet under FPTP it is clearly not. FPTP also encourages the under-representation of minorities as politicians tend to be white middle-class men. FPTP leads to a large number of wasted votes this is mainly because of the 'safe seats' where a political party traditionally gets a majority of the votes in a particular constituency for example the Labour party usually wins a majority in Bootle where in the 2010 general election Labour received 66% of the vote it is very unlikely for other political parties to win in another parties 'safe seats'.

    • Word count: 1053
  17. Has the Conservative party abandoned Thacherism?

    Thatcher attitude towards state was that the government should keep its involvement in public affairs minimum therefore having a small government although she was hard on crime she famously said ""Crime is crime is crime; it is not political" therefore crime has nothing to do with the government it is there decision she believed in big authority in law and order she wanted to increase the amount of police officers and their wages she said "an earnest of our intention to back the police in the war against crime.

    • Word count: 866
  18. The House of Lords, is their need for futher reform?

    The House of Lords can be seen as highly undemocratic and out of date. It can be said that peers, who have inherited the position, often know nothing about the ordinary person and or government politics. It is worth noting also that there is a very small proportion of minorities in the House of Lords. There are also much fewer women than there are men and you cannot be a woman hereditary peer. It was only in 1957 under the Sex Disqualification act when women were first allowed to be a member of Lords.

    • Word count: 874
  19. Assess the effectiveness of the assembly since devolution was restored in 2007.

    They have transferrable matters which may be given to the assembly in the future. For the time being the assembly has its plate full. The assembly is relatively new and can be said to still be "finding its feet" but it is clear that the confidence and experience of minister is rising, which will make up a good government. Also cooperation between the unionists and nationalists is at an all time high, and can only be seen to go higher in the future. Main parties in the assembly have been seen to combine their parties and make what is known as a "supermajority" this can be seen as the parties in the assembly cooperating and using their majority for the interests of Northern Ireland.

    • Word count: 949
  20. Why have the Sinn Fein grown more poplar between 1997 and 2003 while the SDLP has grown less popular?

    The SDLP on the other hand help up as the nationalist party for the middle class people and this is where they received most of their vote. In 1981 Sinn Fein's publicity director Danny Morrison described his party's electoral strategy as one "with an armalite in one hand and the ballot box in the other". It was a battle cry for republicans, but unionists saw it as a reminder of the violent campaign of the IRA which was not to cease for another 25.

    • Word count: 1093
  21. What has been the impact on Parties & Government on the different voting systems introduced in 1997 in the U.K.?

    An example of a system that put this theory into effect is First Past the Post (FPTP). This is the current system used in the U.K. General Elections, and demonstrates a straightforward example of an electoral system that directly effects U.K government and political parties. The use of simple plurality of votes ensures that this system favours larger parties, as landslide election victories usually favour either Labour or Conservative parties. This affects the U.K government directly as the two main parties in the U.K. are Labour and Conservative. This proposes what is seen as a two-party system in the U.K., where these two political parties alternate in government, ensuring other political parties gain little electoral success, as political power is focused between these two candidates.

    • Word count: 733
  22. Methods of Party Funding

    It can also stunt the growth of any minority parties as they do not have the initial funding publicize their party and be taken seriously as a political party. Advantages include that this comes at no cost of the state. It also means that the parties should be funded roughly according to popularity. Political parties are increasingly relying on the financial support of personal donors and the support of businesses. Although seen as controversial there are some definite advantages to this.

    • Word count: 856
  23. Methods of scrutinizing the government

    The ministers have to attend answering all the questions that they're aske and to deal with all the issues surrounding their department. The questions asked are either on matters regarding the Minister's department and can be issues raised by specific MPs' constituents regarding that constituency (must be the relevant minister e.g. closure of schools and the education minister). These questions will often have follow up questions. If the MP asking the question is of an opposition party (it is of great interest for the opposition to scrutinise the government and publicize any short coming that are found)

    • Word count: 1618
  24. Prime Minister & the Cabinet

    force such as Margret Thatcher could not escape this reality when she lost the support of her cabinet and the majority of the parliamentary party; which consequently lead to her resignation, [Jones 1995: 87. cited in Leech, R., Coxall, B., & Lynton, R., British Politics 2006] This paper will examine the effectiveness of the judiciary, executive and legislature, in regards to constraining the power of the Prime Minister, and whether these constraints actually keep the PM in line, regardless of his/her role as head of the government and leader of the legislature.

    • Word count: 1793
  25. To what extent does the UK have a two-party system?

    Therefore, they are one of the main parts of the problem of elective dictatorship. Most MPs are categorised as backbenchers (an MP who does not hold a ministerial or 'shadow' ministerial role; so-called because they tend to sit on the back benches), while a minority are categorised as frontbenchers (an MP who holds a ministerial or 'shadow' ministerial role, and who usually sits on the front benches). In comparison, the composition of the House of Lords is both complex and controversial. It is complex because there are four distinct bases for membership of the House, meaning that there are four kinds of peers: life peers, hereditary peers, 'Lords Spiritual' and law lords.

    • Word count: 956

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