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University Degree: UK Government & Parliamentary Studies

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 5
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    How revolutionary was Thatcherism?

    4 star(s)

    Victorian politics, which is the judgement of one political scientist who claims that 'Thatcherism can be explained as a reassertion of nineteenth-century liberalism'3. By taking the party further to the right, the Victorian attitudes of laissez-faire and the distinction between deserving and undeserving poor were perhaps inevitably going to be reinstated, which is clear by the way that the idea that the state should provide from cradle to the grave was so readily rejected by Thatcher. This was a huge ideological change, arguably the greatest, to conservative principles in post-war politics as it heralded a reduced commitment to the welfare state and individualism was once again a major aspect of Tory ideals.

    • Word count: 1884
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Was Thatcherism just 'old-fashioned' Liberalism?

    3 star(s)

    Victorian values and laissez-faire economics. However, this is perhaps too simple a definition, for Thatcherism it should be argued is a blend of conservatism and liberalism, arguing (paradoxically) for the rolling back of the state or the legitimacy of the free market, as well as the need of a strong state, as well as the emphasising the importance of authority, all traditional conservative traits. Moreover, Thtacherism was not without its critics, even going so far as to claim it being anything but Conservatism due to its ideological basis, contradicting the hitherto party tradition of evolutionary change and pragmaticism.

    • Word count: 2404
  3. Marked by a teacher

    How presidential is the premiership of Tony Blair.

    3 star(s)

    During the election campaigns of 1997 and 2001, the emphasis seemed to be towards a Presidential style, with the campaign focusing heavily on Tony Blair. However while therefore it could be argued we are developing a Presidential system in terms of electing a national leader rather than a collective executive, in this essay we are mainly concerned with the claim that a growing similarity between the two systems is a Presidential dominance of the executive, whilst the Cabinet becomes a purely advisory body, in effect a 'rubber stamp'.

    • Word count: 2375
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Critically assess Rhodes' (1997) argument that 'Policy networks of resource dependent organisations are a characteristic of the British policy process.'

    3 star(s)

    The terms policy networks for political observers can summarise many feature of the current policy process. They are a way of bringing to life and analyzing the interactions between sections of government and pressure groups in the formation of policy. Marsh has stated that The network idea captures neatly the phenomenon of shared decision making and the way in which organisations exchange resources to achieve their goals. (Marsh 1998, p.132) The relationships formed between organisations and people are the basic idea of what a network is. Policy networks examine particular policy areas and do not have the same structure, actors and characteristics in every policy area.

    • Word count: 3160
  5. Marked by a teacher


    He went on to lead the party to a landslide victory in the general election after a campaign that focused significantly on his personality. Inevitably, Tony Blair was idolised by his party for this achievement. However this wasn't the first time in British Politics that the emphasis was placed so strongly on an individual. Periods of the 1980s Thatcher government were described as presidential in style. These periods coincided with convincing election victories and strong cabinet allegiance. However as soon as public support faltered, Thatcher faced criticism from within her own party saying that she had filled the cabinet with compliant cronies.

    • Word count: 2139
  6. Are all parties now 'catch-all' parties? The UK is a prime example of Kirchheimers predictions coming true, with all three parties moving towards the electorally strategic centre ground.

    politics as all three major parties abandon tradition and move towards the middle ground in an attempt to 'catch' as many voters as possible and thus gain political power. In 1965, Otto Kirchheimer introduced the notion of a 'catch-all' party and claimed that the dominant parties of Europe were all moving towards this notion. This essay will examine whether Kirchheimer's predictions were correct almost half a century after they were made by looking at how party politics has developed over the past few decades and whether traditional ideologies are still alive.

    • Word count: 1792
  7. Has power in Britain shifted significantly into the hands of unelected individuals in recent years?

    This is an argument which gains credibility from the fact that the issue was raised as early as 1921 by James Bryce (1921, p.370) who debated that the party system in Britain had led to a strengthening of the executive against the assembly. Therefore this should not be seen as a modern phenomenon, however it is something which has been exacerbated in recent years, as Kavanagh (1996, p.283) argues, the expansion in the significance of party whips has led to MPs now voting in the way their party wishes them to.

    • Word count: 2472
  8. Report on the Hunting Ban Act. This report aims to assess in great detail all the issues that surrounded the Hunting Act 2004, analysing both the issues that lead to the Act and the current debate as the issue is still largely contested.

    Introduction The hunting of wild animals has been a key part of everyday life for the aristocracy in Great Britain, this included fox and stag hunting and grouse shooting (Tichelar 2006 p214). It is mainly since the end of the Victorian era that the moral and ethical concerns about hunting arose. The Hunting Act 2004 was introduced as legislation after a long period of debate and political attention. It was first brought onto the political agenda in 1986 at local council level (Woods 1998 p326), but only really gained the attention of Parliament in 1997 with the Labour Party Manifesto (Milbourne 2003 p157).

    • Word count: 3082
  9. What was the effect, domestically and internationally of Blairs support of Bush in the Iraq war

    Domestic Effects Being involved in the war in Iraq and therefore being one of the forces fighting George Bush's so called "War on Terror"4 had several influences on the situation of the domestic policy of the UK. Having taken part in the attack, the country considered itself more exposed to the threat of terrorism as ever before. The fear should be justified. On July 7, 2005 London suffered from a series of suicide bombings in the heart of the city.

    • Word count: 3055
  10. How can we understand the rise of the SNP in Scotland? This essay is focused on proving that rational choice theory is the approach that best explains the rise of the Scottish Nationalist Party in Scotland.

    It is critical that each approach sufficiently explains all of these periods, and predominantly the period 1800-1934 when generally nationalism in Europe was rising, but arguably was in terminal decline in Scotland. Secondly, I shall go on to use the synthesis between the schools of thought to conclude that whilst all explanations of nationalism can to differing extents be valid, the one that best explains the rise of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) in Scotland is rational choice theory. Some may argue it is of little importance to analyse the period pre 1934 when discussing the rise of the SNP in Scotland, as it preceded the existence of the SNP.

    • Word count: 2427
  11. Given the previous record of devolution to Northern Ireland are there good reasons to expect the current settlement in Northern Ireland to be more successful?

    Over a century later Henry II, the King of England, tried to claim and annex Ireland to England. He managed to gain control over a small area around the city of Dublin. Since then this area adopted English laws and the language and was protected by the kingdom. In the next few centuries attempts to extend the area of English control in Ireland were unsuccessful. The Irish perceived the English kingdom as a threat to their sovereignty and identity. By the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the Irish island except the province of Ulster was under the English rule.

    • Word count: 2691
  12. If social class no longer determines party allegiance in the UK, what does?

    class alignment (decline of middle-class votes for Conservatives and working-class votes for Labour). The year of 1970 is considered to have been the beginning of this process (Denver 1994, pp. 52-53; Garnett and Lynch 2009, p. 475). In my essay I am going to explain why social class no longer determines voting decisions and what does. First I will write how social class used to be the determining factor in the pre-1970s era. Then I will show how and why dealignment started to occur. After that I will examine what factors are deciding in voting behaviour.

    • Word count: 2403
  13. Article review. The overall topic of the article Politics and the Media: A Crisis of Trust? is the crisis of trust that was created by misleading information, which came from both the media and Downing Street reports.

    Recent controversial political communication, like the dossier published by UK government on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction led him to write this article. He is not the only one that treated this subject with grate attention, also James Humphreys treats this subject with great interest in his article 'The Iraqi Dossier and the Meaning of Spin'. The articles main points are related in a chronological fashion, starting before the Iraq with 'The Propaganda Battle' where author makes an argument based on polls, which emphasizes the fact that even though many efforts were made by the government to peruse the public

    • Word count: 1353
  14. If the political conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968 - 1998 was not a religious war, what factors explain the violence that took place?

    The Anglican Protestant dominance over the Irish lasted as long as until the twentieth century. In 1801 the Act of Union was established integrating the Irish Parliament into the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland. Later in the nineteenth century as a result of discrimination, a large part of the Irish Catholics emigrated, mainly to the United States. In 1916 a small group of republicans declared an Irish republic but they were defeated and executed by the British. The republican party, Sinn Fein, gained sympathy and won the election in 1918. In 1920 Ireland was partitioned from the United Kingdom.

    • Word count: 3050
  15. What do you consider to be the proper functions of a second chamber in the constitution of this country? Does the House of Lords, as now constituted, effectively discharge these functions? If not, what reforms would you introduce?

    It is unfair and simply untrue however to state that the second chamber is "undoubtedly a constitutional anachronism"1. The House of Lords still performs a tangible role in parliament and cannot be described simply in terms of a lingering tradition. This essay will explore the roles that the House of Lords should have in today's parliament, the effectiveness of their discharge of the roles, and reforms which could be proposed to alter the way in which the house is comprised and practices.

    • Word count: 2200
  16. Why did turnout decline substantially between the British general elections of 1997 and 2001, yet recover a little in 2005 and 2010? Why is there such a strong contrast between the turnout of the youngest and oldest cohorts of voters?

    The public were aware that 'every published poll gave Labour a lead by from 11 to 28 percent' (Butler & Kavanagh, 2002, p. 258) and this is backed up by Geddes and Tonge (2002, p.257) who state the reason for low turnout was the belief that labour was the 'only viable electoral choice'. This view is disputed in Britain Votes 2001 (Whitely et al, 2001) where it is claimed that other factors such as the economy and party leaders were more influential factors.

    • Word count: 2936
  17. The purpose of the study is to examine how electoral behavior is affected during elections based on one of the long term factors of voting: focusing on the voters party identification. In this case, it contributes to the study of turnout decline and re

    and this can reflect what the electoral activity is like currently to us. In the proposal, I shall be suggesting a Theory Political identity in this research proposal focuses mostly on how results during elections are affected by that factor. In recent methods used for the studies of measuring party identification, they seem to lose the differentiation from those that are considered to be identifiers and non identifiers during surveys. The decline in turnout also raises the point in the decline in political identity thus shows correlation. In order for voters to catch up with events during election periods, Heath expresses that 'non identifiers are more strongly influenced by political context than strong

    • Word count: 1358
  18. Britain and the Eurozone. Britains May 2005 parliamentary elections produced some very telling answers for the coming direction of EU policy in the United Kingdom.

    The arguments for the UK staying out of the Eurozone are divided into three parts: 1. Political factors both internally in England and externally with the "special" Blair-Bush relationship exhibited post 9/11. 2. The economic factors of transatlantic cooperation between United States and United Kingdom countries and the integration of economies in the "Atlanticist" sphere. London's economic community being separate from the restrictive fiscal policies of the EMU, as well as the overregulation of EU economies helps US-UK companies, especially banking and oil companies. 3. Finally the well documented economic problems in Europe resulting from the Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact, which have produced lower growth rates and higher unemployment in the EU than in the US and UK.

    • Word count: 3091
  19. The 1997 British General Election: Labour reborn

    New Labour's pro-business policies.8 Geddes and Tonge charted the transition of papers from 1992-97, showing that no tabloid made the transition from Labour to Conservative between elections, whereas three made a shift across the Rubicon to declare support for Labour - The Sun's "Who Blairs wins"9; Star's "There's Tony one way to go"10; and News of the World's "We back Blair"11. All present unequivocal support for Blair, which became a consistent feature of the campaign - the Presidentialism of the British system led newspapers to support Labour on the weight of its leader, who emerged as a far stronger leader

    • Word count: 3377
  20. Free essay

    Assess the Perofmance of the Labour government 1929-1931

    Labours "Diversified schemes"[4] looked impressive and as a result the General election of 1929 saw a seat gain and took control of 288 seats along with the Liberal party gaining 59 seats. This reinforced the point that there was a clear repudiation of the Conservative government and the policies it had pursued. As a result Baldwin resigned and left Macdonald to form the second Labour government. Labour put forward many promises during the electoral campaign most notably the debate arising from unemployment.

    • Word count: 2520
  21. How far have the reforms of the Blair Governments addressed weaknesses in the UK constitution?

    This interpretation is reflects the reality of UK politics in this era as the gravitas of the Commons was evident in the period 1832-67 when ten governments were brought down due to a lack of parliamentary confidence. One major weakness in the British constitution identified through this Classical Liberal view is in the unrepresentative nature of the Parliament. The House of the Lords, which consists of half of the Parliament, is not democratically elected. As of 1997, it housed hereditary peers, which is anachronistic and largely illegitimate.

    • Word count: 3187
  22. Where does decision-making power lie in the British executive?

    According to the Westminister model, all decisions are made by Parliament and there is no higher authority. The Parliament has both authority and the legitimacy because the House of Commons is elected by the people. The Cabinet and the Prime Minister are answerable to Parliament, and the decisions are put into practice by a neutral civil service. Power is concentrated within the Parliamentary system and is relatively insulated against outside influences. A key concept of the Westminister model is parliamentary sovereignty. As most of the decision-making is done in the Parliament, parliamentary sovereignty is essentially executive sovereignty.

    • Word count: 2098
  23. In what ways, if any, is the UK Parliament more than the instrument of party leaders?

    Once a majority party is elected, the monarch asks the party to formulate a government. The party leader becomes the Prime Minister, enabling the majority party to gain power over the executive. In the House of Commons, British parties are noted for their remarkable unity when it comes to voting. Once a party line is agreed after soundings and discussions between the Chief Whip and MPs, the final decision is expected to be binding on all MPs of that party. A member who votes out of party line runs the risk of having the party whip withdrawn; this is tantamount to expulsion from the party.

    • Word count: 2087
  24. UK Voting Behaviour

    If the method of measuring voting behaviour of class has any credibility, the Conservatives would have been out of power for the whole of this time. In reality, time in government was evenly distributed between the Labour and Conservative Parties. Some records from this period did in fact show that more than a third of the working classes voted Conservative. It is the theory of embourgeoisement that attempts to explain the phenomenon of the working class Conservative. It is the idea that it is due to factors such as rising wage levels and living standards that the working classes started to employ more middle class behaviour, such as voting Conservative.

    • Word count: 1500

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?
  • To what extent should Somerset be blamed for the outbreak and the mishandling of the rebellion of 1549.

    "In conclusion it seems that Somerset is to blame for mishandling the situation in 1549, but it seems that Somerset can not be totally blamed for the rebellions. Somerset's responsibility has been widely exaggerated by historians like John Guy (source E) but in fact his role is far lesser than had been believed. The main responsibility falls upon the New Religion and The Gentry's lack of ability to suppress the rebellions before it required the Government and Kings (and Lord Protector's) intervention. All the sources apart from D imply that Somerset was not responsible of 1549, as pointed out by Guy (source E) there were too many other problems, "agrarian, fiscal, religious and social grievances fused" causing the rebellion. The over view of the sources and my personal belief is that Somerset is to blame for mishandling the rebellions of 1549, as is implied by Guy (Source E) that Somerset was to bothered waging war in Scotland and by Paget (Source D) criticises Somerset motives and procedures."

  • Compare and contrast pluralist and ruling elite accounts of political power in the UK and US.

    "In conclusion it can be seen that the UK and US share many characteristics, which can be seen as being both pluralist and elitist. However the US is essentially more pluralist with dispersed points of access with fragmented state power. The government has sub-ordinates and sub-governments, which are very different to the UK where power is more concentrated with one person, the Prime Minister. There are many differences between the two theories; however, some similarities can be seen, linking the two. Dahl argued that most people are not interested in participating much in politics, thus only a small group of individuals is involved who have to compete to win elections by appealing for popular support. Schumpter and Dahl renamed the theory as pluralist elitism, in which politics in countries like the UK and US is polyarchy, rule by many elites (a plurality of elites)."

  • Outline and Critically Assess ‘Rhodes’ Argument About ‘Hollowing Out of the State’

    "The conclusion of this paper is that bearing in mind, the significance of an ideological origin to the process, there is strong evidence that the hollowing out of the state has and is continuing to take place. However it is doing so in conjunction with the restructuring of parliamentary structure and continuous adjustment of the actors and responses within the policy network. Only in this fuller sense can the hollowing out of the state be applied to the evolution of the policy process in Britain. What has remained constant or grown in strength throughout this process are the executors of power in the core of government. Although lines of accountability remain, the likelihood of recrimination for wrongdoing has become more unlikely and this is a cause for concern for the future. Both the hollowing out of the state and the strengthening of the core executive remain a matter of ongoing process."

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