Thursday, 30 October 2014

Tasks for next week - week commencing 3rd November

A2 - Introduction to Socialism
Use the questions on the Socialism page of this blog to make notes from Andrew Heywood's book
Prep due Friday 7th November:  

AS Unit 1 - Elections
Reading: Essentials of UK politics, A Heywood. Also, the St John’s Politics blog elections page, Politics Review magazine, & other resources in the library

Key questions:
1.What is the point of an election?
2. What is First Past The Post?
3. Why has  FPTP been criticised?
4. What are the benefits of FPTP?

Prep due Friday 7th November:  Describe three different elections regularly held in the UK. (10). Explain the workings of FPTP (10).

AS Unit 2 - Parliament
Reading: Essentials of UK politics, A Heywood. Also, the St John’s Politics blog parliament page, Politics Review magazine, & other resources in the library

Key questions:
1.How is Parliament structured?
2.How does Parliament work?
3.What is the difference between Parliamentary & Presidential governments?
4.Has Parliament’s sovereignty been eroded?

Prep due Friday 7th November:  Describe 3 functions of Parliament (5). Explain 3 ways in which Parliament carries out its scrutinizing role? (10).

Vote for policies, not personalities

Complete this survey based on policies alone to find out who to vote for at the next UK election - the results might just surprise you

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Prime Ministers Questions 29th October 2014

Europe & immigration dominate the Cameron - Miliband exchange (2 minutes 20 seconds+)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Are the Labour Party a real alternative to Cameron & the Tories?

For AS (the Labour party) & A2 (Socialism)

Is the Labour Party leadership Cameron's secret weapon? Miliband's poll ratings are 15-20% behind Cameron despite the relative unpopularity of the Conservatives.

Now the Scottish 'branch' of the party, pivotal to a Labour victory, are floundering from the aftermath of the referendum.

The grim reaper is knocking for Scottish Labour

A once mighty movement lies broken and battered, thanks to Blairism and the referendum. Yet there is a way to revive it, argues Owen Jones excellent column in todays Guardian

The 1980's were a decade when the Left & the Labour movement struggled to organise itself into a serious alternative to the Conservative government of the time. Vanessa Engle revisits this turbulent era when the Left believed it could change the world for the better. 

This episode looks at the Left's attempt to set up a national newspaper

Sunday, 26 October 2014

A great interview and Brand raises interesting ideas to consider for both AS (Pressure groups & Participation) & A2 (Socialism, Anarchism & Anti-Capitalism)

'I don't trust politicians & corporations in this country' Russell Brand - Newsnight

Friday, 24 October 2014

UK polling update

Next months Rochester & Strood by-election polling...

ComRes have a new poll of Rochester and Strood out tonight that shows UKIP with a solid lead. As far as I can recall it’s the first ComRes by-election poll this Parliament. Like all constituency polls it was done by telephone, and with a healthy sample size by constituency polling standards of 1500.
Topline figures are CON 30%, LAB 21%, LDEM 3%, UKIP 43%, GREEN 3%

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Oscar Wilde's very readable & relatively short essay on Socialism.
Useful for A2 students in preparation for the 'Socialism' topic

AS & A2 half term tasks

Unit 1

1. Go to the St John's Politics twitter page or click on the Andrew Heywood (former Chief examiner) link below & download 'Dictionary of Key Terms in UK Politics' & 'First Past The Post: for & against.'

Unit 2

1. Click on the link below and research the functions of Parliament

Unit 3

1. Go to the St John's Politics twitter page or click on the Andrew Heywood link (former Chief examiner) below & download 'Political ideologies - key themes (summary)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Prime Ministers Questions 22nd October 2014

Cameron versus Miliband from 2 minutes

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Interesting footage of popular protest & policing in Britain in the 1960's.
British Pathé covering of Anti-Vietnam war demostartion in 1968

Steve Bell on David Cameron's plans to curb EU migrants – Today's Guardian

Monday, 20 October 2014

AS Unit 2 - the story so far

The constitution

This topic is now complete, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the nature and functions of constitutions.
  2. Explain the meaning of codification and entrenchment. 
  3. Describe and explain the sources & the main features of the UK constitution.
  4. Differentiate between unitary and federal constitutions
  5. Analyse the differences between codified and uncodified constitutions
  6. Understand the nature of sovereignty & explain its location in the UK, including changes in its nature and location.
  7. Analyse the impact of the European Union on the UK constitution.
  8. Evaluate the arguments concerning the codification of the UK constitution.
  9. Understand the nature of constitutional reform since 1997. 
  10. Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of constitutional reforms.
  11. Explain and evaluate constitutional reform proposals after 2010.
  12. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of the UK constitution.

AS Politics unit 1 - the story so far

Democracy and political participation 

This topic is now complete, you should be able to:
  1. Explain the nature of democracy
  2. Define & exemplify direct democracy
  3. Define and explain the use of referendums
  4. Describe representation & explain representative democracy
  5. Understand the nature & types of power, legitimacy, consent & authority
  6. Explain pluralist democracy 
  7. Explain liberal, parliamentary & presidential democracy
  8. Describe & exemplify citizenship & political participation
  9. Analyse the differences between direct & representative democracy, including their relative merits
  10. Analyse why referendums have been used more often to resolve political issues
  11. Evaluate whether referendums are a good way of resolving issues
  12. Explain & exemplify how & why political participation has fallen
  13. Identify & explain way participation could be increased. How desirable are there proposals?
  14. How democratic is the UK?
  15. How representative is the UK political system?
  16. Explain & critically assess methods of making the UK more democratic