Wednesday, 9 December 2015

PMQ's, Shelley & OxPol

The Oxford University Politics Blog

‘…is not the deprivation of liberty the deepest, the severest of injuries?’

George Osborne & Angela Eagle stand in for Cameron & Corbyn at this weeks Prime Ministers Questions

Monday, 9 November 2015

Monday, 2 November 2015

L6 Intro Parliament

Be an MP for a week

Click on the link above & play the Parliament 'MP for a week' game

Feel free to leave details of your progress in the comments box below

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

PMQ's & work for half term

Lower 6th form

1. Half term prep: Constitutional reform since 1997 has not gone far enough. Discuss. (40)

In your groups - prepare a PowerPoint presentation using the hand-out & textbook for the first lesson after half term. Email the completed presentations to Mr Thomas or save it to a usb. The group tasks are;

2.Constitutional reform presentations
Group 1 -  HRA - Why was the HRA proposed? How does  it work? The HRA in context.
Group 2  - Parliament (the Commons & the Lords)
Group 3 –  Electoral reform  - Changes, the 2011 referendum etc
Group 4 – The Freedom of information Act – what is it & how does it work?
Group 5 – Devolution – What is it? How does it work? Also, could it be described as ‘quasi federalism’?
Group 6 – Constitutional reform under Brown, Cameron & Clegg.

Upper 6th form

1. Half term prep: To what extent have conservatives supported ‘free market’ capitalism? (45)

2. Reading (with notes) to be completed for the first class after half term

Introduction to New Right
1. What does the term ‘New Right’ describe? What is it a marriage between? 
2. How is it a restatement of the case for a minimal state?  
3. Why was government the cause of the problems the economy faced? 
4. How &why do they support the ‘supply side’?
5. In what ways is it anti-statist & why do they oppose welfare?

Friday, 25 September 2015

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Make your mark - UK Youth Parliament vote

This Thursday all pupils will have the opportunity to take part in the Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ – the UK’s largest youth consultation.

You will be able to choose between 10 topics. Watch this short video to gain an understanding of the issues you can vote on.

Voting takes place around the quad during morning break & lunchtime Make sure you have your say about the issues that matter to you.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Corbyn's new Shadow Cabinet

Shadow chancellor - John McDonnell
Shadow home secretary - Andy Burnham
Shadow foreign secretary - Hilary Benn
Shadow business secretary, & shadow first secretary of state - Angela Eagle
Chief whip - Rosie Winterton
Shadow health secretary - Heidi Alexander
Shadow justice secretary - Lord Falconer
Shadow leader of the Commons - Chris Bryant
Shadow international development secretary - Diane Abbott
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury - Seema Malhotra
Shadow Scottish secretary - Ian Murray
Shadow Northern Ireland secretary - Vernon Coaker
Yvette Cooper will chair Labour’s taskforce on refugees.
Michael Dugher is expected to become shadow culture secretary. There are also rumours about Owen Smith becoming shadow work and pensions secretary, and Gloria De Piero becoming shadow defence secretary.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

'A very British coup' - a radical left wing Labour leader becomes PM

The excellent Chris Mullin novel & TV drama ‘a very British coup.’ It is the story of Harry Perkins the radical left wing leader of the Labour party who becomes PM. This 1980's political thriller is well worth watching

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour's Earthquake

Panorama-Jeremy Corbyn: Labour's Earthquake

With behind-the-scenes access to Jeremy Corbyn, reporter John Ware reveals how, from nowhere, he came to dominate the Labour leadership election race.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Vote for the name of the new St John's politics magazine

Vote for the name for our new politics magazine by adding one of the choices into the comments box below using your politics nom de plume (U6/L6 email this to me if you haven't already)

            2.The Eagle
     3. The Saint
            4. Jacobin
            5. Manifesto
            6. Partisan
            7. Insight

Other St John's Politics Society events this term
1. Debating Matters competition 30th September 4.45-8pm - PAC
 2. Blair, Western intervention & the Stop the War coalition – Lindsey German     (National Convener Stop the War)14th October 5.30-7pm - The Old Chapel.
3. The revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx – Mark L Thomas (leading Marxist, writer & activist) 11th November 5.30-7pm - MMS
4. Chris Grayling MP & Leader of the House of Commons  - 20th November 6pm -                  The Old Chapel
5. National Youth Parliament 'Make Your Mark' - End of September - Details to follow

The new term...

Guide to politics concepts/issues covered & to come this week

The Refugee crisis

L6 Politics - Unit 1
What is Democracy? What are the benefits of democracy? Is democracy always a good thing?
·          Key concepts: Democracy, dictatorship, consent & participation.Essential reading  pages 25-28
Why don’t people take part in politics? Why might this be a bad thing & how do we get more people involved?
·          Key concepts: Citizenship, Participation & Partisan dealignment. Essential reading pages 28-32
How did the Ancient Greeks practice democracy? Is democracy better without politicians?
·          -     Concepts: Direct democracy & referendum. Key Essential reading page 32

L6 Politics Unit 2 
Codified constitution - When did it originate, how does it work, what types are there, what are the benefits & pitfalls? What are the main sources & characteristics of the UK constitution? Should the UK codify its constitution? Essential reading: Essentials of UK Politics, A Heywood, Pages 170-187 

U6 Politics - Unit 3
1.    Why is individual freedom so important for liberals?
2.    Define individualism.
3.    According to Mill, on what grounds can the state rightfully constrain an individual’s liberty?
4.    How do such libertarians view actions that are ‘self regarding’? Give examples.
5.    What does such a view imply about the liberty of others? (Rawls)
6.    Describe Issiah Berlin’s ‘Two concepts of liberty.’
7.    Try & explain how this relates to the question of the individual & the state.(not in text)
8.    What was the main theme of the enlightenment?
9.    Define ‘rationalism’. (See box on p.33)
10. How does this relate to individual liberty? 11. How does this relate to progress?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Friday, 5 June 2015

PMQs: 3 June 2015 & Owen Jones on the future of the Labour party

PMQ's: David Cameron - Harriet Harman (1 minute 28 seconds)

What's the point in the Labour party now? | Owen Jones 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Revision resources for units 1,2, 3 & 4

Revision resources have been added to the relevant pages on the right hand side of this page for;

Pressure Groups
PM & Cabinet (Executive)


Friday, 8 May 2015

St John's mock election result

Article from

Mock Elections

While national elections were taking place on Thursday 7 May, pupils hurried to makeshift ballot boxes on the School’s quadrangle to vote for the party of their choice in the mock elections being held at St John’s. A full spectrum of political views was heard, with one pupil standing for each of the mainstream parties: UKIP, the Liberal Democrats, Labour, Conservatives and Green.
The previous days saw a flurry of activity around the School’s site. A TV-style live debate, chaired by Mr Lotsu, took place among the candidates on the Tuesday evening, flyers were distributed around the School’s Dining Hall the following day and on Wednesday afternoon hustings took place in the Performing Arts Centre, attended by over 400 pupils.
During the TV-style debate, an audience of pupils typified the new generation of discerning voters, bombarding candidates with questions: What was their position on leaving the EU? How did they view austerity? How they would attack climate change? What was their stance on gender inequality? In a debate characterised by heckling and humour, the five pupils under the spotlight demonstrated their developing political astuteness, answering some questions well and skilfully sidestepping others.
Once the mock polling stations had closed on Thursday afternoon the ballots were counted. The final results were as follows:
Liberal Democrats: Alex Webb (Lower Sixth, West House) - 326 votes
UKIP: Will Genzel (Upper Sixth, Churchill House) - 90 votes
Conservatives: Will Laver (Lower Sixth, Surrey House) - 63 votes
Labour: Sam Thornton (Lower Sixth, Churchill House) - 41 votes
Greens: Rebecca Floyd (Lower Sixth, Haslewood House) - 31 votes
All candidates should be congratulated on their involvement, but so too should the other pupils. Perhaps the most important result, then, is the last one. Comments from leading politicians at the time of the last general election expressed dismay that young people did not show an interest in politics. This final statistic shows that, at St John’s, quite the opposite is true. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Guest post: report on St John's mock election question time

St John's Question Time, which was held on Tuesday evening, appears to promise an exciting election this week, with all candidates making strong appearances. The usual heckling was seen, with all parties attacking each other whenever possible, admittedly rather well at times. Convincing points by one candidate were swiftly ripped apart by a rival, often UKIP, and so the evening went. A range of questions were posed to the candidates, ranging from their views on leaving the EU, what they would do about tuition fees, how they would attack climate change, their views on feminism and gender inequality and how they viewed austerity. All parties answered reasonably well, though sadly, in typical politician form, they avoided answering questions for which they were not well informed, thus sidestepping public embarrassment, much to the disappointment of the audience.  Answers ranged from intelligent to puzzling (in the case of the Liberal Democrats), but were overall insightful and eye opening. The Greens ideas for gender equality and climate change were interesting, though their plans on how to raise money for investment and welfare were perhaps more so. Fair warning, if you are making more than  £150,000 a year, prepare to be hit with the 60% tax. However their policies on scrapping tuition fees and holding banks to account for the deficit through the Robin hood tax are definitely worth checking out.

Labour held strong, even under attack from both UKIP and the Conservatives, though their failure to step away from their past threatens to damage their campaign. Mr Thornton will need to separate himself from his predecessors, as the evening showed that all the while Blair and Browns mistakes are kept alive in the minds of voters,Thornton doesn't stand a chance. If he does in fact manage to distance himself from the calamities of the past he may do better than expected, as the debate illustrated a strong candidate who understands his partys aims, which is more than can be said for Mr Webb. While the Liberal Democrats were able to answer some questions successfully, on the whole Mr Webb relied too heavily on merely attacking his rivals and I left the evening unsure as to what most of his comments even meant. In comparison the Conservatives were reasonable, however Mr Laver seemed nervous, and should aim to improve his verbal skill. Regardless, the points that Mr Laver made were successfully damaging, and with the facts and figures he provided, Conservatives appeared to have a safe but promising economic policy.

Undoubtedly the candidate who stood out among the parties last night was UKIPs Will Genzel, though if this was due to his constant interruptions and argumentative state, or his original if not bemusing comments, I couldt tell you. He balanced sensible and impressive answers on tuition, austerity and the EU with bizarre views on feminism and climate change. Puzzling and yet hilarious, Mr Genzel undoubtedly beat Mr Lotsus comedy by denying the very existence of global warming. According to Mr Genzel it is all a natural change and the  evidence proving we are damaging our environment is merely fiction, easily overlooked for the oh so reasonable evidence proving were not. While amusing, I couldnt help but also find this a rather concerning statement, and wondered if Mr Genzel had been speaking to his fellow UKIP member who claimed the floods back in 2014 were due to legalising gay marriage. Overall the evening was very informative, with each party showing a particular strength with certain topics. While some parties undoubtedly stood out due to performance and presentation, the ultimate decision will be based on substance and it will certainly be interesting to see which parties hold up under the spotlight.

By Rebecca Barnes U6

Monday, 4 May 2015

His palms are sweaty,knees week, arms are heavy...editor turns Miliband campaign video into 8 mile

Video editor notice Labour's campaign video bore a striking resemblance to 8 mile

Ed Miliband: A Portrait

Green Revolution? Beyond Brighton, It'll Take One. Russell Brand

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The leader interviews: Miliband, Farage, Clegg

The Leader Interviews: Nigel Farage

The Leader Interviews: Nick Clegg

The Leader Interviews: Ed Miliband

Monday, 20 April 2015

Election 2015 - Who is ahead in the polls where you live?

Guardian interactive election 2015 map

BBC Poll of Polls 20 Apr 2015

  • Con35%+0
  • Lab34%+1
  • UKIP13%+0
  • Lib Dem9%+1
  • Green5%+0
  • Other4%-2
Poll reflects General Election voting intention for the whole of the UK

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Most recent election broadcasts - Labour & Conservative

UKIP Election Broadcast - 1 - Believe in Britain

Liberal Democrat Party Political Broadcast; 1 April 2015.

Conservative Party Political Broadcast, 30th March 2015.

Labour Party Political Broadcast, 30th March 2015