Tomorrow (Tuesday 26th November) sees the publication of the Scottish Government's white paper concerning Independence. As politics students living the subject this is a great example for your Politics A Level. This issue of Scottish Independence covers all sorts of concepts from national sovereignty, political ideology, elections and referendums. Be sure you know the story inside and out and how to apply it effectively! Read on for more on how to do so.read more...»
WOW! Politics - our new teaching & learning resource programme for AS & A2 Government & Politics - launched in London today. We were delighted with the response from the dozens of Politics teachers who were able to join us.
If you would like to get a taste of the content & style of the WOW! Politics resources, you can order a free taster resource pack from this link:
Yesterday saw tutor2u deliver its inaugural version of the Wow Politics teacher CPD event. 35 delegates attended and participated in a hugely enjoyable day which show-cased some incredibly innovative and creative teaching and learning resources for the AS and A2 Politics syllabus.
At the end of the event, the delegates listed the sites below as being invaluable resources for Politics teachers:
https://www.edmodo.com/ US-based collaborative learning zone
http://www.politico.com/reporters/MikeAllen.html US-based political commentator and journalist
http://www.scoop.it/ Online resource portal
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ University College of London resources
http://edublogs.org/ Education blogging site
http://www.politicshome.com/ Politics news source
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/ Online clips to aid learning
http://www.politicsteacher.co.uk/ Politics teacher resource site
http://newsmap.jp/ Politics news source
Anyone who was unable to attend should look out for a repeat of the event which should be advertised soon (for a May/June date).
So you are thinking of applying for Politics at Univeristy are you? Well, Politics is as I am sure you aware a fascinating subject, it's a subject which is very much alive! Read on for more information on applying to University for Politics!read more...»
One day after initiating the start of a potential peace process, Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a drone strike. This BBC video looks at the potential implications of the killing of Mehsud for the prospects of peace in Pakistan.read more...»
It seems inconceivable that we might see the return of military conflict between China and Japan. However, as this video from the FT explains, there is increasing tension between China and Japan focused on a disputed island chain known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
With China displaying its increasing military muscle both on land and at sea, and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe seeking to loosen the terms of the country's anti-war constitution, the FT's Dmetri Sevastopulo says that the chance of an accidental confrontation escalating is increasing.read more...»
The Roberts Court usually hears around 70 to 80 cases a year. Most are of a dry and legalistic character, with little to capture the interest of students or teachers. However, there are times when the Court passes judgement on a case that could genuinely be considered a landmark.read more...»
With several key benefit reforms underway and the government still aiming to cut welfare spending by at least £18bn before the next general election, social security is bound to be an issue high on the party conference agenda.read more...»
Analysis of the power of legislatures would tend to suggest that their relationship with executives can vary according to the constitutional arrangements in that country.read more...»
David Cameron used the G8 Summit in June 2013 to try to push for action on tax avoidance. However, given Britain’s role in the global network of tax havens, some have questioned his sincerity.read more...»
Trayvon Martin’s killing and the subsequent acquittal of his accused murderer, George Zimmerman, reopened an old wound in American society and showed how decades, perhaps even centuries old conflicts in the country have never gone away. One Twitter post immediately after the verdict urging people to ‘remember to set your clock back 50 years’ sums up the way many in the African-American community felt about the verdict. Martin, a then 16 year old African-American youth was fatally shot by a neighbourhood watchman after a fight broke out and the latter’s gun was allegedly used in self-defence.read more...»
Parliament’s rejection of airstrikes on Syria last reopened the debate over whether Britain should be intervening at all in Syria’s ongoing conflict – and if so, how?read more...»
The decision by the trade union, the GMB, to slash its donation to the Labour party from £1.2m to £150,000 not only poses questions about Labour’s links to the unions but also about the viability of political parties and the issue of state funding for the parties.read more...»
The rebellion of 30 Tory backbenchers, together with those of the Liberal Democrats and the Labour opposition halted what appeared to be an inexorable slide towards western military involvement in Syria’s long-running and violent civil war.read more...»
A year from now, Scotland could be an independent country. Whether the prospect appeals or appals, an independent Scotland holds significant political consequences. This article seeks to consider three of those implications; the notion of sovereignty, the legitimacy of the result and the prospect of the United Kingdom collapsing altogether.read more...»
Since 2010 the Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives, as a result the budget process has normally turned into a, somewhat embarrassing fight between the Democrats and the Republicans.read more...»
Given the dealignment of the electorate in many democracies, more emphasis has been placed upon the economy as a key determinant of voting behaviour. Labour lost in 2010 in the UK as did the PSOE in Spain, largely due to a failing economy after the “credit crunch” induced recession in those countries. In Australia however the incumbent Labor government was ousted from office despite an economy that boasts 22 consecutive years of economic growth and a forecast of 2.6% growth for this year. Bill Clinton campaigned on the theme of “It’s the economy stupid” in 1992 to defeat the then President G.H. Bush, yet it would seem too narrow a focus on a single factor cannot explain the outcome of elections.read more...»
Next available date: 18 June 2014 (London)
WOW! Politics 2014 is a brand new CPD course that follows the popular format used in our sell-out courses for Economics & Business Studies.
The aim of WOW! Politics 2014 is to provide teaching colleagues with a collection of resources that can be used immediately in the A Level Politics classroom.
We asked a superb team of experienced and passionate Politics teachers to develop their resources for A Level Politics which would help inspire and engage students - perhaps by adopting a different approach to Politics topics than the traditional textbook style!
The result is a superb collection of teaching resources that we hope students will find engaging, challenging and enjoyable!read more...»
Would the introduction of a recall system for UK MPs provide an incentive for MPs to keep on their toes and represent their constituents better?
The expenses scandal led to suggestions the public should have the power to remove MPs between elections where constituents felt they were no longer up to the job,
The coalition proposed a system where an MP could be referred to the Parliamentary Standards Committee which would decide their fate.
But Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith said that does not go far enough, and made the case for a different kind of "recall".
He said constituents are not able to punish their current MP, whatever their behaviour, as "there is nothing literally their voters can do about it until the next general election."read more...»
The dust is beginning to settle after the 16 government shutdown in the US and the brinkmanship before moderate Republicans finally struck a deal with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
On the face of it, a 10 percentage point fall for the GOP in recent opinion polls suggests a pretty negative impact on the GOP.
However, as this useful FT video explains, it seems that there are some in the GOP who relished the publicity opportunities from the shutdown and who are now positioning themselves ahead of the 2016 Presidential campaign. Most prominent among these is Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz who has seen his approval and donations hitting new highs.read more...»
One key aspect that new students to Government and Politics need to have is an understanding of the nature of participation in the political process, particularly in the UK. Follow this link to see a Powerpoint stimulus exercise examining voter turnout and apathy for the UK General Election of 2010.
As well as offering statistics on turnouts in 2010 compared to previous elections and a breakdown in turnouts by the individual countries within the UK, the stimulus asks students to consider what causes voter apathy, particularly among adults between the ages of 18 and 24.
Please note: This activity will be showcased as part of the upcoming Wow Politics event (November 13th, see our website). Delegates to the event will also receive the companion spreadsheet which lists turnout by constituency, ranking each constituency in terms of the turnout percentage showing where apathy was at its worse! This data is necessary for a task within the resource which asks students to consider the causes of good, bad or indifferent turnout in the area where they live. If you wish to obtain this information yourself to use with this activity, it available from this link.
This article in The Spectator highlights a dramatic fall in the membership of the Conservative Party since David Cameron became leader in 2005.read more...»
When we reach the next General Election (scheduled for summer 2015) it is likely that older people will once again be most likely to cast their votes. Voting is not compulsory in the UK, but the evidence suggests that older people are much more likely to exercise their right to vote compared with younger people. So, could this feature of UK election turnout be changed by making voting compulsory for a certain category of voter - the first-time voter?read more...»
Quiz shows are always a massive source of inspiration when it comes to starters and plenaries. Here’s one I used regularly in my teaching which was based on a popular quiz show around 1990.
The show was called Talkabout and was hosted by then popular light entertainer, Andrew O’ Connor. A very simple format which involved two teams of people talking about a topic and trying to hit 10 key words. This is perfect for politics and can be played in two key ways.
Firstly, you can think of 10 key words on a topic that has just been covered, for example, electoral systems. The words can be on the board but hidden from view. The teacher then asks for a volunteer to come to the front and face the class. The words are revealed to the rest of the group and the volunteer has to talkabout that topic (in this case, electoral systems) with the aim of hitting as many key words as possible. The time allowed is 60 seconds. Every time a word is 'hit' the students applaud the student.
However, a far more inclusive way to play is to ask for a volunteer and then send him/ her out of the room. The rest of the group then discusses what the 10 key words should be and these are then put on the board. Volunteer comes in and then talkabout is played in the usual way
It’s a really fun and engaging way of recapping a topic you have just taught and at the end you can question the students on each of the key terms. Talkabout can be used for virtually any politics topic, for example:
- Pressure groups
- Role of parliament
- The European Union
The applications are endless!!!!
The GOV4A Exam is not far away not, happily here are overviews of the entire specification in Tutor2u Style! All powerpoints are available for download via Slideshare!
The opportunity for members to have an input into party proceedings might be considered to best identified by considering three main areas:
1. The election of leaders
2. The role of conference and policy making
3. The selection of candidates for electionsread more...»
“Damn your principles! stick to your party” So said the Victorian Conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. Yet it would appear that principles are being placed before party at the present time within the Conservative party.
According to Conservative rules, 46 MPS is all it takes for a leadership challenge to be launched against Cameron. 15% of Conservative MPs must ask the 1922 Committee for an election and a simple majority secures the leadership. These were the rules introduced in 1998 which led to the ousting of Iain Duncan Smith in 2003. Given the size of the vote against the government on the proposed EU referendum and House of Lords reform, it would seem that this requirement could be easily met should Conservative MPs perceive Cameron to be an electoral liability in 2015.read more...»
To what extent are the Labour and Conservative parties democratic organisations?
The election of Ed Miliband was said to be due to the influence of the unions. This would suggest that the unions might wield too much power within the Labour party making it undemocratic. It should be noted however that political parties actively seek to involve their membership and seek to establish their democratic credentials.
The parties could be stated to be democratic organisations as they allow their members to choose their leaders. David Cameron was able to defeat David Davis relatively easy and Nick Clegg secured a narrow victory over Chris Huhne. Democracy can be defined as “rule of the people for the people by the people”. This is normally achieved through the direct participation of the people and in party terms through members voting their leader. Ed Miliband too was elected by a combination of the members, unions and parliamentary Labour party via an electoral college where each branch of the party gets 33.3% of the vote.read more...»
There was an interesting turn of events at the Labour party conference in 2012 when Ed Miliband used the term to “one nation” to describe his party. The phrase originates from as long ago as the nineteenth century when the Conservative leader, Benjamin Disraeli, sought to drag his party back from the political wilderness and to connect with the newly enfranchised working class. He warned of the dangers of two nations divided into the rich and the poor. One nation Conservatism then was used to describe a Conservative ideology which justified state intervention on paternalistic grounds to lesson income and wealth divisions. Ironically, similarities may be made with Cameron’s “compassionate Conservatism”.read more...»
The dilemma the Conservatives faced after the 2005 general election was similar to that of the Labour party in the 1990s. The party, having lost successive elections, needed to change in order to get re-elected. Labour’s four defeats in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992, assisted the development of New Labour. This “project” saw the Labour party abandon many of its traditional policies such as state ownership of the “commanding heights” of the British economy with the amendment to Clause IV of their constitution with a move to the centre right ground of British politics. The success of this move was evident with an unprecedented three successive election victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005.
The Conservatives then had a similar need for a “makeover”, a reinvention if you will, so that they could reconnect with the British public. Their support in the elections where Labour won showed no real sign of change. Their vote “flatlined” around the 30% mark and this was in part due to the public’s perception of the Conservatives as “the nasty party” as was identified by the then party chair, Theresa May, at the 2003 party conference. This allowed the election of David Cameron in 2005 after their third election defeat on a modernising agenda. Part of his brief was to give his party a more new policies and a new image; a brief which might be called a modernising agenda.read more...»