Politics AS 40 Mark Questions

A series of flash cards based on the 40 mark questions of past papers found in Section 2 of Unit 2 Exams.

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The UK Constitution

"The UK Consitution is no longer fit for purpose." Discuss

(40 Marks)

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The UK Constitution

Criticisms:

  • Does not conform to the modern democratic world
  • Flexible (Too much opportunity for a drift towards executive power)
  • Parliamentary sovereignty
  • Prerogative powers are undemocratic
  • Loss of public confidence in politics

Strengths:

  • Flexibility (Can adapt to circumstances)
  • Strong, decisive government
  • Effective (empiricism)
  • Unknown consequences of changing the constitution
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The Judiciary

Is the judiciary too powerful, or is not powerful enough?

(40 Marks)

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The Judiciary

Powers:

  • The Human Rights Act
  • Judicial Review
  • Able to thwart government
  • Independence

Limits:

  • Parliamentary sovereignty
  • Cannot make judgements beyond the jurisidiction of the law
  • No power to review legislation critically unless a judicial review is claimed.
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Parliament

To what extent does Parliament control executive power?

(40 Marks)

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Parliament

Weak:

  • Government usually has an overall majority
  • Party patronage (MPs are loyal and docile, defying party leadership can be seen as a betrayal of the mandate)
  • Whips
  • Lack of research and back-up that the government may have
  • Collective responsibility
  • Individual ministerial responsibility is weak
  • House of Lords lacks democratic legitimacy
  • Lack of checks and balances

Strengths:

  • Select committees can remain independent and can scrutinise effectively
  • Parliament has a veto on legislation and has used it
  • House of Lords is increasingly effective
  • Vote of No Confidence
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Judiciary

How effectively can the judiciary protect civil liberties in Britain?

(40 Marks)

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Judiciary

Effectively:

  • Enforcing rule of law
  • Hearing cases of discrimination
  • Upholding ECHR
  • Taking cases to ECHR
  • Judicial review cases
  • Expressing views that may influence government and parliament
  • Preserving independence
  • Belmarsh and Afghan Hijack Case

Not effectively:

  • HR Act is not binding on Parliament
  • Judges must be proactive
  • Lack of entrenched constitution
  • Government has influence over appointment of judges
  • DNA Database, ID Cards
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Consitution

"The advantages of a codified constitution now outweigh its disadvantages". Discuss

(40 Marks)

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Constitution

Advantages:

  • A codified, entrenched constitution could check executive power
  • Rights will be protected
  • Educative and citizenship functions
  • Less flexible
  • Modernising

Disadvantages:

  • The current system works.
  • Constitution is organic and should be allowed to evolve naturally
  • Judiciable and could be interpreted differently by unelected judges
  • Rigidity
  • Difficult to achieve a consensus about what should be in the constitution
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PM and the Executive

To what extent does the prime minister dominate the political system in the UK?

(40 marks)

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PM and the Executive

Yes:

  • Cabinet has declined. Less cabinet meetings and shorter durations
  • Dominant PMs such as Blair and Thatcher
  • Growth of the Number 10 'machine'
  • Media spokesperson
  • Weakness of Parliament
  • Dominance of PM in Foreign Affairs

No:

  • PMs are only as powerful as circumstances allow them - eg Major, early Brown
  • Can depend on personality of the PM
  • Can still be overruled by the Cabinet
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Judiciary

How effectively can the judiciary control executive and legislative power in the UK?

(40 Marks)

13 of 13

Comments

elshie

thanks :)

Rebecca

This was great!

Gabby Tracey

cheers :)

Marc Watts

there's no answers for the last question???

mallika

thanks x

camilaconsolmagno

5 years later and it's still useful! Thank you!

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