Politics class: Cummings exposes dangers of a lightweight leader and a dysfunctional system
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.
AQA Component 1, section 22.214.171.124; The Prime Minister and Cabinet
Edexcel Component 2, Section 3.3.2: The Prime Minister and the Cabinet
Background: what you need to know
Dominic Cummings worked with Boris Johnson on the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign and three years later followed him to Number 10 as his chief adviser. Their apparently harmonious relationship abruptly collapsed when Cummings left Downing Street last November. He has now launched a bitter attack on his former boss in evidence to a parliamentary inquiry, describing him as unfit to be Prime Minister.
As the article points out, the impact on Johnson’s reputation is moderated by the fact that Cummings’ credibility is reduced by his well known breaking of the lockdown a year ago. For the time being, public opinion broadly seems to approve of the Prime Minister’s handling of the pandemic — though this is not guaranteed to last.
Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1:
Explain and analyse three ways in which UK Prime Ministers can seek to control events and shape policy. [9 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2
Evaluate the view that UK Prime Ministers have limited power to control events and policy.
In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and core political ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]
TIP: A possible Component 1 topic is factors that affect the success of UK political parties, including debates on how the media can either enhance or damage the image of party leaders.
Graham Goodlad, St John’s College