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  • Edexcel Component 2.2: Established political parties:

  • AQA Component Political parties

Background: what you need to know 

These articles, prompted by the first Labour Party conference under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer, are concerned with how far the party has abandoned the hard-left agenda associated with Jeremy Corbyn (leader 2015-20). Labour’s central problem in opposition today, as it was under Tony Blair prior to the 1997 election, is to present itself as a credible party of government. This entails demonstrating that it has a responsible approach to economic management, without abandoning its traditional commitment to social justice.

The articles highlight internal differences between the Corbynite left and the centrist pragmatism of the current party leadership. These include divisions not just over policies but also over the party’s procedures. Starmer’s proposals for changing the rules for party leadership elections have proved controversial. On the other hand, it seems that divisions over the issue of anti-Semitism, associated with the Labour left in recent years, may be starting to heal.

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

Labour seeks to bury Corbyn’s legacy with commitment to economic stability

Starmer hit by fresh turmoil at Labour party conference

Keir Starmer challenges critics as he decisively moves Labour to centre

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the policies of the Labour Party remain true to the ideas of socialism.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: If you answer the Edexcel question, you must first explain what you understand by ‘socialism’ and then, with reference to the party’s policies, assess how far it is truly socialist today. Edexcel specifies four policy areas for you to know about: the economy, the welfare state, foreign policy and law and order. AQA does not list particular policies but clearly these are all relevant ones to look at.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Explain and analyse three causes of division within the modern Labour Party. [9 marks]

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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