Politics class: Boris Johnson: the entertainer who tried to defy political gravity
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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
Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:
Boris Johnson: the entertainer who tried to defy political gravity
and listen to this in-depth podcast on ‘The Fall of Boris Johnson’ for more detail
Background: what you need to know
This article reviews the ups and downs of Boris Johnson’s tumultuous premiership — from winning the 2019 general election to ‘getting Brexit done’, his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the furore over ‘Partygate’.
It summarises the events that led to Johnson’s downfall. The article argues that this was ultimately about his personality, as his fellow MPs lost faith in his ability to demonstrate integrity and stability in office.
Both examination boards prescribe an in-depth study of two Prime Ministers, one from 1945-97 and one since 1997. You must assess their ability to control events and policy, and the limits as well as the potential power of the office. You could choose Boris Johnson as your post-1997 PM.
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
‘The personality of the UK Prime Minister is the most important influence on their ability to control events and shape policy.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement
In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2
Evaluate the argument that the power of the UK Prime Minister depends mainly on demonstrating governing competence
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 the role of the media. Adverse coverage of Johnson’s mishandling of scandals, such as the appointment of a deputy chief whip accused of inappropriate behaviour, shone a negative spotlight on his conduct in office.
Graham Goodlad, St John’s College