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  • AQA Component 3.1.2: The politics of the UK: Political Parties: the origins, ideas and development of the Conservative party and how these have shaped its current policies

  • Edexcel Component 1. UK Politics: 2.2: Established Political Parties: The Conservative party: ideas and current policies on the economy, law and order, welfare and foreign policy

Background: what you need to know 

The article discusses Boris Johnson’s plan to fund social care and generate extra investment for the NHS by raising National Insurance. This has caused disquiet within the Conservative party but it is unlikely to provoke a major rebellion on the party backbenches, such are the pulls of party loyalty. MPs are also aware that the public supports investment in the health service, especially in light of the pressures created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The article highlights two key areas for Politics students. The proposal is controversial because it breaches a pledge made in the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto — the document in which a party sets out its policies at a general election. More generally, Johnson has departed from the party’s adherence to low taxation, a key feature of ‘Thatcherite’ or ‘New Right’ thinking, which has exercised so much influence on Conservatives from the 1970s onwards.

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

Boris Johnson plan to fund health and social care lifts UK tax burden to 70-year high

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the Conservative party has moved away from the ideas of Thatcherism in recent years.

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

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘The Conservative party has abandoned the ideas of the New Right in recent years.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

    TIP: Remember that you need to explain what you understand by ‘Thatcherism’ or ‘the New Right’ before assessing how far the Conservative party has moved away from it. The article is useful for economic policy — one of the policy areas specified by Edexcel — but you should also look at, for example, law and order, welfare and foreign policy. A range of policies is also advisable if you are answering the AQA question.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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