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  • AQA Component Political parties: the origins, ideas and development of the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties and how these have helped shape their current policies

  • Edexcel Component 1, 2.2: Established political parties: The origins and historical development of the Conservative party, the Labour party and Liberal Democrat party, and how this has shaped their ideas and current policies on the economy, law and order, welfare and foreign affairs

Background: what you need to know

This article highlights the similarities between Conservative and Labour economic policies, based around a shared commitment to financial stability and reassurance. The term ‘Heevesian’ is a compound of the names of the Chancellor (Jeremy Hunt) and the Shadow Chancellor (Rachel Reeves). It remains to be seen whether it will catch on in the way that, in the postwar consensus period, the Conservative and Labour Chancellors’ names (RA Butler and Hugh Gaitskell) were fused to create ‘Butskellism’.

There are, of course, differences between the two parties, as this link demonstrates: Rachel Reeves embraces ‘Bidenomics’ as blueprint for a Labour government. In the run-up to the general election, despite the common ground, Labour will want to put a distinctive offer to the electorate.

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

Are Labour and the Conservatives adopting ‘Heevesian’ economics?

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘The main UK parties agree more than they disagree on policies.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the main UK parties today have very similar policies.

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

    TIP: The economy is perhaps the most important policy area, but you should also look at similarities and differences in other policy areas. Edexcel prescribes law and order, welfare and foreign affairs — these are equally appropriate if you are following the AQA specification. Don’t forget that both exam boards consider the Liberal Democrats to be one of the three main UK parties, despite their small tally of MPs.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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