© Ellie Foreman-Peck

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  • AQA Component Comparative politics: Electoral and party systems: comparisons of party policies in the UK and the USA

  • Edexcel Component 6.2.9: Comparative approaches: The policy profiles of the two main parties in each country

Background: what you need to know

The US Politics papers of both examination boards expect you to compare aspects of the US and UK political systems. Here is a useful article which highlights differences between the UK Conservatives and US Republicans.

Several prominent British Conservatives have addressed a conference organised by the Edmund Burke Foundation, which emphasises traditional rightwing values of nation and family and is opposed to the influence of globalist liberalism.

The article suggests that US politics is characterised by a stark cultural polarisation which is not replicated in the UK. This provides a starting point for questions that ask you to explain differences between the main parties of the right on the two sides of the Atlantic.

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

US-style conservatism offers only a dead end for British Tories

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three ways that cultural theory could be used to explain the differences between the policies of the US Republican Party and the UK Conservative party. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3

  • Analyse the main differences between the policies of the US Republican Party and the UK Conservative party. In your answer, you must consider the relevance of at least one comparative theory.  [12 marks]

    TIP: Familiarise yourself with the three comparative theories. The cultural theory, specified in the AQA-style question, centres on how the common ideas and values of a group, such as a political party, may influence their behaviour. The reference in the article to the strength of the ‘religious right’ in the US, a phenomenon which has no real parallel in UK politics, would be an example of this. The rational theory focuses on how individuals operate within a political system to pursue their own interests. The structural theory considers the impact of institutions and formal processes on political outcomes.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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