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  • Edexcel Component 2.2: Established political parties

  • AQA Component Political parties 

Background: what you need to know

This article takes as its starting point the recent award of a knighthood to former Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He remains a hugely unpopular figure with many Labour activists, not only for his controversial role in the 2003 Iraq War but also for taking the party in a rightwards direction.

However, as part of his attempt to move Labour back to the centre ground after the Corbyn years, Keir Starmer has signalled his approval for Blair as a pragmatic leader who won three successive general elections. The article highlights ways in which Starmer has tried to change the party’s image, with his emphasis on patriotism and his projection of a serious, responsible style of leadership. It also refers to new initiatives in employment, housing and green policies.

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

Keir Starmer defends Tony Blair as Labour continues shift to centre

Make sure that you follow the link to ‘green policies’, which takes you to an informative article in the Guardian from last year’s Labour conference.

Depending on the examination board you are following, now answer one of the following questions.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Explain and analyse three policies of the modern Labour Party. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the Labour Party can no longer be considered a ‘socialist’ party.

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

    TIP: For the Edexcel question, it is important to be clear what you understand by ‘socialist’. How far have Labour’s policies on the key areas of the economy, welfare, foreign policy and law and order changed, since the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn ended almost two years ago?

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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