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    Could someone help me out with some more details on the 4 key 'principles' of the constitution.
    My notes seem a bit thin
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    (Original post by Billy_Boi)
    Judiciary Question: Discuss the view that the executive is the greatest threat to civil liberties in the UK.

    Constitution Question: To what extent do the advantages of having a flexible constitution outweigh the disadvantages?

    Parliament Question:
    a) Using the sources and your own knowledge, explain the role of the backbench MPs in the HoC.
    b) Using the sources and your own knowledge discuss the view that political parties have too much power in the House of Commons?
    The Executive question was something to do with the Prime Minister's power since 2010
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    Looking at the past papers and boundaries, I think we can expect the 2016 grade boundaries for an A to be around 80 to 81. This was the grade boundary for the June 2011 paper which I believe was similar in the type of questions asked for this years paper.
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    (Original post by Billy_Boi)
    Judiciary Question: Discuss the view that the executive is the greatest threat to civil liberties in the UK.

    Constitution Question: To what extent do the advantages of having a flexible constitution outweigh the disadvantages?

    Parliament Question:
    a) Using the sources and your own knowledge, explain the role of the backbench MPs in the HoC.
    b) Using the sources and your own knowledge discuss the view that political parties have too much power in the House of Commons?
    Thank goodness that Parliament question came up last year -- I hate it!! Thank you
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    (Original post by SparkleOwl)
    Could someone help me out with some more details on the 4 key 'principles' of the constitution.
    My notes seem a bit thin
    Well, I have 5 key constitutional principles in my notes:
    1. Parliamentary sovereignty
    2. Rule of law
    3. Unitary State
    4. Parliamentary government
    5. Constitutional monarchy (this one being the least important)

    Parliamentary sovereignty is a key principle in our constitution, as it allows the current Parliament to create, amend or repeal any act, and not bind its successors. It can also create laws in retrospect, such as the War Crimes Act which allowed the detention of war criminals decades after WW2. This shows its supreme nature. It is also one of A.V. Dicey's two pillars of the constitution, along with the rule of law.
    However, it is challenged by several factors:
    1. The EU
    2. Devolution
    3. The electorate (referendums, etc.)
    Firstly, the EU can bind it by declaring precedence over certain laws. The Human Rights Act 1998, which is incorporated into UK law, is seen as important legislation as it can allow some acts to be declared incompatible by the judiciary. For example, Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 was declared incompatible with Article 5 of the HRA and subsequently the government had to amend it. However, it should be noted that the government is not necessarily bound by these declarations of incompatibility and can even derogate clauses from the HRA under extreme circumstances. Also, due to Parliament's supreme nature, it can repeal the HRA, although doing this could cause a constitutional crisis.
    Devolution is the process of giving power to other bodies other than the central body, Westminster. For example, the Scottish Parliament has primary legislation and tax-varying powers, so Westminster cannot control some of Scotland's affairs under the Scotland Act 1998. This can damage parliamentary sovereignty. However, similarly to the HRA, it can repeal relevant acts to take away these devolved powers, but this would likely again cause a constitutional crisis.
    Finally, the electorate can damage parliamentary sovereignty. In political theory, Parliament should be legally and politically sovereign, and while it may be legally sovereign as it can create and change laws, the political choice is essentially in the hands of the electorate. Referendums in particular can threaten parliamentary sovereignty, as the people can vote against what Parliament think. For example, for the EU referendum, it is down to what the people vote for. However, the government is not necessarily bound by the results.

    Enough of parliamentary sovereignty. Next, the rule of law, another one of Dicey's pillars of the constitution. It is essentially judicial independence, and the separation of powers between the government and the judiciary, to ensure that everyone is seen the same in the eyes of the law. It is very important for democracy, and there are several modern examples of its successes and failures. Firstly, during Blair's premiership, there were "Cash for Honours" allegations, several of which were followed up, but no-one was actually charged. This could be an example of how the government are seen as above the law. It should be noted this was BEFORE the CRA 2005 which separated the two branches a lot more. Another example is that of Chris Huhne, who was jailed for perverting the court of justice and was formerly a member of the Cabinet during the coalition. This is an example of the rule of law being applied.

    The unitary state as a very challenged principle of the constitution, and (in my opinion) not likely to be significant in the coming decades, especially in light of the Scotland referendum. The UK was traditionally seen as a unitary state before the devolution under Blair, but after the creation of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Irish Assembly, it could be said that the UK is a quasi-federalist state, which is where there is a central body (i.e. Westminster) but devolved powers to other national bodies, who have some control. However, this can raise some issues, such as the West Lothian question, which was addressed by the McKay Commission under the coalition government but nothing ever happened as a result. Regardless, the principle of a unitary state barely exists today.

    Parliamentary government is seen as the fusion of powers between Parliament and, you guessed it, the government. For example, David Cameron is Prime Minister but he is also an MP for his constituency, Whitney. This is a fairly important principle as it shows the link and continuity between the two branches, and it is still relevant today.

    Finally, the constitutional monarchy is the least important principle of the constitution, as it is essentially the most traditional. It is the principle that the Queen is above all party politics and acts as a symbol to unite all British citizens. It can also involve the convention of her participation in legislation process (i.e. Royal Assent) and the convention of her inviting the party with the most seats in Parliament to form a government after a general election, as well as the Queen's Speech.

    Hope this helped!
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    (Original post by beckyfrance)
    Well, I have 5 key constitutional principles in my notes:
    1. Parliamentary sovereignty
    2. Rule of law
    3. Unitary State
    4. Parliamentary government
    5. Constitutional monarchy (this one being the least important)

    Parliamentary sovereignty is a key principle in our constitution, as it allows the current Parliament to create, amend or repeal any act, and not bind its successors. It can also create laws in retrospect, such as the War Crimes Act which allowed the detention of war criminals decades after WW2. This shows its supreme nature. It is also one of A.V. Dicey's two pillars of the constitution, along with the rule of law.
    However, it is challenged by several factors:
    1. The EU
    2. Devolution
    3. The electorate (referendums, etc.)
    Firstly, the EU can bind it by declaring precedence over certain laws. The Human Rights Act 1998, which is incorporated into UK law, is seen as important legislation as it can allow some acts to be declared incompatible by the judiciary. For example, Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 was declared incompatible with Article 5 of the HRA and subsequently the government had to amend it. However, it should be noted that the government is not necessarily bound by these declarations of incompatibility and can even derogate clauses from the HRA under extreme circumstances. Also, due to Parliament's supreme nature, it can repeal the HRA, although doing this could cause a constitutional crisis.
    Devolution is the process of giving power to other bodies other than the central body, Westminster. For example, the Scottish Parliament has primary legislation and tax-varying powers, so Westminster cannot control some of Scotland's affairs under the Scotland Act 1998. This can damage parliamentary sovereignty. However, similarly to the HRA, it can repeal relevant acts to take away these devolved powers, but this would likely again cause a constitutional crisis.
    Finally, the electorate can damage parliamentary sovereignty. In political theory, Parliament should be legally and politically sovereign, and while it may be legally sovereign as it can create and change laws, the political choice is essentially in the hands of the electorate. Referendums in particular can threaten parliamentary sovereignty, as the people can vote against what Parliament think. For example, for the EU referendum, it is down to what the people vote for. However, the government is not necessarily bound by the results.

    Enough of parliamentary sovereignty. Next, the rule of law, another one of Dicey's pillars of the constitution. It is essentially judicial independence, and the separation of powers between the government and the judiciary, to ensure that everyone is seen the same in the eyes of the law. It is very important for democracy, and there are several modern examples of its successes and failures. Firstly, during Blair's premiership, there were "Cash for Honours" allegations, several of which were followed up, but no-one was actually charged. This could be an example of how the government are seen as above the law. It should be noted this was BEFORE the CRA 2005 which separated the two branches a lot more. Another example is that of Chris Huhne, who was jailed for perverting the court of justice and was formerly a member of the Cabinet during the coalition. This is an example of the rule of law being applied.

    The unitary state as a very challenged principle of the constitution, and (in my opinion) not likely to be significant in the coming decades, especially in light of the Scotland referendum. The UK was traditionally seen as a unitary state before the devolution under Blair, but after the creation of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Irish Assembly, it could be said that the UK is a quasi-federalist state, which is where there is a central body (i.e. Westminster) but devolved powers to other national bodies, who have some control. However, this can raise some issues, such as the West Lothian question, which was addressed by the McKay Commission under the coalition government but nothing ever happened as a result. Regardless, the principle of a unitary state barely exists today.

    Parliamentary government is seen as the fusion of powers between Parliament and, you guessed it, the government. For example, David Cameron is Prime Minister but he is also an MP for his constituency, Whitney. This is a fairly important principle as it shows the link and continuity between the two branches, and it is still relevant today.

    Finally, the constitutional monarchy is the least important principle of the constitution, as it is essentially the most traditional. It is the principle that the Queen is above all party politics and acts as a symbol to unite all British citizens. It can also involve the convention of her participation in legislation process (i.e. Royal Assent) and the convention of her inviting the party with the most seats in Parliament to form a government after a general election, as well as the Queen's Speech.

    Hope this helped!
    This is amazing!!
    On my notes I've merged the parliamentary government with the constitutional monarchy, so it's all good.
    Your info has helped fill out my notes a much more!
    Thank you so much
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    Anyone got any F852 predictions?
    I'm thinking a 30 on backbenchers, maybe the 12 and 28 on the cabinet and the constitution question on reforms?
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    Does anyone have any predictions? Really worried about this exam now and haven't prepared enough :/
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    This is really late, but it looks like the civil service hasn't come up for a while. But on the other hand ocr seem to have stuck with fairly similar topics for the last 5-ish years, so don't take my word for it.
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    (Original post by ju698)
    Looking at the past papers and boundaries, I think we can expect the 2016 grade boundaries for an A to be around 80 to 81. This was the grade boundary for the June 2011 paper which I believe was similar in the type of questions asked for this years paper.
    Any idea for a B?
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    (Original post by Ostrava)
    Any idea for a B?
    73
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    Didn't mind the paper, again time issues though and my 30 marker wasn't as strong as I'd have liked on constitution. Only mentioned:

    Wales and Scotland Parliament Acts 1998
    Human Rights Act 1998
    Creation of a UK supreme court & Lord Chancellor losing right to appoint judges
    Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 damaging constitutional monarch.

    Should've mentioned House of Lords Act 1998
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    That's fab stuff! That'll defo be enough
    I also didn't mind the paper, however that Commons question wasn't very nice.
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    (Original post by SparkleOwl)
    That's fab stuff! That'll defo be enough
    I also didn't mind the paper, however that Commons question wasn't very nice.
    Thanks, I hope so, just I normally do 5/6 bigish paragraphs but went for 4 bigger ones.

    Yeah that question threw me a bit but managed six paragraphs, one might be wrong though, I said the HoL can undermine HoC by blocking legislation due to 1949 Parliament Act but ultimately this is only a year and isn't very common.

    What did you guys do for 1a? Thought that was tricky in terms of getting all 12 marks as was struggling for points.
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    (Original post by liamtheeagle)
    Thanks, I hope so, just I normally do 5/6 bigish paragraphs but went for 4 bigger ones.

    Yeah that question threw me a bit but managed six paragraphs, one might be wrong though, I said the HoL can undermine HoC by blocking legislation due to 1949 Parliament Act but ultimately this is only a year and isn't very common.

    What did you guys do for 1a? Thought that was tricky in terms of getting all 12 marks as was struggling for points.
    Wow, that's loads!!
    I mentioned the Lords too, so that's reassuring that we had the same idea.
    For 1a I talked about the make up and the changes to the Cabinet.
    Eg. Cabinet reshuffle in 2015 introduced more women, etc.
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    I'm a bit late to this but these are the questions that I recall (and my answers)

    1)a) The composition of Parliament: This I completely messed up as I started banging on about the kitchen cabinet, inner cabinet etc. I felt I did very well for unit 1 so I'm hoping that will make up for this.

    1)b) Using the sources and your own knowledge discuss the view that cabinet has become more important since 2010:
    For: Cabinet can influence policy: IDS resignation in 2016 stopped proposed welfare cuts from happening.
    Prime Minister needs the support of Cabinet: DC couldn't pass through policy about minimum alcohol price as many cabinet members did not support it.

    Against: Cabinet is less important because it is bound by collective responsibility, meaning that they are unable to voice their own opinions and have to tow the party line. They are just there to support the PM: mentioned resignation of Baroness Warsi.

    Can't remember what else I put.

    2) Discuss the view that the House of Commons has little power:
    Power because:
    -Can scrutinise executive.
    -Parliamentary sovereignity.

    Little power because:
    -Executive can lead to ineffective scrutiny.
    -Party whipping.

    Can't remember the last point.

    3) Discuss the view that reforms since 1997 has fundamentally changed the UK constitution:
    For: -Devolved Welsh/Scottish Parliaments as well as NI assembly: more federal system.
    - Fixed term parliament act: changed the way a government is elected and reduced PM power.
    -Constitutional Reform Act: removed law lords, reduced powers of Justice Secretary and introduction of judicial commission has led to the separation of powers.

    Against: -The HoL Act: 92 heredity peers still remained, Lord spirituals still remained. Undemocratic etc.
    -HRA did not introduce any new rights, it's basically a bit of codification of constitution plus the magna carta and bill of rights already gave people the rights they needed.

    It's a bit of a messy format but it's 2:54 and I am tired. Night.
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    (Original post by beckyfrance)
    Yes because it had the command word "discuss" after the statement.
    But it could have meant discuss the way in which parties select candidates?
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    What do you think the grade boundries were for F851 and F852
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    How did you find the politics paper?

    I found government paper far easier than politics paper.
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    (Original post by Chadmoss)
    What do you think the grade boundries were for F851 and F852
    At a guess, something like:

    F851: A: 78%, B 67%, C 59%, D 51%, E 42%
    F852: A: 72%, B 63%, C 55%, D 47%, E 39%


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