kelseyanne9876
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Hey guys I'm really struggling to get this essay flowing and I'm in a rut so I was just wondering if anyone had any point which I could develop for my essay question I need about 6
Q 'How far do you agree that the Prime Minister has too much power?' (30 marks)

Thank you so much
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Horace970
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(Original post by kelseyanne9876)
Hey guys I'm really struggling to get this essay flowing and I'm in a rut so I was just wondering if anyone had any point which I could develop for my essay question I need about 6
Q 'How far do you agree that the Prime Minister has too much power?' (30 marks)

Thank you so much
Hey, sorry for the essay hope it helps! This is by no means the definitive way, but if someone told me this last year when sitting my AS GPOL exams... I got 194/200UMS revising properly only a few days before the exams. This is something which I would NOT advise, it is just so that I was very lucky, but never again and definately not for A2 aha.

Following the notion that this Q is for UK GOVPOL OCR, however the content will be the same for another exam board; merely the structure will be different, here are my ideas on structure and content:

Intro: Define PM Power (Basic and brief)

Examiners construct the Questions so carefully. This means that the phrasing of the Q will give you the answer. The use of "Too much power" implies that you need to firstly address what Powers the PM has in your response. This is the basic A01 Knowledge recall:

Formal Powers:
Transferred Prerogative powers
Powers of Patronage (appoint)
Powers to set the agenda of Government (linked to below)
Powers to create cabinet committees (research David Cameron's quads during the coalition government just passed)
Powers to make and sign treaties or powers to declare war

Informal Powers:
Popularity of the PM
Perceptions of competence of PM and his government i.e. Cabinet (Collective Cabinet responsibility)
Leadership and Skills developed through political career or education (Eton)
etc

For AS level in OCR, the emphasis is more on A01 than A02 (examples), however as shown above there are some brilliant CONTEMPORARY examples which should be briefly mentioned after your A01.
e.g. "Other Powers also include the powers to create cabinet committees (A01). For example, during the 2010 Coalition, David Cameron formulated Quad meetings with Clegg and Alexander to iron out any issues before key cabinet meetings which would potentially break Cabinet Collective responsibilty and weaken the PM's perception of leadership. (A02)..."


However, the question has also asked you "How far do you agree...". In consequence, you must argue against your point. To do this, think of the weaknesses of the PM. Again, this is basic AO1: Scrutiny of Commons inc own backbenchers, backing of shadow gov when small or no majority to enact legislation, in some cirtcumstances even his powers are his weaknesses e.g.
"However, many political commentators argue the Quads were only successful due to 'the lack of strong opposition from the liberal democrats'. If DC faced a coaliton partner with greater powers of scrutinty, of which was not as willing to compromise as Nick Clegg, then the Prime ministerial powers to formulate cabinet committees would not just be null and void, but potentially increase partisanship within the coalition and thus weaken the perception of DC's competency as a leader."


Make as many of these points as you can and you have the bulk of your essay up to your conclusion where you make a judgement. Don't sit on the fence.

For students looking for that je nais sais quoi, distinguish "Powers" between "Power". After making your judgement in your conclusion, if you said the following to the examiner (which is true for all power exam questions) they would probably have a orgasm:

"The PM can never have too much power. I believe that this is true because although the PM has a vast array of potential POWERS which is formally vested upon them by a mandate, the POWER of the PM is contingent in the sense that not every PM has the ability to excercise the powers successfully. Therefore, each Prime minister has different abilities, but for any given PM that is considered or has been considered the most powerful, nobody can justly argue that particular PM had the ability to excercise all their powers into power. Thus, no Prime minister can ever have too much power."

Yours Sincerely,

H S H-H.
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