The Student Room Group

How does one even go about answering this question!?

Q: Evaluate the view that governments lose elections rather than the opposition winning them.

Every for point in an essay can also be used as a counter-point. For example, if I said the government loses elections because they perform poorly since coming into power, that same point can also be used to explain why the opposition wins elections because the poor performance by the governing party makes people support the opposition as a 'protest vote' to punish them, rather than because they believe the opposition would make a worthy replacement.

I'm trying to write a balanced essay, which is why I cannot just choose a side to be biased towards. This is so that I can argue from either side if I get a source-based question that lacks the phrases needed to make good arguments from one perspective.
(edited 6 months ago)
I presume you study politics, in which case when it comes to writing a balanced essay, you simply need to use the format: for, against, for, against - a paragraph for each, totalling four overall - and this should eliminate any bias. You might already be aware, or have your own structure that works for you, but I provide below the structure you should generally follow for both essay and source questions. At the very bottom is where you can find a general outline of the question you provided above.

In each of your paragraphs, you should generally structure it as follows:

ESSAY QUESTIONS
Introduction
· Define any key terms within the question
· Argument for (be specific)
· Argument against (be specific)
· Your initial judgement which argument is the most convincing and why?

Argument 1 (for the statement)
· Point
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Argument 2 (against the statement)
· Point
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Argument 1 (for the statement)
· Point
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Argument 2 (against the statement)
· Point
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Conclusion
· Overall, why does your argument remain the most convincing?
· Counter your opinion and summarily dismiss it
· Continue to justify your opinion using examples

***

In terms of source questions, the structure is slightly more convoluted:

SOURCE QUESTIONS
Introduction
· Define any key terms within the question
· Argument 1 of the source
· Argument 2 of the source
· Provenance (consider the political leanings of the source, notable events that occurred during its publication, etc.)
· Your initial judgement which argument is the most convincing and why?

Argument 1 of the source
· Point
· Quote
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Argument 2 of the source
· Point
· Quote
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Argument 1 of the source
· Point
· Quote
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Argument 2 of the source
· Point
· Quote
· Evidence (a current affairs example where applicable, include the date so it is considered 'specific')
· Analysis (this should be the biggest part of your paragraph and of considerable length)
· Link

Conclusion
· Overall, why does your argument remain the most convincing?
· Counter your opinion and summarily dismiss it
· Link back to the provenance
· Continue to justify your opinion using examples

***

In terms of the question you provide above, I provide one-third of the answer for you. Just to preface, this is by no means sufficiently detailed (it lacks a lot of analysis, hence 'explanation' rather than 'analysis') but the point is to illustrate how you might structure it. If you stick rigidly to this structure, you will naturally eliminate any bias and also breeze through answers with practice.

Evaluate the view that governments lose elections rather than the opposition winning them.

IN FAVOUR OF THE STATEMENT
Point: ·The government, particularly in recent times, is habitually embroiled in scandals or policy failures.
Example: The Partygate scandal in 2020 and 2021 (in which government ministers illegally gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic, whereby most public health restrictions were breached) or the recent postponement of the net-zero plan from 2030 to 2035 making Rishi Sunak the most unpopular he has been in his tenure thus far.
Explanation: Therefore, election outcomes are primarily merited on the actions, performance and perception of the government, as opposed to the opposition's concerted efforts. Instead, the opposition is viewed as an alternative option until, like its previous government, mishaps occur within its own party.

IN OPPOSITION TO THE STATEMENT
Point: Successful opposition parties oftentimes present compelling policies, charismatic leaders, and effective campaign strategies.
Example: Tony Blair's 'New Labour' campaign was paramount in bringing about his landslide victory in 1997 - winning him 418 seats. Even with formidable opposition, it's unlikely his election would have been a failure. Or, more historically, Winston Churchill's loss to Clement Attlee was likely due to his appealing policies regarding the establishment of the National Health Service and other progressive policies surrounding nationalisation (particularly compelling post the Second World War).
Explanation: A well-organised and persuasive opposition can effectively mobilise voters. Even when both party leaders are formidable in their own right, the public is often drawn to what policies it finds convincing, rather than picking the lesser of two evils. In the case of Winston Churchill, whilst the public commended him as an excellent wartime prime minister, he was often viewed as too brash, stubborn and ineffective as a peacetime one.
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by redsun68
Every for point in an essay can also be used as a counter-point. For example, if I said the government loses elections because they perform poorly since coming into power, that same point can also be used to explain why the opposition wins elections because the poor performance by the governing party makes people support the opposition as a 'protest vote' to punish them, rather than because they believe the opposition would make a worthy replacement.


I disagree that each point is also a counter-point. You say the government loses elections because they perform poorly since coming into power. This might cause the opposition to win that is true but people vote for the opposition because the government did poorly. You say this yourself. People are supporting the opposition 'to punish them'. The motivation is that they don't want the current government not because 'they believe the opposition would make a worthy replacement'.

The counter-point here is that the government loses elections because the opposition runs a good campaign. The government may not have done poorly but the opposition have done really well and that is why people vote for them. The motivation is that they want to be represented by the opposition not because they object to being represented by the current government.

Of course there is often some overlap - the good campaign of the opposition may be due to a focus on what the current government did poorly and how they, the opposition, would improve things - however this overlap should allow you to speak about both sides of the argument. Talk about both what the government did poorly and what the opposition did well rather than combining these two things into one point.

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending