AS Question 2 Advice

AS Question 2 advice

Question 2 on AS-Level Paper 2 is based on a short source extract. It is worth 10 marks and should be completed in 20 minutes. Alongside Question 3 this is a compulsory question- you must

answer it.

Source 1 is adapted from an article published 29 October 2016 in The Independent newspaper. It discusses how far prime ministers govern in a 'collegiate' way, working collaboratively with their cabinet colleagues rather than taking their own decisions.

Source 1: 'Thank goodness Theresa May has restored cabinet government — or has she?' by John Rentoul

`Relief all round that the new Prime Minister [Theresa May] has revived traditional collegiate government. "She has brought back proper cabinet government with formal committees," reported Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC's Political Editor...

Strong personalities tend to dominate government, but even the supposedly most collegiate prime ministers are more first than equals. For example, Clement Attlee, often held up as the model of the chairman type, went behind the back of his Cabinet — because he thought most of them couldn't be trusted — to authorise the building of Britain's nuclear weapons.

Most new prime ministers claim to be restoring cabinet government. John Major did after Thatcher. Gordon Brown did after Blair. David Cameron did after Brown. But in all cases the extent to which a prime minister works collaboratively with colleagues depends on their ideological unity and the nature of the challenges facing them.

Cameron, for example, was forced to work closely with Nick Clegg in a coalition government, but the way he did it was not traditional cabinet government, it was the 'Quad' of two leading Tories and two Lib Dems, a device improvised as they went along.'

Using the source, explain how prime ministers relate to their cabinet colleagues in government. [10 marks]

In your response you must use knowledge and understanding to analyse only points that are in the source. You will not be rewarded for introducing any additional points that are not in the source.

This type of question tests A01 (knowledge and understanding) and A02 (analysis), with the marks split equally between the two. You are asked to extract relevant information from the source and explain it. Anything you write should develop and analyse points made in the source. You should not introduce factual material from outside the source. For this question you would explain how the appearance of 'cabinet government' has often proved deceptive in modern times. The source mentions, for example, the 'quad' or inner group of four ministers responsible for many key decisions in David Cameron's coalition government. Some explanation of how this and similar 'inner cabinets' have worked would receive credit.

· Spend a few minutes reading the source and noting the key points that you will need to include in your answer.

· Aim to write about three paragraphs, with analysis of the source supported throughout by precise knowledge and understanding.

· Close with a short conclusion in which you draw together and emphasise the main points you have made.

Here is the final part of a student's answer to this question.

Theresa May is the latest in a long line of prime ministers who have given the impression that they are restoring true cabinet government after it has been abused by their predecessor. however, as we have seen, in practice much depends on the personality of the prime minister and the circumstances they face, which are always changing. Where there are significant differences within a cabinet, a prime minister may go behind the backs of the cabinet as a whole, to work with a smaller number of colleagues whom he or she can manage more easily. This enables the prime minister to make sure that the most important aspects of his or her agenda are implemented.

· The conclusion underlines the key points made in the answer, with no additional material drawn from outside the source.

· The student reaches a supported judgement: in practice, it is not the case that prime ministers uphold an ideal model of cabinet government.