Jan 13 mark scheme, report & model answer


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Jan 13 mark scheme, report & model answer

  1. 1. Jan 13 – Prime Ministerial Power
  2. 2. Mark Scheme1 a) the source refers to two ways in which prime ministerial power is affected:· He cannot call an election when events are in his party’s favour.· Second he can plan his programme in the knowledge of when the next election will beheld.One mark for one issue inadequately identified.Two marks for correctly identifying one of the above points.Three marks for identifying both.Up to two additional marks for an explanation of the point(s) made. For example:· Events might be a favourable state of the economy, or a successful foreign policy(such as Libya), or some favourable crime figures.· Planning a programme might mean introducing more popular legislation just before anelection, such as tax cuts or pension increases.1 b) From the source:A codified constitution would more clearly outline the powers of the prime minister and,by implication, preventing a drift to greater powers. It would prevent a prime ministerfrom defining his own role.From own knowledge:Examples of possible reforms would be:· Forcing the prime minister to seek parliamentary approval for acts of war, the signingor treaties.· Transferring some of his patronage powers to parliament or other bodies.· Introducing fixed terms of office for him/her· Making him more directly accountable to parliament.· Reform of the electoral system, making large majorities unlikely.· The introduction of an elected London mayor and devolution generally create
  3. 3. rival centres of power.· Greater European integration.· An elected second chamber.· Any other cogent and feasible suggestion by the candidate.N.B· Reforms that limit the power of government as a whole do, by implication, limit thepower of the prime minister and so are valid.· Constitutional reforms that have already been made are also valid.A Level 2 response will typically exhibit the following features:Simply but accurately, it will explain two reforms, at least one reform from the source,together with some material from the candidate’s own knowledge.A Level 3 response will typically exhibit the following features:Clearly and accurately, at least three reforms, at least one reform will be identified anddiscussed from the source, together with some material from the candidate’s ownknowledge.1 c) Candidates should be able to explain the term ‘presidential, both in terms of itsconstitutional implications and its broader, meaning. Typical knowledge of ways inwhich they have become more presidential might include:· The media concentrate more on the PM as government spokesperson.· The greater concentration on presentation of policy.· The greater importance of the ‘presidential’ role in terms of foreign policy, militaryissues, global conferences etc.· The growth of the Downing Street ‘machine’, looking increasingly like an executiveoffice of the president’.· Spatial leadership issues.· Any other cogent factors and evidence.· The personality of some prime ministers, notably Blair, Cameron.On the other hand, there are counter arguments:
  4. 4. · Prime ministers are not heads of state constitutionally.· They are limited by party, cabinet and parliament.· They can be removed from office in mid-term.· It is very much an issue of the individual’s ‘style’.· Events and other factors cause variations in dominance.· Any other cogent factors and evidence.Examples and illustrations from the experience of recent prime ministers should beincluded as evidence.A Level 2 response will typically exhibit the following features:There will be at least three issues concerning presidentialism explored, preferably butnot necessarily with some balance.A Level 3 response will typically exhibit the following features:There will be at least four issues concerning presidentialism explored, with significantbalance.Examiners Report(a) Most candidates could identify both the positive and the negative aspects of fixedterm parliaments for prime ministerial power. However, a majority failed to explainthese at all, making for example, a short comment that events in his favour mightinclude the state of the economy or the opinion poll position of his party. On thepositive side a comment such as the ability to pass popular legislation or perhapsreduce taxes just before the election would have been appropriate. Comments likethese added to each point would have secured all five marks.(b) Most candidates identified the introduction of a codified constitution as a way oflimiting prime ministerial power. However, too many merely stated that this would showthe limits to that power more clearly or would establish a separation of powers withoutexplaining how this might work, for example preventing the drift towards greater primeministerial power or clarifying prerogative powers so as to prevent the incumbentinterpreting his powers too widely.From their own knowledge candidates tended to discuss electoral reform, House ofLords reform and devolution as possible limits. These have already happened, ofcourse, but were acceptable none the less. However not enough candidates were able
  5. 5. to distinguish between reforms which have or would limit the power of government as awhole, as opposed to the prime minister individually. In this regard better answersincluded the removal of prerogative powers, such as waging war and the ability tochoose cabinet members in an arbitrary fashion by, perhaps, holding parliamentaryelections to cabinet.Incidentally, many candidates believed, wrongly, that Gordon Brown had actuallyimplemented some reforms to the royal prerogative. In reality, he suggested them butthey were not implemented.Referendums and the transfer of powers to the EU were also popular ideas, though,once again, usually, inadequately related to the personal power of the prime minister.Having said that, credit was given to those who were discussing limits to the power ofthe whole government since the prime minister is a member of the government.(c) On the whole this question was well answered with good knowledge andunderstanding shown of current or recent political experience. The position of four orfive of the last prime ministers were often used as were references to academicauthorities such as Hennessy, Jones and Foley. However, many answers tended to bediscussing prime ministerial government, rather than presidentialism. Such responsesreceived credit, but not as much as answers which explored the concept ofpresidentialism specifically.Most answers demonstrated good balance and essay structure as well as contemporaryknowledge. It was also common to see answers that pointed out the distinctionsbetween a head of government and a head of state. Such responses tendedsuccessfully to point out that there are more constraints on a head of government thanon a head of state and that British prime ministers face such constraints whether theyare acting out the role of either. The most common weakness, as implied above, wasfor candidates to rehearse well prepared answers which were evaluations of primeministerial power, rather than the extent to which the prime minister can be seen as apresident.However well written an answer is, however much knowledge and understanding isshown, part (c) answers should have a coherent structure, normally including a usefulintroduction and a meaningful conclusion.Model Answer