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#27881 Describe/discuss questions

Posted by Shuggy on 25 May 2005 - 02:21 PM in Modern Studies

Bullet points are from the devil - don't use them, unless it's in the DME.

All questions should be written in essay style - continuous prose. The key difference between "discuss" and "describe" is that the former should give due wait to both sides of the argument and they must have a conclusion. Describe essays should have a conclusion in the interests of good English but unlike "discuss" essays, it's possible to pass without one but please note they are absolutley essential for Item 2 style questions...

#23728 Help required!

Posted by Shuggy on 16 May 2005 - 04:14 PM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(NatzG @ May 9 2005, 05:11 PM)
Hi its me bak 2 annoy you all again lol.

I was wondering could anybody on here please give me model answers for the following questions? I would just like to see how somebody else would answer them. Anything at all would be kindly appreciated.

a) What are the main arguments for and against the FPTP voting system?
b) What are the main arguments for introducing a system of PR into Uk elections?
c) To what extent does the Additional Member System make parliament more democratic
d) What efforts have been made by government to promote good health?

Thanks you guys  tongue.gif

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I'll not bore you with lengthy answers to your questions - just a wee note to all about Election 2005 and its implications for this type of question:

Given that one of the best arguments for PR is that it tends to produce coalitions that are based, on average, on 60% of the electorate, whereas all British postwar governments have been elected on less than 50%, this last election is a strong argument for PR.

Blair's victory on the 5th of May - giving him around 60% of the seats in Westminster - was based on the smallest share of the vote for any governing party since the 1832 Reform Act.

Labour got around 36% of the vote; most postwar governments have been based on around 42-45% of the vote. This leaves a situation where the present government finds itself in power with nearly 64% of the electorate voting against it.

When the low turnout is factored in, Labour is presently in power on something around 20+% of the vote.

#21135 Functions of Cabinet

Posted by Shuggy on 03 May 2005 - 11:50 AM in Modern Studies

Ok, since a couple of people have gone into a huff because I said the function of the cabinet was a simple matter, here's a serious post about the role of the cabinet:.

Cabinet ministers are chosen by the prime minister to run each department of state - health, home office, defence, treasury etc. - by the Prime Minister. They are drawn from the party with the largest no. of seats in Parliament (the largest party in Parliament should not be identified with the government; backbench MPs from whatever party are not - by definition - in the government.

Each minister is then responsible to Parliament for the conduct of his or her department. Should the minister be seen to have failed their job in some way - or conducted themselves in a manner unbecoming a minister of the crown, their constitutional responsibility is to resign. This is known as the "doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility". However, it's broken down in recent years, largely as the result of the expansion in the civil service. Today ministers tend to blame their civil servants, saying this or that peice of paper or memo wasn't seen by them. The thing is, given the size of the average government department, in most cases they're probably telling the truth. But the convention, which seems to be lost these days, is that ministers were supposed to resign even if the departmental failure wasn't directly their fault.

The unwillingness to take ministerial responsibility can be seen with the recent debates over Iraq: no miniter has resigned over the non-discovery of WMD and defence secretary Geoff Hoon kept his job, despite the scandal of British tropps being sent into conflict without proper body armour.

Instead, ministers - if they eventually do resign - it tends to be over personal issues, like David Blunkett (using undue influence to obtain a visa for his lover's nanny) and Peter Mandelson allegedly using improper influence to obtain passports for the Hinduja brothers.

The Cabinet is also supposed to be collectively responsible for government policy; government policy is supposed to be discussed in Cabinet and when it makes a decision, all memebrs are bound by the convention of collective responsibility which holds that if a memebr doesn't agree with government policy, they should - effectively - put up or shut up. This is why Robin Cook resigned from the Cabinet on the eve of the Iraq war. Collective responsibility would have bound him to publically support the invasion of Iraq, which he wasn't willing to do. Claire Short, in contrast, spoke against the invasion but initially did not resign. This was a clear breach of ministerial ethics and is one of the reasons she lacks credibility amongst even those Labour MPs who opposed the war.

The problem with the notion of Cabinet Government and the idea of the PM being first among equals is that it hasn't borne any relation to the reality of UK politics for some time. Anthony Crossland complained about Harold Wilson being "presidential" back in the sixties; Thatcher's enemies - including Geoffry Howe and Michael Hestltine - complained Thatcher rode roughshod over the conventions of Cabinet government; and Blair is essentially accused of being a "Thatcher in trousers" not least for his approach to Cabinet meetings, where policy tends to be presented as a fait accompli.

Take Iraq again: all of the key decisions were taken by Blair, Hoon, and Straw. Other members of the Cabinet were rarely involved.

Nevertheless, they were consulted and voted on the war. For all the talk of presidentialism, it is - at the end of the day - the responsibility of the cabinet to ask searching questions at the time (of the legal position, for example) - which in this case, clearly they didn't do.

#21134 Functions of Cabinet

Posted by Shuggy on 03 May 2005 - 11:22 AM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(superstar @ Apr 29 2005, 03:55 PM)
QUOTE(Shuggy @ Apr 29 2005, 12:26 PM)
The Cabinet = the government.  Each Cabinet minister has a department to run.  It's really that simple.

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The question was about the function of the cabinet and that is really not all that simple! Especially cause Tony Blair doesn't use cabinet government as it is described in the text books! So to say that its really simple is not fair and unjustified to those people who may be a little confused!

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I was only joking, for goodness sake. Obviously there's more to it than that but the basic point stands: the cabinet is the government and its job is basically to run the country - both collectively and as individual ministers responsible for a department. I'm not surprised if people get confused if they haven't taken on board this basic point - but that's not my fault now, is it?

#21133 Functions of Cabinet

Posted by Shuggy on 03 May 2005 - 11:15 AM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(NYPD @ Apr 29 2005, 12:43 PM)
QUOTE(Shuggy @ Apr 29 2005, 11:26 AM)
The Cabinet = the government.  Each Cabinet minister has a department to run.  It's really that simple.

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No, the cabinet is not the Government, as the Government is simply the party with the most seats in parliament. Thus, the cabinet is not the Government. It is made up of the Government (i.e. MPs from the party in Government) and is the top tier of Govt. making the main decisions and driving policy directions for instance.

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NYPD - Dear boy, the government is unequivocally not "simply the party with the most seats in Parliament"; one can be in the governing party without being part of the government. Backbenchers, whether in the governing party or in the Opposition, are not part of the government - and if you've been told otherwise, I'm afraid you've been misinformed.

#20792 Functions of Cabinet

Posted by Shuggy on 29 April 2005 - 11:26 AM in Modern Studies

The Cabinet = the government. Each Cabinet minister has a department to run. It's really that simple.

#17313 Income and Wealth

Posted by Shuggy on 31 March 2005 - 11:32 AM in Modern Studies

For anyone doing the above in the Higher, check this out and follow the links; it's v.good.

#16007 prelim

Posted by Shuggy on 11 March 2005 - 02:55 PM in Modern Studies

Since I've been teaching this course, every class on average has done better in the final exam than in the prelim - don't be disheartened...

#13536 Happy Birthday!

Posted by Shuggy on 04 February 2005 - 11:53 AM in General Chat

QUOTE($impl¥_®i¢h @ Feb 2 2005, 08:58 PM)
Hey Shuggy happy 100th Birthday  laugh.gif  laugh.gif

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Just spotted this, thanx. Actually, I'm 200 - so I get two telegrams from the Queen. Bit miserable of her really - you'd think she'd stretch to a box of chocys at least...

#12570 The USA

Posted by Shuggy on 24 January 2005 - 02:01 PM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(angela_bonjela @ Jan 24 2005, 11:20 AM)
I'm sitting the ethnic minorities in USA nab tomorrow. I find the course easy enough to follow but i'm finiding it difficult to remember facts and figures. Also, even though I do the learning, that is only good for outcome 1 questions which test your understanding. I find outcome 2 questions difficult as you need to think beyond the answer which is where I'm getting stuck. Any advice?

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Yup - if you're having problems remembering stats, the key thing is:

1) Don't try to remember too many, 'cos you'll just forget them on the day

2) If you can't remember on the actual day, don't make them up; instead use approximations. E.g. instead of trying to remember a precise stat like 73.2%, why not just say, "nearly three-quarters" etc. Same with dates: if something you want to refer to happened in 1987, fo example, just say, "the late eighties" and so on.

On the EV question: treat it like a conversation where there are always more than one possible points of view. If, for example, you're studing for a question that might say something like, "PR is more democratic than FPTP" - Discuss - don't just research about PR, remember arguments of people who do not agree that PR is more democratic. This can be done for every topic.

The structure for EV is much the same as that for the DME:

Make the point/use the example

Show an awareness that there are arguments against this

Refute the arguments against

#11768 Revision

Posted by Shuggy on 06 January 2005 - 02:41 PM in Modern Studies

For those doing South Africa - or any other countries: don't forget the CIA factbook, which gives a short resume on every country in the world. Also, Encarta is always handy for much the same reason...

#11489 DME

Posted by Shuggy on 20 December 2004 - 12:42 PM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(lipu @ Dec 16 2004, 07:22 PM)
I did my first DME today and I really dont know how to do it.  Any help would be great.  We are doing it on Income and Wealth

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One of the most important things to do is to break it up under headings: this is both "a style appropriate to a report" and helps you manage the information. It should go something like:


Supporting Evidence

Evidence Against (The souces are designed so that they could support eitherrecommendation)

Refute Evidence Against

Restate Recommendation


Quote your souces; you must use background knowledge; and play the role set in the paper.

Any more specific questions? (Fortunately, I teach this area).

#10745 HELP- C7- South Africa

Posted by Shuggy on 06 December 2004 - 09:48 AM in Modern Studies

Um, not sure: most of my colleagues don't teach this anymore but I'll see what I can find. Also, if you'd like to post what kinds of questions you have in mind, I'll get back with something resembling a model answer in due course...

#10454 HELP- C7- South Africa

Posted by Shuggy on 02 December 2004 - 09:36 AM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(nina @ Dec 1 2004, 11:26 PM)
QUOTE(Shuggy @ Nov 29 2004, 12:59 PM)
QUOTE(nina @ Nov 27 2004, 03:30 PM)
Hi im new to this site, so hey!

I just need a bit of help with Study Theme 7 : South Africa.  I need to know all the changes which have taken place after apartheid.  Does anyone know any useful resources, I do not use a specific textbook or anything in class as it is not available to us.  Can anybody help, please?

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Try this and this. Also, this might be helpful for background. It's also always a good idea to have a look at some newspapers.

Hope that's a wee bit helpful - I don't teach it anymore for precisely the problem you're having; resources aren't as plentiful as in other topics.

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thanks very much. It really helped. If you have any more info on SA then please let me know.

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I found this yeasterday, which you could try - although I haven't looked through it yet.

#10288 Recommended Politics Website

Posted by Shuggy on 01 December 2004 - 01:08 PM in Modern Studies

Just a wee plug for Richard Kimber's Political Science website. It is very well presented and easy to navigate. Much of it won't be salient to modern studies but if you take a look at the topic areas that I've linked here, I'm sure you won't be disappointed...

#10287 Elections And Voters

Posted by Shuggy on 01 December 2004 - 12:05 PM in Modern Studies

Update vis Muslim voters here

#10116 HELP- C7- South Africa

Posted by Shuggy on 29 November 2004 - 11:59 AM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(nina @ Nov 27 2004, 03:30 PM)
Hi im new to this site, so hey!

I just need a bit of help with Study Theme 7 : South Africa.  I need to know all the changes which have taken place after apartheid.  Does anyone know any useful resources, I do not use a specific textbook or anything in class as it is not available to us.  Can anybody help, please?

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Try this and this. Also, this might be helpful for background. It's also always a good idea to have a look at some newspapers.

Hope that's a wee bit helpful - I don't teach it anymore for precisely the problem you're having; resources aren't as plentiful as in other topics.

#9717 DME

Posted by Shuggy on 22 November 2004 - 10:47 AM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(tweetypie2005 @ Nov 19 2004, 05:37 PM)
is it only on healthcare/wealth (healthcare at my school) or is it international realtions and politics as well?

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It's either on health care or income and wealth: most schools and colleges do health care...

#9551 The USA

Posted by Shuggy on 18 November 2004 - 01:28 PM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(natalie1062 @ Oct 11 2004, 07:33 PM)
Has anyone completed the USA topic yet?  We're just about finished it so will be doing the NAB soon, it seems a pretty straightforward topic, just a lot of figures to remember as usual!
Have to say I dont like the essay writing though, it seems worse than English as there is so little time to write everything you intend to.
Whats everyone elses' views on this, anyone having any problems?

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The time is far too short; the actual exam is worse, I'm afraid - I think it works out at about 18mins per answer...

#9548 DME

Posted by Shuggy on 18 November 2004 - 09:24 AM in Modern Studies

You probably shouldn't worry too much if you spend a wee bit more time on the sources. The two advantages of the evaluating questions are: they allow the student to pick up marks (once you've got the hang of them, it's quite easy to get 10 out of ten); and they allow you to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the sources for the report. You'll probably find the time it takes to do them falls with practice...

#9410 China

Posted by Shuggy on 17 November 2004 - 01:29 PM in Modern Studies

Anyone doing China in Higher Modern Studies? If so, check out the excellent Fabian's Hammer. As well as articles highly salient to the "human rights" section of the course, Fabian has an extensive list of links on his side bar, which you might find useful...

#9409 Ethnic Minorities in the USA

Posted by Shuggy on 17 November 2004 - 01:21 PM in Modern Studies

Did a wee break down of some stats, which you can find here. Also, see note on the appointment of Condi Rice as Secretary of State. You might find it useful. Crucial to keep up to date as poss.

#9408 Links for sites

Posted by Shuggy on 17 November 2004 - 01:15 PM in Modern Studies

QUOTE(tweetypie2005 @ Sep 29 2004, 09:52 AM)
Does anyone know of any good modern studies links? I am crashing the course this year, started it a month behind everyone else and am really confused by my teacher!!  blink.gif  Any sites would be welcome.

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I'll plug my own site,Shuggy's Blogspot(someone has to). It's really the links you want to have a look at.

#9153 Smoking

Posted by Shuggy on 11 November 2004 - 12:00 PM in General Chat

People, when asked: "Would you like smoke-free public places" often respond in the affirmative because they assume pubs will continue as they are, only there won't be any smoke.

But the experience of other countries is that it shifts the entire culture of night-life - for the worse.

From all the anecdotes I've heard - and from what I've read - the most common word used to describe smoking-bans in countries that have gone ahead with this is stupid.

Have to say, I'm disappointed in the lack of liberal argument amongst you modern studies students.

#9152 advanced higher

Posted by Shuggy on 11 November 2004 - 11:47 AM in Modern Studies

Keep doing that, sorry...

The crucial thing about the USA being democratic is just the sheer number of posts that are elected compared to Britain for example. Here we have MPs, MSPs, Councillors, and - in some areas - mayors. The US has the President (obviously), Senators, Members of the House of Representatives at the federal level. They also have state level, with governors and state legislators - and they also have the county level.

Unusually, if you're British, it's the elections to posts that we would never consider "democratising": judges, police chiefs, ven dog catchers.

As far as I'm aware, no other country has quite so many elected posts; this is why the US is more democratic - rather than the "checks and balances", which are found in many other countries' constitutions.

I'll get back later if I find any links...