A Level Politics

Improving your grade

Writing an essay on New Labour

Posted by Matt Walker on November 7, 2009

New or Old Labour The question I set my students yesterday was the typical one which examiners really like – the extent to which New Labour have abandoned their traditional values. This question is a lot more straight forward then many students think.

For your 25 mark essay question, you need to include a brief introduction and conclusion, and then ideally six paragraphs in-between. Remember, you must always look at both sides of the argument. So, you should write 3 paragraphs arguing that New Labour have abandoned traditional values, and 3 paragraphs arguing that they haven’t.

In each paragraph you should focus on a particular policy area, for example the economy or welfare. You will need to outline the traditional value, say what New Labour have done, and  then argue whether or not traditional values have been abandoned.

Some policy areas, such as welfare, will be a combination and can be used on both sides of the argument. If you take this approach, don’t do a Vicki Pollard by saying “Yes but no but” in the same paragraph! Argue a consistent line in one paragraph, then argue the opposite the next half of the essay when you get there.

Here are some useful links to help you with the essay.

What is the Labour Party?

What is Old Labour?

What is New Labour?

Has New Labour abandoned its traditional roots?

The death of New Labour?

How Blair recreated Labour

Who was John Maynard Keynes?


2 Responses to “Writing an essay on New Labour”

  1. lizzie said

    another great article, thanks.

    i was wondering whether you could help me out with the following question

    ‘explain how a separation of powers in Britain might help to check the powers of government’

    im struggling with the concept of a separation of powers?

    thanks, lizzie

  2. Matt Walker said

    Hi Lizzie,

    What textbook are you using? Your starting point is to understand the 3 main branches (or powers) of the state: executive (government), legislature (parliament), and judiciary (law courts). If they are separated, as in the USA, it basically means that no individual can be a member of more than one branch. President Obama, for example, isn’t a member of Congress.

    Britain has a fusion of powers – members of the government are also members of the legislature. This enables the government to basically control Parliament, especially because of First-Past-The-Post. A separation of powers would prevent this. I liken it to the scene in Reservoir Dogs when 3 blokes all point a gun at the next man, in a triangle – if one shoots, he’ll get shot by the guy to his left. So no one shoots. Separation of powers allows the 3 different branches to watch each other, holding the others to account.

    As it is, the government can asily pass any law by using its large majority. Just look at the difficulty Obama is having in passing his health care reforms – rarely would a British government have such problems.

    Hope this helps!

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