Politics class: Scotland’s incoming first minister has a daunting in-tray
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AQA Component 188.8.131.52: Political parties: policies of minor parties and their impact on political debates and political agenda
Edexcel Component 1, Section 2.3: Emerging and minor UK political parties
Background: what you need to know
This article reviews the challenges faced by the newly elected leader of the Scottish National Party, Humza Yousaf, as he takes up his post as Scotland’s first minister. He has to contend with a divided party whose members were quite evenly split between him and the runner-up, Kate Forbes, and their contrasting philosophies. He also leads a nation divided on the SNP’s central policy of winning independence.
Yousaf’s predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, had spoken of treating the next general election as a referendum on the issue but he seems likely to follow a more gradualist path of winning over the voters. The article raises important questions about the ability of the SNP to remain an effective political force.
Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
‘The UK political system is dominated by the two major parties.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1
Evaluate the view that minor parties lack influence in UK politics. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]
TIP: The UK’s First Past the Post electoral system makes it hard for small parties to gain influence but you should contrast the situation at Westminster with the differing experience of the various nations of the UK, with their more proportional voting systems.
Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School