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Background: what you need to know

These articles, led by the first Labor Party conference chaired by Sir Keir Starmer, are concerned about how far the party has abandoned Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left agenda (2015-2020 leader). Labor’s central problem in opposition today, as under Tony Blair before the 1997 election, was to present him as a credible governing party. It involves proving that it has a responsible approach to economic governance, without abandoning its traditional commitment to social justice.

The articles highlight internal differences between the Corbynite leftists and the centrist pragmatism of the current party leadership. This includes divisions not only over policy but also over party procedures. Starmer’s proposals to change the rules for the election of party leaders were controversial. On the other hand, it seems that divisions over the issue of anti-Semitism, related to the Labor left in recent years, may begin to heal.

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

Labor seeks to bury Corbyn’s legacy with commitment to economic stability

Starmer hit by fresh unrest at Labor conference

Keir Starmer Challenges Critics While Definitely Moving Labor to the Center

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the policies of the Labor Party remain true to the ideas of socialism.

    You need to consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    CLUE: If you are answering the Edexcel question, first explain what you mean by ‘socialism’, and then, with reference to the party’s policy, determine how far it is truly socialist today. Edexcel specifies four policy areas that you need to know: the economy, the welfare state, foreign policy and law and order. AQA does not contain any specific policies, but it is clear that they are all relevant to look at.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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