Contemporary British Political Themes and Issues: 2015 to 2022

197 TUTOR: Max Stafford (PhD)

A revised version of a successful course, this edition takes a post 2015 focus and explores current themes and issues within the British political landscape. Your tutor will begin by setting British politics within its current Brexit context. The course will then progress to constitutional change, modern leadership and whether Brexit is obscuring other issues. Does Boris Johnson's premiership indicate a step-change in British politics? Who will lead each party in the future? Facilitated by a university tutor with a background as a political aide, this course offers tutor-led lectures but with plenty of interaction and subsequent discussion.

3 PM
PM course

Course Notes


Part 1: Introduction to course & exploration of the constitutional structure of British Politics. Questions to consider include: Where does power lie within our current system? Is the monarchy still relevant to British democracy? Are we living in an age of apathy?

Part 2: Brexit. Questions to include: Will Britain ever be "in” Europe? Where are we at with Brexit? How has the Brexit-era managed to captivate our politics so completely?


Part 1: Elections and Campaigns. Questions to include: Is First-Past-the-Post relevant to modern, multi-party, politics? How have the advent of social media and TV debates changed public engagement? What effect has "referendum politics” had?

Part 2: Parties I: The Conservatives. Questions to include: Is Britain naturally Conservative? Are the Conservatives really just the "English National Party”? Why did the Conservatives win in 2015 but fall back in 2017? Who will the next Conservative leader be?


Part 1: Parties II: Labour. Questions to include: Does the Labour Party have a prolonged identity crisis? Is there a route back to power for the party? Can Labour's "broad church” be kept together? Who will the next Labour leader be?

Part 2: Parties III: The "Others”. Questions to include: Do we now have a multi-party system? Will Britain ever accept a more coalition-based politics?


Part 1: Foreign Policy. Questions to include: Has Britain found a role post-Empire? Is the Special Relationship really special at all? What are the big upcoming challenges?

Part 2: The Prime Minister and Government. Questions to include: Does personality now matter more than policy? Do we have a prime minister or a quasi-president?


Part 1: London and Devolution. Questions to include: Are we too "London-centric”? Is the Northern Powerhouse really that important? Will HS2 give us High-Speed Devolution?

Part 2: Round-up and Final Questions. Questions to include: What are the greatest threats to Britain's democracy? What will be the great reforms of this parliament? Who might win the next election?

Student Equipment

Paper, notepad, pens etc for note-taking (or electronic equivalent)

Any readings of interest that they wish to discuss together

Indicative Bibliography

Bale,The Conservatives since 1945, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Bennet,Six Moments of Crisis: Inside British Foreign Policy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Bogdanor,From New Jerusalem to New Labour: British Prime Ministers from Attlee to Blair, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

Bogdanor:The New British Constitution, (Oxford: Hart Pub, 2012)

Campbell,The Blair Years, (London: Hutchinson, 2007)

Coxall,Contemporary British Politics, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

Denver,Elections and Voters in Britain, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

Dunleavy,Developments in British Politics, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

Drive,Understanding British Party Politics, (Cambridge: Polity, 2011)

Gowland,Britain and European Integration since 1945, (London: Routledge, 2010)

Jones,Politics UK, (Harlow: Pearson Education 2007)

Leach,British Politics, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

McKay, Budge, Newton & Crewe, The New British Politics, (London: Pearson Longman, 2004)

Politics Association, Two Decades in British Politics, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992)

Seldon,Blair, (London: Free, 2005)

Self,British Foreign and Defence Policy Since 1945, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

Thomas,Popular Newspapers, the Labour Party and British Politics, (London: Routledge, 2005)

Wall, A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)

Wright, British Politics: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

BBC News

Hansard Society

The Spectator

New Statesman

Course Tutor

Max Stafford


About Max

Max is a doctoral researcher at Canterbury Christ Church University. Having previously worked for two former cabinet ministers and advised on a range of political campaigns since 2010, he now teaches subjects including British politics, political leadership and international urban developments. He gained his BA in Politics and Global Studies (First Class) in 2013 and his MA in Managing Contemporary Global Issues (Distinction) in 2015. He brings his professional and practical experience to bear in his teaching, seeking to make sessions engaging and informative. He welcomes all to his courses.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM