The Politics AssociationThe Politics AssociationAS Government and PoliticsAS Government and PoliticsPowerpoint PresentationPowerpoint PresentationThe Prime Minister
The Prime MinisterThe Prime MinisterMargaret ThatcherConservative1979 - 1990John MajorConservative1990 - 1997Tony BlairLabour1997 - ?Head of theHead of theexecutive branchexecutive branchof theof thegovernment andgovernment andchair ofchair ofthe Cabinetthe Cabinet
The History . . .The History . . .• 1688 – Glorious Revolution.1688 – Glorious Revolution.• 1689 – Parliament passes Bill1689 – Parliament passes Billof Rights to curb powers ofof Rights to curb powers ofmonarch.monarch.• Tax, laws – now neededTax, laws – now neededconsent of Parliament.consent of Parliament.• Monarch remained Head ofMonarch remained Head ofExecutive and appointed aExecutive and appointed aCabinet to run country.Cabinet to run country.• When the monarch stoppedWhen the monarch stoppedattending Cabinet meetings,attending Cabinet meetings,the First Lord of the Treasurythe First Lord of the Treasurytook over.took over.• The First Lord of the TreasuryThe First Lord of the Treasurybecame known as the Primebecame known as the PrimeMinister.Minister.Robert Walpolewas FirstLord of theTreasuryfrom 1721 to 1742.Walpole wasprobably Britain’sfirst Prime Minister.
• Do anything toDo anything todefend the UKdefend the UK• Make treatiesMake treaties• Take and giveTake and giveaway territoryaway territory• Control the armedControl the armedforcesforces• Make use ofMake use ofemergency powersemergency powers• Confiscate /Confiscate /destroy propertydestroy property• Intern non-UKIntern non-UKcitizenscitizens• Control how theControl how thecivil service workscivil service works• Control patronageControl patronageThe PM and the ROYAL PREROGATIVEThe PM and the ROYAL PREROGATIVEAn important aspect ofthe roles/powers of themodern PM.These powers wereoriginally held by themonarch, and formally,they still are.As PM, Tony Blair can –
POWERS of the Prime MinisterPOWERS of the Prime MinisterHead of StateHead of State&&Head of GovernmentHead of Governmentthe difference between thethe difference between thetwo roles istwo roles isnot always clear . . .not always clear . . .Formal PowersMainlyPREROGATIVE POWERSThere is also a distinctionbetween Head of Stateand Head of GovernmentInformal Powers•Chief policy maker.•Chief government spokesperson•Leader of the Parliamentary Party
Head of StateHead of State• Head of armed forces.Head of armed forces.• Negotiate treaties.Negotiate treaties.• Grant honours.Grant honours.• Head of Civil Service.Head of Civil Service.• Appointment of seniorAppointment of seniorjudges, archbishops orjudges, archbishops orbishops of the Churchbishops of the Churchof England.of England.duties that wouldnormallybe carried out by aPresidentin an electivesystem and are thereforeoutside party politics andare conducted for thewhole nation
Head of GovernmentHead of Government•• Appointment ofAppointment ofministersministers•• Dismissal ofDismissal ofministersministers•• Appointment ofAppointment ofheads of publicheads of publicbodiesbodies•• Dissolution ofDissolution ofParliamentParliament•• Chair of CabinetChair of CabinetConcernspartypolitics
‘‘Prime MinisterialPrime MinisterialGovernment’ DebateGovernment’ Debate• Shift from Cabinet to PrimeShift from Cabinet to PrimeMinisterial government.Ministerial government.• Party system centralised underParty system centralised underthe control of the PM.the control of the PM.• PMs more closely involved inPMs more closely involved inforeign and economic affairs.foreign and economic affairs.• Electorate encouraged to identifyElectorate encouraged to identifygovernment policies with partygovernment policies with partyleader.leader.• Downgrading of Cabinet andDowngrading of Cabinet andcommittees.committees.Too much power?Too much power?Is the Prime Minister noweffectively a President?Does the Prime Minister nowhave too much power?
‘‘PM as President’ Debate – FORPM as President’ Debate – FOR• Thatcher as PM – ‘quasi-monarchical’Thatcher as PM – ‘quasi-monarchical’(Johnson).(Johnson).• Thatcher’s as ‘mother of the nation’.Thatcher’s as ‘mother of the nation’.• Reduction of Cabinet meetings.Reduction of Cabinet meetings.• PM as the ‘focal point of the modernPM as the ‘focal point of the modernCabinet’ similar to stature of USCabinet’ similar to stature of USPresident.President.
‘‘PM as President’ Debate – AGAINSTPM as President’ Debate – AGAINST• Practical restrictions on PM’s power toPractical restrictions on PM’s power tohire and fire.hire and fire.• Limits on involvement of PM in initiationLimits on involvement of PM in initiationof policy.of policy.• Limits to the extent that a PM canLimits to the extent that a PM cancontrol all government business.control all government business.• PM’sPM’s cancan be powerful – but need to havebe powerful – but need to havecolleagues all on board. Good examplescolleagues all on board. Good examples– Thatcher’s downfall and Major’s– Thatcher’s downfall and Major’sweakness after 1992.weakness after 1992.
The ‘PM as President’ debate looks mostappealing when used to analyse PM’s withlarge majorities – such as Thatcher and Blair.KEY ARGUMENT . . . KEYARGUMENTfrom ‘TALKING POLITICS’ thejournal of the Politics AssociationM. Foley, in ‘Presidential Politics in Britain’, TalkingPolitics, Vol.6.3, Summer 1994, identifies four keyfeatures of the American presidency that have beenadopted by Prime Ministers in the UK.
Foley’s argumentFoley’s argumentPublic LeadershipPublic Leadership• US Presidents – increased appeals to public over heads of Congress.US Presidents – increased appeals to public over heads of Congress.• UK Prime Ministers – a less strict social order, impact of television as key to politicalUK Prime Ministers – a less strict social order, impact of television as key to politicalcommunication –communication – ‘leader’s relationship with public now central and decisive.’‘leader’s relationship with public now central and decisive.’Spatial LeadershipSpatial Leadership• US Presidents – attempts to distance themselves from presidency when expedient thingUS Presidents – attempts to distance themselves from presidency when expedient thingto do.to do.• UK Prime Ministers – similar ‘distancing’ to give impression of being on the side of theUK Prime Ministers – similar ‘distancing’ to give impression of being on the side of thecitizen: i.e. Major + Citizen’s Charter, Blair’s willingness to disown ‘corrupt’ MPs andcitizen: i.e. Major + Citizen’s Charter, Blair’s willingness to disown ‘corrupt’ MPs andcouncillors prior to any investigation.councillors prior to any investigation.The Personal FactorThe Personal Factor• US President – represents image of party and its programme.US President – represents image of party and its programme.• UK Prime Minister – office now personalised with personality central to public evaluation.UK Prime Minister – office now personalised with personality central to public evaluation.The Cult of the OutsiderThe Cult of the Outsider• US President – Nixon, Reagan, Clinton - positioned as ‘outsiders’ without the vestedUS President – Nixon, Reagan, Clinton - positioned as ‘outsiders’ without the vestedinterests of ‘insiders’.interests of ‘insiders’.• UK Prime Minister – Thatcher, Major, Blair – all have positioned themselves as outsiders,UK Prime Minister – Thatcher, Major, Blair – all have positioned themselves as outsiders,either from Whitehall or their respective parties.either from Whitehall or their respective parties.
Foley’s conclusion . . .UK Premiership has turned into an authentic Britishpresidency – not a version of the US presidency.
Prime Ministerial StylesPrime Ministerial StylesFOURFOUR possible types of Prime Minister – the type reflects theirpossible types of Prime Minister – the type reflects theirambitions and their particular path to power.ambitions and their particular path to power.INNOVATORSINNOVATORS• Wish to achieve some future goal.Wish to achieve some future goal.• Ideologically motivated.Ideologically motivated.• Will risk being unpopular.Will risk being unpopular.• Not all his/her party may agree.Not all his/her party may agree.• Goal / aim – very personal to the innovator.Goal / aim – very personal to the innovator.REFORMERSREFORMERS• Seek power in order to achieve future goal.Seek power in order to achieve future goal.• Ideologically motivated.Ideologically motivated.• Goal formulated with, and agreed by, the party.Goal formulated with, and agreed by, the party.• Goal / aim – not as ‘personal’ as the innovator.Goal / aim – not as ‘personal’ as the innovator.
Prime Ministerial Styles (continued)Prime Ministerial Styles (continued)EGOISTSEGOISTS• Power is sought for its own end.Power is sought for its own end.• Key motivation – self regard,Key motivation – self regard, notnot ideology.ideology.• Act and think in the present, not the future.Act and think in the present, not the future.BALANCERSBALANCERS• Main aim – peace and stability, in country and party.Main aim – peace and stability, in country and party.• Some balancers seek office, some do not.Some balancers seek office, some do not.• Those who don’t – usually ‘compromise’ candidates in leadershipThose who don’t – usually ‘compromise’ candidates in leadershipelections.elections.Key point to remember –Key point to remember – PMs may have more than one style or mayPMs may have more than one style or maychange their style to suit the bigger political picture.change their style to suit the bigger political picture.
Margaret Thatcher’s STYLEMargaret Thatcher’s STYLE• Dominant personality.Dominant personality.• ‘‘Conviction’ politician.Conviction’ politician.• ‘‘Radical vision’.Radical vision’.• Good at leading from the front.Good at leading from the front.• Party had no choice but toParty had no choice but tofollow.follow.• Good at getting her own wayGood at getting her own waywhen popular.when popular.• Innovative policies in face ofInnovative policies in face ofopposition.opposition.• Good at ‘hiding’ – i.e. kept herGood at ‘hiding’ – i.e. kept herdistance from a mess.distance from a mess.
John Major’s STYLEJohn Major’s STYLE• Initial attempt to NOT be Thatcher.Initial attempt to NOT be Thatcher.• Early image of a consensusEarly image of a consensusleader.leader.• 1992 Election – contrast with1992 Election – contrast withThatcher.Thatcher.• AfterAfter 1992 – difficult for Major to1992 – difficult for Major tonotnot follow practices/stylesfollow practices/stylesassociated with Thatcher.associated with Thatcher.• Major increased formal linksMajor increased formal linksbetween party management andbetween party management andCabinet.Cabinet.• Continued and developedContinued and developedThatcher’s radical agenda.Thatcher’s radical agenda.
Tony Blair as PRIME MINISTERTony Blair as PRIME MINISTER• Government centralised at Downing Street.Government centralised at Downing Street.• ‘‘Top down’ style, not collegiate.Top down’ style, not collegiate.• Key agents of advice – Cabinet Office, PM’sKey agents of advice – Cabinet Office, PM’sOffice.Office.• ‘‘Unprecedented centralisation.’Unprecedented centralisation.’ PeterPeterHennessy.Hennessy.• 40 Cabinet meetings a year under Major,40 Cabinet meetings a year under Major,fewer under Blair.fewer under Blair.• Blair’s preferred style – one to one meetings.Blair’s preferred style – one to one meetings.• Blair’s emphasised role as governmentBlair’s emphasised role as governmentspokesperson – increase in his personalspokesperson – increase in his personalauthority.authority.• Increased role of a ‘core executive’ andIncreased role of a ‘core executive’ andpersonal advisers displaying intensepersonal advisers displaying intensepersonal loyalty to him.personal loyalty to him.
Tony Blair as PRIME MINISTER (cont)Tony Blair as PRIME MINISTER (cont)• Large Labour majorities since 1997 – strengthenedLarge Labour majorities since 1997 – strengthenedBlair’s control over Parliamentary party andBlair’s control over Parliamentary party andministers.ministers.• Blair has made significant use of committees,Blair has made significant use of committees,ministerial groups and quangos – substantial scopeministerial groups and quangos – substantial scopefor patronage by Prime Minister.for patronage by Prime Minister.• Blair and Thatcher –Blair and Thatcher – separated at birth?separated at birth? SimilaritiesSimilaritiesinclude sense of ‘conviction’ politics and lack ofinclude sense of ‘conviction’ politics and lack ofdistinct ideology. Similarities also in sense ofdistinct ideology. Similarities also in sense of‘charisma’ and ‘strong leadership’.‘charisma’ and ‘strong leadership’.• Differences between Blair and Thatcher – Blair (inDifferences between Blair and Thatcher – Blair (inearly years in power) willing to apologise and willingearly years in power) willing to apologise and willingto experiment with policy making process.to experiment with policy making process.