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Prime ministerial power - Pros & Cons
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Prime ministerial power - Pros & Cons

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An excellent overview - with examples of recent Prime Ministers.

An excellent overview - with examples of recent Prime Ministers.


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  • 1. Three Political Truisms All political careers end in failureEnoch Powell It’s the economy, stupidBill Clinton aide Events, dear boy, eventsHarold Macmillan
  • 2. Prime ministerial powers- formal Head of the Executive Chair of the Cabinet Quasi Head of State Commander-in-chief Foreign policy leader Parliamentary leader Dissolution
  • 3. Prime ministerial power- informal Chief policy maker P olitical patronage , (which is the use of state resources to reward individuals for their electoral support) Government spokesperson
  • 4. Limitations on power- formal Parliament Cabinet Party
  • 5. Limitations on power- informal Popular Image Media image Personality Parliamentary majority Party dissent Cabinet dissent Strength of Opposition Stature of predecessor
  • 6. Jim Callaghan Parliamentary majority Party dissent (unions) Media image Wilson’s stature Misuse of dissolution power Legacy of oil price hike
  • 7. Margaret Thatcher Internal dissent Media image Length of tenure External events
  • 8. John Major Stature of predecessor Parliamentary majority Party dissent Cabinet dissent Media image Personality Economic events Strength of Opposition
  • 9. Tony Blair Internal dissent One big event Parliamentary majority Lords and judicial activism
  • 10. Gordon Brown Stature of predecessor Personality Media image Misuse of dissolution Events – in spades Strength of Opposition Parliamentary majority
  • 11. Lessons from PrimeMinisters’ experience - 1 10 years and that’s it Thatcher, Blair, Brown Pareto’s revolving elites (opposing parties rotating  in and out of government offices and squabbling endlessly over policy) Patronage Media
  • 12. Lessons from PrimeMinisters’ experience - 2 External events are increasingly influential It’s not the events, it’s how you are perceived to be handling them
  • 13. Lessons from PrimeMinisters’ experience - 3 It’s not just the economy stupid Major 1992, Major 1997 Brown – memories are short We’re doomed, Cap’n Mainwaring, we’re all doomed.