Future minority governments/coalitions

8 Myths and secret plans: future minority governments/coalitions Before and during a general election campaign there can be no public admission that the [Conservative] Party expects anything less than victory with an overall majority: to give any hint that we had planned for any other contingency would tend to increase the minority parties’ vote. We have thought it prudent, nevertheless, to set down, in case they are ever needed in the aftermath of an election, some considerations first on the constitutional and historical aspects of a hung parliament, secondly

in The British tradition of minority government
Electoral timing

expected of a prime minister, or whether in fact he might not choose to hold an election even at a time which was disadvantageous to Labour. The date was 18 April 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May’s sudden announcement of a snap general election caught most commentators by surprise, the Government having spent the previous ten months repeatedly playing down any talk of an early poll. In spite of the differences in contexts, both events highlight the critical importance of election timing, and the challenges faced by parties in government and opposition, seeking to

in The British tradition of minority government

10 Rewriting political mythology in 2017 I worked in a minority government, I worked in the 1974 to 79 Labour Government, and if you’re in that situation, then you have to compromise not only with your own side, but also with the other side as well, that’s just the way the alchemy and the chemistry of Parliament works.1 This comment in the early hours of election night on 8 June 2017 by Jack Straw (who held a number of senior offices in Labour Governments between 1997 and 2010) epitomises how the experience of the 1970s has been assimilated by subsequent

in The British tradition of minority government
The rise and fall of the Standards Board for England

12 Integrity issues in local government: the rise and fall of the Standards Board for England Introduction Local government is one area of British politics where, rightly or wrongly, there has long been a suspicion that sub-standard behaviour and perhaps even outright corruption was common. Since the 1970s, often under the pressure of such scandal or crisis, central government has imposed significant new controls to improve ethics at local level. In this it has paralleled broader patterns of central control over local government in many other ways.1 The process

in The regulation of standards in British public life

Chap 7 28/8/03 1:13 pm Page 155 Governance beyond the centre 7 Even the most authoritarian government would find it difficult to take all decisions at the centre. Leaving aside any considerations of the desirability of decentralising decision-making, it would be impractical for any set of ministers to understand the needs of every area and to involve themselves in the minutiae of detail concerning its public administration. Governments recognise the need to allow some scope for regional or local initiative. Britain has a unitary system in which legal

in Understanding US/UK government and politics
Learning slowly between Sunningdales?

5 British government policy post 1974: learning slowly between Sunningdales? Eamonn O’Kane The collapse of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing Executive in May 1974 represented the failure of the policy that the British government had hoped would restore stability to the region. As Dixon noted, Merlyn Rees had told the House of Commons when the consultative Green Paper was launched in 1972 that, if the plan was rejected, ‘it would mean needing to face up to a complete reappraisal of policy by any British government, because the basis on which that government had

in Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers’ Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland

Chap 12 28/8/03 1:18 pm Page 305 Democracy in theory and practice 12 In recent years, the leaders of many countries have described their systems of government as democratic. The emphasis they place on certain institutions of government and their interpretations of the role of the state and individual in society may vary, but the label carries definite prestige and esteem. Britain and America are usually seen as examples of model Western representative, liberal democracies in which the people choose representatives who govern on their behalf and according to

in Understanding US/UK government and politics

3 Government and politics, 1704–1819 It has been established already that the military conquest of 1704 was followed by failure and frustration. The occupation of Gibraltar in the name of ‘King Charles III’ was not the prelude, as expected, to his triumphant enthronement in Madrid. As a result, and consequent upon partition and the containment of allied troops behind the walls of a fortified town at the south end of an isthmus on the tip of southern Europe, the problem arose as to who would thereafter govern Gibraltar, and how. Those challenging questions were

in Community and identity

Chapter 4 . Allegiance and government, 1643–60 A s we have seen, the 1640s and 1650s saw the state’s appropriation of the physical and symbolic spaces and buildings of Westminster. But Westminster was more than an agglomeration of nationally important edifices. It was one of the most populous towns in the country, but also one of the most idiosyncratic in its institutions and structures of government, with no lord mayor or institutions with overall executive authority or law-making powers. Various institutions played a role in the government of the town, such

in Westminster 1640–60
Abstract only

Chap 4 28/8/03 1:09 pm Page 66 Executives 4 The executive branch literally refers to those persons who are charged with responsibility for the administration of government and the implementation of laws made by the legislature. Technically, it includes the head of state, members of the government and the officials who serve them, as well as the enforcement agencies such as the military and the police. However, more usually the term is used to denote the smaller body of decision-makers which actually takes responsibility for the direction and form of

in Understanding US/UK government and politics