Greedy Blog

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


UK Election
 
I don't purport to be an expert, but having taken British Politics as my only humanities class in college (and getting the highest grade against students majoring in comparative government), I thought I at least knew the basics.

First, their legislature is not really bicameral. The House of Commons is like the House of Representatives (elected in small districts), but the House of Lords is nothing like the Senate (they don't affect policy).

Second, there is no separation of the executive branch from the legislative branch. The Prime Minister (PM) is not nationally elected, but is chosen by the party in the majority from among their Members of Parliament (MPs). Analogously, that would mean that the Republican members of the House of Representatives, because they are the majority, would choose the President, who would have to have been elected in his home district.
Moreover, the parties can cherry-pick districts for their prospective leaders. Thus, Bush could have run for representative in whatever county Waco is in rather than blue Travis County.

The merits of the US system and the UK system are debatable and beyond the scope of this post.

However, what has really confused me recently is articles like this, which seem to indicate that the PM is nationally elected. My best guess is that a vote for or against an MP is akin to a vote for or against Blair. I've emailed Iain Murray asking for clarification. Maybe I'm completely wrong.

UPDATE: Iain Murray emailed me back and my "best guess" is right.
The party leader now has so much control over the party that a general election is essentially a vote for Prime Minister. There are some districts where local concerns will win out, but most people going to the polls on May 5 will be voting for a canidate simply to support their preferred choice for Prime Minister. That's sad, but it is how the system works today.

Posted by Gel 2:44 PM Post a Comment

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