The English Election System Essay

This essay has a total of 1902 words and 8 pages.

The English Election System

The English Election System


Once the Queen has appointed a person to the office of Prime Minister, he can remain in
office only for so long as he has majority support in the House of Commons. If he is
defeated there, he may resign and leave the Queen looking for a new one. According to law
the period between general elections must never be more than five years. Within these five
years the Prime Minister may choose the date for a general election, this gives him and
his party a great advantage, because then he can choose a time when the opinion is high
for his party.


The Government

A Brittish Government consists of the Prime Minister and other ministers, all of whom are
collectively responsible for every part of the Government's administration. The ministers
are all choosed by the Queen, but they are choosed entirely on the PM's advice. All the
ministers must be members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords, and a
minister may only speak in the house of which he is a member. Some of the ministers and
the offices have special titles such as the "Minister of Agriculture" and as the
"Chancellor of the Exchequer. A politicial assistant to a minister is called, for example,
the "Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture". If the Minister's title is
"Secretary of State" his assistant is called for example, of "Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland".

The Cabinet consists of the heads of the most important Departments together with a few
ministers without departments. The PM decides which ministers will be included, but there
is some, like the Foreign Secretary, whom he could not leave out. The number of members
has varied in peacetime between 15-23. The Government is a wider term including ministers,
ministers of state and junior ministers, plus 4 legal members and about twelve Government
whips.

The PM lives and works at No. 10 Downing Street. This is a pretty large house in a small
street off Whitehall, where many of the departments have their offices, a very short
distance from the Houses of Parliament. One of the rooms in the PM's house is the
Cabinet-Room. This is where the Cabinet-Members meets usually once a week, but sometimes
more often.

The Cabinet itself is not recognized by any former law and it has no formal powers, but
only real powers. It takes the effective decisions about what is going to be done, but in
many cases the formal order embodying the Cabinet's decision must be made later, either by
a particular minister, or by the Queen in her Privy Council, or when the Cabinet's
decision involves the making of a new law. The Cabinet is technically an informal committe
of Privy Councillors. Whenever a person is made minister of Cabinet rank, he is made a
member of the Council and continues as a member for the rest of his life.

The Privy Council has the formal power to make certain executive orders and proclamations.
In 1968 Mr Wilson set up an inner committee of the seven most important Ministers. The
intention seemed to be that the main part of the work should be done by this committee.
Apart from this, much of its work is done in a number of special commitees, which are
groups of ministers, including some who do not belong to the Cabinet, dealing with
particular sections of policy, like the defence.

The Cabinet and its commitees work in great secrecy. No outside person is allowed to see
any Cabinet papers until they have become only of historical interest. It seems that it is
almost unknown for any decision of the Cabinet to be made by a vote of the ministers, but
whatever decision is made, every office-holder must be prepared to share the
responsibility for it and to defend it outside. If he doesn't or if he isn't prepared to
do this he must resign.

Although each minister only can speak in the House to which they belongs, the Government
is "responsible" only to the House of Commons. Each department has a large staff of
professional civil servants who do most of the work of running the department on the
minister's behalf.

The Civil service is wholly non-politicial.


Politicial Parties
Until about 1920 the two main parties were the Conservatives and the Liberals, but during
the period of politicial confusion that followed the First World War the Labour Party
replaced the Liberals as the second main party. Some people, both in Parliament and
outside, who are really indistinguishable from Conservatives, are called by other
party-labels--Unionist in Scotland, Ulster Unionist, in Northern Ireland until 1973, but
the name "Conservative" can quite properly be used so as to include all these groups. The
Conservatives and their allies are opposed to great changes in society, they uphold
private enterprise and freedom from state control, and they stand for the maintance of
order and authority at home and the protection of the national interest in foreign
relations. The Labour Party believes actively in the pursuit of greater social and
economic equality, and in foreign affairs it is, in sentiment if not in practice, more
"internationalist" than "nationalist".

Quite simply we may say that the Conservatives are the "RIGHT" and the Labour Party the
"LEFT" in politics. Both of the parties are commonly regarded as class parties. It has
been found that about 2/3 of all manual workers tend to vote for the Labour Party, and
that the majority of middle class people vote for the Conservatives and the little group
that can be called upper class is is the support for the Conservatives as high as 80%.
Continues for 4 more pages >>