How governments are formed
There are no codified rules in the UK to state how government is formed, in theory it is in the hands of the monarch – up until the 19thCentury this was largely a reality. However the monarch no longer plays any active role in this process. The party that wins a majority of seats in the House of Commons after a general election, its leader will be invited by the monarch to form a government.
* Conservatives were longest party in HoC but failed to win overall majority
* Labour negotiated a coalition with LibDems and later the LibDems negotiated with both main parties for a coalition
* Labour and LibDem did not make an ...view middle of the document...
Therefore minority governments cannot attempt to do anything radical.
* Coalition government – where two or more parties take part. There are two conditions that must be me:
1. Ministerial posts are shared between the coalition parties
2. There needs to be an agreement by all the coalition parties as to which policies can be accepted
There had been no coalition government in the UK from 1945 until 2010 – considered to be unnatural.
Different types of coalition:
* Majority coalition – formed by 2 parties simply to create parliamentary majority.
* Grand coalition – between 2 major parties – formed to create an overwhelming majority.
* Rainbow coalition – between a larger number of parties, often of great varying philosophies. Normally one large party and several smaller ones.
* National coalition – where all parties/selection of parties are invited to participate. Occur at times of national crisis and are designed to create unity.
Cabinet government in the past
Since the 1960s cabinet government has been gradually eroded and replaced by the notion of ‘prime ministerial government’
Cabinet realities that were taken for granted:
* Represented the collective identity of government
* Domestic and foreign policies made within cabinet
* In order for a policy to be official it would need full cabinet approval
* Disputes within government would have been resolved in cabinet
* PM had a higher status than his/her colleagues but was often out voted within the cabinet
Cabinet government – A system of government where the cabinet is the central policy-making body.
Prime Ministerial domination
* 1960s PM became increasingly dominant within government, in the same period the role of media was becoming increasingly important. The media were choosing to centre on the PM alone as the spokesperson for the whole government. This caused the PM to be the presenter and the maker of government policy.
* Thatcher took prime ministerial domination to a new level; after the election following the Falklands War (1982) Thatcher appeared to dominate the whole government machinery. She became to be either feared or respected by her colleagues. She was respected abroad almost as Churchill had been, and the media concentrated all their attention on her. Ultimately her own cabinet removed her in 1990 after her support for the highly unpopular poll tax.
* She was replaced by John Major who brought back cabinet and collective decision-making. However the cabinet proved to be an obstacle in the way of Major’s attempts to improve our democracy.
* Tony Blair 1997-2007 set about restoring personal control. He took prime-ministerial control to new heights. His style of leadership was often described as ‘sofa politics’; a form of practice of settling issues with individual ministers privately and informally. Blair’s style was also described as presidential; he often spoke on behalf of the nation rather...