Core Executive Thesis

Core Executive Thesis-80
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Rejects simplistic notions of Prime Ministerial power in favour of the idea that power is a variable distributed amongst a number of key actors at the heart of government and that power flows variably over time between the PM, the cabinet, cabinet committees, PM Office, Cabinet Office, party and parliament.

The Core Executive is the network of institutions at the centre of British Government including the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet, the Cabinet Office, Cabinet Committees, the Bank of England, the individual Departments of State [among which the Treasury, the Home Office and the Foreign Office are the most significant], senior MPs and even, perhaps the representatives of major insider pressure groups.

This happens because the PM is both head of the civil service and the leader of the largest party in the commons.

Latin for First Amongst Equals suggesting a more or less equitable balance or distribution of the power of the cabinet and the power of the PM.

Ensures the effective development, coordination and implementation of policy.

Blair was criticised heavily for fusing the cabinet office together with the PM’s political office thus (according to critics like Kavanagh) “politicising” the civil service.However it is true also that the power of individual Prime Ministers varies according to political circumstances.Broadly speaking Mrs Thatcher's powers within the political system were relatively limited when she first became PM but increased significantly as she gradually dismissed critical Cabinet Ministers, organised the military recapture of the Falkland Islands and won successive General Elections in 19.However by the late 1980s she was subjected to increasing criticism as a result of here confrontational political style, the disunity within the Conservative Party over Europe, the declining success of her economic policies and the problems associated with the introduction of the Poll Tax all of which contributed to her resignation in 1990.It is here that we might refer to Professor George Jones interesting " elastic band theory of Prime Ministerial Power": a Prime Minister such as Mrs Thatcher may stretch her authority over the Cabinet but eventually the Cabinet may reassert its authority: the elastic band swings back and the PM is gone!Political decision making involves ongoing negotiation among some or all of these groups each of which have powers of different kinds.Although the PM may often appear to be the most significant individual within the Core Executive there will be many times when s/he will have to negotiate a preferred outcome and will certainly not be able to impose it.It is argued that the British PM has become more presidential in the following senses.We might conclude that although here are some convergences in the nature of Prime Ministerial and Presidential roles so that the UK PM could be said to be becoming more "presidential" in the context of the British system of government, the significance of these changes should perhaps not be overstated.It is kept alive by the fact that the prime ministers authority is linked to the backing he or she receives from the ‘big beasts’ of the cabinet, some of whom may enjoy such widespread support within the government and party that they are effectively ‘unsackable’. Devolution, the HRA, the European Union and other developments such as the normalisation of the use of Referenda have limited the role of Cabinet.The Coalition Agreement for Stability and Reform in 2010 was necessitated by the failure of the Conservatives to obtain a majority in the 2010 General Election. He was forced to share power with his Deputy Nick Clegg (who had a veto over Lib dem appointments to the government and cabinet). (Cameron, Clegg, Osborne, Alexander)supports the Prime Minister and ensure the effectives running of government.


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