Friday, June 05, 2009

Have I found the answer the politics?

Well, perhaps not but I do find the idea of a cross-party cabinet interesting - I first came across it in Richard Reeves's CiF blog.
Political decision-making is far too much to do with government and far too little to do with parliament and its associated structures. This is partly because of parliamentarians' adversarial attitude to those sitting on different benches (back v front as well as right v left). It's all party drivel, oops, I mean driven.
But a cross-party cabinet would mean that all those who voted for the party that isn't in power should feel less excluded from government decisions and the elements of cabinet that reflect the views of the opposition party would be able to contribute at an earlier stage, which would hopefully mean a move away from the ridiculous situation we have of shadow ministers objecting to everything that springs forth from the mouths of their illuminated counterparts, even if the government has adopted an opposition policy.
Of course, there would be a danger of the minority represented in a cross-party cabinet just leaking information about revolts, arguments etc., but that could be avoided if the post was at the discretion of the government, or if the shadow cabinet also had a government representative.
Ultimately, I think we need to move away from the three-party structure. All the major parties mean something different at local, national and European levels - they don't exist as monolithic entities now.


Blogger Grill said...

Cross-party cabinets are fairly normal in times of crisis - think Atlee and Churchill in WWII.

Political decision-making is far too much about the balance between the aims of getting re-elected and fighting the budgetary corner of your particular civil service department (to increase your own importance, in the hope of getting promoted). Parliament, and even the cabinet, haven't featured since the late '70s really.

With that in mind, I agree that a cross-party cabinet might just lead to Mugabe-Tsvangerai/ Brown-Blair style-squabbling, leaking and counter-briefing, further undermining trust in politicians, especially as they close in on elections.

I don't agree the chance of remaining in power would stop underhand behaviour, for the same reason Blair never sacked Brown - sacking a coalition partner means a dissolution of the coalition and a collapsed government, which makes you look even weaker, and makes it an unusable power.

Finally, I don't want the horrible chance of the parties learning to love each other, as they're already stuffed with the same primarily self-serving types.

Your anti-majoritarian, power-sharing system tendency says to me that you should be supporting something like a PR electoral system, but you seem to be avoiding that option. Why?

9:42 AM  
Blogger Pudsk said...

Have rapidly gone off the idea of a cross-party cabinet now ...

4:04 AM  
Blogger Grill said...

Yes, now the LDs are in bed with the Tories.

5:35 AM  

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