Prime Minister vs Presidentialism

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  • To what extent are Prime Ministers now Presidents in all but name?
    • Evidence of growing presidential ism:
      • 1. Growth of 'spatial leadership'
        • Tendency of Prime Ministers to distance themselves from their parties + governments by presenting themselves as "outsiders" or developing a personal ideological stance e.g Thatcherism
          • Michael Foley looked at Ronald Reagan to come up with this
      • 2. Tendency towards populist outreach
        • Tendency for PM's to try to 'reach out' directly to the public by claiming to articulate their deepest hopes and fears.
          • Growing tendency for PM to speak on whole of the nation over major events, political crises etc. Also reflected in the 'cult of the outsider'
            • This is the attempt by PMs to present themselves as non-establishment figures on the side of the ordinary citizen.
      • 3. Personalized election campaigns
        • Party leaders become 'brand image' by the mass media of their parties and government, so personality and image have become major determinants of political success or failure.
      • 4. Personal Mandates
        • Trend for PM's to claim popular authority of the basis of their electoral success. Have become the ideological consciences of their party of government, their chief source of conviction+policy direction.
      • 6. Strengthened Cabinet Office
        • Size and administrative resources available to Cabinet office have grown.
          • Turning it into a small-scale prime ministers department responsible for coordinating the rest of Whitehall.
    • Limitations
    • Differences
      • 1, PM's work within parliamentary systems of government, or semi-presidential ones.
        • Therefore, they govern in and through the parliament + are not encumbered by a constitutional separation of powers.
      • 4. As PM's are parliamentary officers they are NOT head of state,so  the latter post generally being held by a non-executive president or a constitutional monarch.
  • PM's increasingly rely on hand picked political advisors rather than on cabinets, ministers and senior civil servants.
    • These advisor's have a personal loyalty to the PM rather than to the party.
    • 5. Wider use of special advisors
      • Evidence of growing presidential ism:
        • 1. Growth of 'spatial leadership'
          • Tendency of Prime Ministers to distance themselves from their parties + governments by presenting themselves as "outsiders" or developing a personal ideological stance e.g Thatcherism
            • Michael Foley looked at Ronald Reagan to come up with this
        • 2. Tendency towards populist outreach
          • Tendency for PM's to try to 'reach out' directly to the public by claiming to articulate their deepest hopes and fears.
            • Growing tendency for PM to speak on whole of the nation over major events, political crises etc. Also reflected in the 'cult of the outsider'
              • This is the attempt by PMs to present themselves as non-establishment figures on the side of the ordinary citizen.
        • 3. Personalized election campaigns
          • Party leaders become 'brand image' by the mass media of their parties and government, so personality and image have become major determinants of political success or failure.
        • 4. Personal Mandates
          • Trend for PM's to claim popular authority of the basis of their electoral success. Have become the ideological consciences of their party of government, their chief source of conviction+policy direction.
        • 6. Strengthened Cabinet Office
          • Size and administrative resources available to Cabinet office have grown.
            • Turning it into a small-scale prime ministers department responsible for coordinating the rest of Whitehall.
  • the PM resembles the President, but haven't actually become it.
    • They can't as the UK has a system of Parliamentary Government rather than Presidential Government.
      • E.g does not have constitutional separation between legislature and executive.
        • However, PM continues to be appointed as a result of parliamentary elections through the growth of personalized election campaigning, and not by a separate electoral process, which occurs in the USA
    • Limitations
  • 1, PM's work within parliamentary systems of government, or semi-presidential ones.
    • Therefore, they govern in and through the parliament + are not encumbered by a constitutional separation of powers.
  • 2. PM's usually operate within a formal system of cabinet government.
    • Meaning, in theory, executive authority is shared collectively within the cabinet.
    • Differences
      • 4. As PM's are parliamentary officers they are NOT head of state,so  the latter post generally being held by a non-executive president or a constitutional monarch.
  • 3. PM's are invested with more modest constitutional powers than presidents
    • Therefore, they are typically more reliant upon the exercise of informal powers, especially those linked to their role as party leaders.

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