I was having an argument in the pub today with a blogger who’ll remain nameless, but only if he now sends me a grovelling email. He said we should be grateful that Britain doesn’t have a written constitution because if it did the lawyers would be in control. I pointed out that they already are: the Cabinet’s full of them. He said I was exaggerating and that there are only a two or three. By the power of Google I say he’s wrong: 8 out of 23 strikes me as a lawyer-heavy way to run a country.
08Oct06 — 8
Yeahbut yeahbut yeahbut yes, but they’re not hardcore silks are they?
Most of them were using it as a stepping stone. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I do think it’s a shame that more of them aren’t from a strong local government background. In France, you could almost argue that the cabinet picks the PM. Here it’s the other way around, and this explains the highly centralised form that government takes here.
Alright. I admit it. You were at least partly right….
Yeah, the Frogs are practically anarchists, no?
The political centre is stronger in France in some ways, but the political centre isn’t as dominated by a single individual and the power-relations around that individual. Instead, regional power-brokers participate in decision-making. So you get more negotiation around the policies of the political centre.
I’d suspect that this makes for better policies.
But I’m not sure that I want to get into this argument any deeper – I’m already on the back-foot…..
“I do think it’s a shame that more of them aren’t from a strong local government background.” Quite: bring back the Chamberlain family.
And, come to think of it, last night’s Panorama pointed out that Tessa Jowell and her Italophile hubby had strong local government backgrounds. And that Margaret Hodge, doesn’t she know a thing or two about turning a blind eye to child abuse, garnered from her years in Local Government?
I’d not even mention Margaret Hodge or Tessa Jowell in the same breath as Joe Chamberlain. New Labour have lots of other ministers and ex-ministers who were modest contenders in local government. But they owe their position to relatively minor careers in local government followed by a period of arselickery in pursuit of patronage (the career of most successful politicians in the UK, sadly).
I’d suggest that Blunkett, Chamberlain, Morrison (Herbert, not Stirling) are pretty-well the only politicians that gained power in central government (or in their party on it’s way into government) because they were too powerful to ignore. This, I think, illustrates the quality of political centralisation in this country, and I put it to all of pootergeeks readers (with due respect) that this is A BAD THING.
Actually, I thought about this a few years ago and thought of one more person who could rank alongside Blunkett, Morrison and Chamberlain in this respect, but I forget who it was now.
Paulie, it wasn’t Alderman Cunningham, was it?
You mean Junket Jack?
NO NO NO NO NO!