Tuesday, May 11, 2010

As one loser bows out, another slips in

So Gordon Brown - a man who never led his party to an election victory - stands down as Prime Minister and David Cameron - a man who has never led his party to an election victory - takes up the post.

Another "unelected" Prime Minister is incumbent at 10 Downing Street - do you think the press will give him the same sort of hard time they gave Gordon Brown for being "unelected" and never having won an election?

I don't.

But I will.


Lightf00t said...

I'm sure Guardian will give him a hard time, as will the CIFers.

Stan said...

I thought the Grauniad had come out in support of the Lib Dems - in which case they've got the best they could have realistically hoped for.

If they criticise it now then they're basically saying "we know nothing".

Which, of course, they don't - but they are hardly likely to admit it are they?

Lightf00t said...

Good point Stan! lol

Mind you, The Guardian columnists aren't the most logical of thinkers.

George Monbiot?

Okay, I used an extreme example.

Regardless of whether or not Cameron will be of any use, it's music to my ears to hear that Gorgon has left the building.

Keep up the good work Stan - your posts have been excellent.

Senior said...

All prime ministers are elected by their constituents. None are elected by people in other constituencies.

TheFatBigot said...

As you say, Mr Stan, we do not and cannot elect a Prime Minister directly; in that sense it is meaningless to talk of either an elected or an unelected PM.

But it is fair to describe a party leader who wins a majority as an "elected" PM because all those who voted for candidates of his party knew that a majority of seats would mean he would be PM. If they liked their local candidate and/or the party but loathed the prospective PM they could vote against or abstain. I am sure there was much of this in 1992 when Labour offered Kinnock.

Once someone takes over mid-Parliament he does not have the personal democratic legitimacy his predecessor had. If, like Gordon, he then puts everything in motion for a GE but chickens out he weakens his legitimacy.

Cameron is an elected PM in that he was a party leader at the election. That gives him one strand of legitimacy. His party won more seats than any other. That gives him a second strand. His party won more votes than any other, that gives him a third. He has brokered a deal capable, at least for the moment, of avoiding votes of confidence; that gives him a fourth.

It's not the same as winning a clear majority, but someone will be PM and he has more legitimacy than anyone else.

Stan said...

I'm aware of that, Senior - which is why I put "unelected" in quotes.

I don't agree, FB.

Whatever peoples perceptions of the system (and however wrong those perceptions are), the PM is not elected by the people - he is chosen by MPs. We do not elect MPs - we do not choose the government. All we do is choose our representative in parliament - and nothing else.

Cameron has no more legitimacy as PM than Brown.

However, my point wasn't about "legitimacy" or lack of it - it was about the fact that both Brown and Cameron have become PM without either having won a general election and the suspicion I have that the media will not make half as much fuss about Cameron's "unelected" status as they did over Brown's.