Presentation on theme: "THE CABINET IN THE UK & US Comparative Politics"— Presentation transcript:
1THE CABINET IN THE UK & US Comparative Politics What are the main differences between the UK and US?Which is most powerful and which most limited?Do they have much impact on policy or legislation?
2Comparative Politics SIZE: traditionally around 22 Bush had 22 (Pres, VP, 15 heads of department and 5 designated as Cabinet rank)SIZE: traditionally around 23-25Blair had 23 (Ministers plus 3 who attended without full Cabinet rank)CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION: The CABINET is a CONVENTION within the British political system. It has become part of British political life but there are is no legal basis to protect itCONSTITUTIONAL POSITION:The CABINET is NOT MENTIOED IN THE US CONSTITUTION.It has been in existence since the first Presidents and has grown more by necessity. To help the President governComparative PoliticsMEETINGS:Regular and weekly (usually 1 hr)Cabinet meetings have been reduced in length recently. However they are still considered a key part of the Political week and a chance to coordinate and agree policy.MEETINGS:Irregular and President dependentThe Cabinet is summoned when it is needed and this may be dependent on the President and their time constraints. Cabinet members usually spend time in Departments
3APPOINTING POWER: The PM has full power to appoint Cabinet members HOWEVER THERE ARE LIMITATIONS They have to be chosen from within the Legislature (HOC/HOL)They will also usually have to be members of the PM’s party.A Coalition can further weaken a PM’s power as they will have to choose some member of their coalition partners in return for continued support. (There are 5 Lib Dem’s in Cameron’s Cabinet examples are Vince Cable & Danny AlexanderAPPOINTING POWER: The President has full power to appoint Cabinet members.They can choose them from a variety of backgrounds unlike the UK.They can choose specialistsThey can also choose people from rival parties ( GW Bush chose Norman Mineta – Democrat- in Transport)HOWEVER HERE TOO THERE ARE LIMITATIONSThe President must make his choices carefully as they have to be CONFIRMED BY THE SENATEComparative PoliticsACCOUNTABLE TO PARLIAMENTThey have to sign the Ministerial code and account for their actions professionally and personallyACCOUNTABLE TO PRESIDENTThe Cabinet is accountable to the President.
4Comparative Politics POWER OF PM OVER CABINET: STRENGTHSThe power to appoint gives the PM considerable power of patronage. Party members will want to be loyal to get into the Cabinet. This helps Party control.WEAKNESSESPrime Ministers have to be careful how they handle their appointments and dismissals.They also have to be careful how they make decisions.Some political heavyweights may cause continued problems on the backbenches ( Blair: Cook and Clare Short) (Thatcher: Howe and Lawson)POWER OF PRESIDENT OVER CABINETThe President is a a separate power to the legislature so has no such political leeway to reward supporters.Serving Congressmen/women cannot serve.The Cabinet is purely there to help run the huge Government departments. It is less political than in the UK.If a President wants something done they will do what they like no matter what the Cabinet advises(Lincoln yays and nays example)Comparative Politics
5Comparative Politics COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILIY COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILIY In the UK Ministers are supposed to sing from the same Hymn sheet and support the Government if in Cabinet. Failure to do so should lead to resignation or sackingCOLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILIYThere is no such thing as Collective responsibility in US cabinet – it is not as politically active in this respectPOLITICAL IMPORTANCE:The Cabinet is a lot more important in the UK than in the US.Its members are generally politically knownReshuffles are watched carefully as a sign of political strength or weaknessEven strong PM’s with good mandates can be brought down from within (Thatcher)POLITICAL IMPORTANCE:The Cabinet is not as well known or as powerful politically in the USIt does have some powerful members such as the Secretary of StateIt is simply an advisory bodyThe President has full control over appointments (Senate limited)As they have no mandate they are not politically powerful as rivalsComparative Politics
6Comparative Politics GENERALIST SPECIALIST CABINET COMMITTEES: The Cabinet has been downgraded under some PM’s notably Blair who favoured smaller Cabinet committees (Kitchen Cabinets)This was seen as being PresidentialEXOP:The EXOP has been considered the main Presidential policy advisorThese are politically loyal and contains his main key staff members who advise him on a day to day basisComparative Politics