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Three Political Truisms All political careers end in failure All political careers end in failure Enoch Powell It’s the economy, stupid It’s the economy,

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Presentation on theme: "Three Political Truisms All political careers end in failure All political careers end in failure Enoch Powell It’s the economy, stupid It’s the economy,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Three Political Truisms All political careers end in failure All political careers end in failure Enoch Powell It’s the economy, stupid It’s the economy, stupid Bill Clinton aide Events, dear boy, events Events, dear boy, events Harold Macmillan

2 Prime ministerial powers - formal Head of the Executive Head of the Executive Chair of the Cabinet Chair of the Cabinet Quasi Head of State Quasi Head of State Commander-in-chief Commander-in-chief Foreign policy leader Foreign policy leader Parliamentary leader Parliamentary leader Dissolution Dissolution

3 Prime ministerial power - informal Chief policy maker Chief policy maker Patronage Patronage Government spokesperson Government spokesperson

4 Limitations on power - formal Parliament Parliament Cabinet Cabinet Party Party

5 Limitations on power - informal Popular Image Popular Image Media image Media image Personality Personality Parliamentary majority Parliamentary majority Party dissent Party dissent Cabinet dissent Cabinet dissent Strength of Opposition Strength of Opposition Stature of predecessor Stature of predecessor

6 Jim Callaghan Parliamentary majority Parliamentary majority Party dissent (unions) Party dissent (unions) Media image Media image Wilson’s stature Wilson’s stature Misuse of dissolution power Misuse of dissolution power Legacy of oil price hike Legacy of oil price hike

7 Margaret Thatcher Internal dissent Internal dissent Media image Media image Length of tenure Length of tenure External events External events

8 John Major Stature of predecessor Stature of predecessor Parliamentary majority Parliamentary majority Party dissent Party dissent Cabinet dissent Cabinet dissent Media image Media image Personality Personality Economic events Economic events Strength of Opposition Strength of Opposition

9 Tony Blair Internal dissent Internal dissent One big event One big event Parliamentary majority Parliamentary majority Lords and judicial activism Lords and judicial activism

10 Gordon Brown Stature of predecessor Stature of predecessor Personality Personality Media image Media image Misuse of dissolution Misuse of dissolution Events – in spades Events – in spades Strength of Opposition Strength of Opposition Parliamentary majority Parliamentary majority

11 Lessons from Prime Ministers’ experience years and that’s it 10 years and that’s it Thatcher, Blair, Brown Thatcher, Blair, Brown Pareto’s revolving elites Pareto’s revolving elites Patronage Patronage Media Media

12 Lessons from Prime Ministers’ experience - 2 External events are increasingly influential External events are increasingly influential It’s not the events, it’s how you are perceived to be handling them It’s not the events, it’s how you are perceived to be handling them

13 Lessons from Prime Ministers’ experience - 3 It’s not just the economy stupid It’s not just the economy stupid Major 1992, Major 1997 Major 1992, Major 1997 Brown – memories are short Brown – memories are short We’re doomed, Cap’n Mainwaring, we’re all doomed. We’re doomed, Cap’n Mainwaring, we’re all doomed.


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