UK citizens, help me out with a few things....
Lancaster, New Hampshire
May 11, 2010 3:12pm CST
First congrats to you on a peaceful election and to the new Prime Minister. On that note, I need some help understanding exactly what it is I am talking about. Can someone nutshell your election process and why a government had to be "formed"?....I thought you guys already had a government and were just electing new figures in to their respective positions. Do you vote for a party rather than individual parliamentary representatives and prime minister separately? And how does the house of Lord fit in to this, I understand that is not in itself an elected position, am I correct?
11 May 10
You are welcome to that stuffed shirt Cameron. Firstly, we are not a presidential democracy but a representative democracy with one elected house, the House of Commons and another non elected house, the anachronistic House of Lords. Prior to an election, the government is dissolved and sovereignty defaults back nominally to the monarch. This is very important for the following reason. There have been instances in presidential democracies where the president unwilling to accept the will of the people has refused to give up power. Not quite the situation but not to dissimilar events occurred in the last Kenyan elections. Now, at that time there were riots and killings in protest against the corruption of the president. Many people were naturally afraid and some Kenyan friends asked me why Britain would not help them. I had to explain that whilst the president retained sovereign power any action by an outside country would be an act of war. Now consider how different this situation would be in UK. Prior to the election the government is dissolved, sovereignty reverts to the monarch and where the prime minister to attempt to seize power the monarch could lawfully still request assistance from an outside power. This has strayed a bit from your question I know but the point is that the government is the monarchs agent, the prime minister the minister of the monarch and holds power in their name. In the election people in a constituency vote to elect their member of parliament, that is a member of the House of Commons to represent them. The candidates for election will often be of a party or may be independent. Following the election, the existing prime minister has the first right to form a government, regardless of which party has the most members. Though it would b ridiculous for an incumbent PM to attempt to form a government should they not have an outright majority of members. In the normal course of events the leader of the party with an outright majority of members, that is more members than all the over parties put together approaches the monarch seeking permission to form a government. Note the monarchs powers are usually merely nominal but I hope I have made their importance clear above. The leaders of the parties and therefore the PM are elected by members of those parties prior to the general election. A party is elected with a mandate to carry out those legislative actions detailed in its manifesto but not limited to them. When an act is passed by vote in the House of Commons it is passed to the house of Lords for ratification. The House of Lords, composed of what remaining hereditary peers remain, life peers and Bishops of the Church of England, may not veto the bill but they may pass it back to the House of Commons with a view to reconsider it. The House of Commons can then re debate with a view to amending it. All legislation must then be passed by the monarch, though this is really a formality, though an interesting question might arise should a government attempt to enact legislation that removed some of these regulative principles. Should a government attempt legislation of that sort the monarch may be able to dissolve parliament. Hope that sheds some light all the best urban
11 May 10
Incidentally, Labour (slightly socialist party) by convention sit on the left hand side of the House of Commons and the Tories (Probably not as right wing as either of your main parties) sit on the right, hence the terms left and right in politics all the best urban
11 May 10
hey if you like our shiny new prime minister please take him. most of us didn't. especially up here. problem is the main alternative was not much better - hence the resulting mess and awkward alliance. nobody got a majority. we vote for mps in each constituency. number of mps each party gets determines which forms the next government. in this case neither the tories nor labour got enough to form a majority government which is the reason for the hung parliament and then the tory/lib dem alliance. it basically means the people said 'we don't want any of you'. there will probably be another election fairly soon. by the way thanks for the congrats on a peaceful election but wondering why?
• United States
11 May 10
Wait a minute! I thought that the Great Britain had a government too? I thought that the Prime Minister and the House of Lords were part of the government because I am sure that there is more to the British government than the Prime Minister and the House of Lords.