Originally posted by soulforge
Ok. thatr is sorta what I was thinking. Now, is Labour still for Blair, or do they have another opponent in the wings?
The man most touted as the next Labour Leader (and thereby prime minister, if labour are the majority), is Gordon Brown, the current chancellor of the
exchequer. Pragmatic, keeps in the background, and supports the PM, completely, he's been the man in charge of the economy for the last 6 years...
and has done a pretty decent job of it most agree. He's also pro-Euro, i.e. pro the single currency and central European Bank.. which may turn out
to be his downfall. Certainly a No vote in any future Euro referendum would make his place untenable I would think. Until a referendum takes place
though, Brown is seen by most as the obvious successor.
Other possible labour leaders? Tough one. IMHO ..As much as we knock him, Blair IS a very capable leader, and there aren't many in the labour party
that would effectively be able to challenge him. Jack Straw possibly? He's my local MP as well, and seems very capable. Tarred a little with the
Iraq/WMD brush, but not as badly as Blair, and his diplomatic skills and understanding of the ME situation I think more than compensate for that.
An outside possibility might be Robin Cook. He's currently "in the wilderness" after his objections the war and resignation over the Iraq issue.
His position may become more mainstream, depending on what goes on in the US and the ME..but for now he too is an unlikely candidate.
Other than that, there's no-one really obvious.. one of the reasons his position is still strong, despite his detractors. And of course there's the
timing issue. Brown, Cook, or Straw could mount a leadership challenge tommorow if they wanted, but that would be unwise before the US elections,
since any new leader would be tarred with the same Bush, I mean brush!!
Also, are the Tories for Blair, or do THEY have an opponent ready?
Gosh no!! (to the first part) I think a bit of an explaination of the British Parliamentary system might be required here.
different to what you guys have. (and also different from most other "partiamentary" systems)
The UK system is *loosely* like the congress, the senate, and the executive, all combined into one unit.
Not counting local/town council type votes, we only have one Election, the General Election. about 650 constituencies each elect one MP, or member of
parliament. Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary for example, also happens to be my local MP.
Anyone can run as an MP. Just pick a constituancy (generally a town or area of about 100,000 people), pay your deposit (about 2000 pounds, returnable
if you get over a couple of thousand votes or so), and start campaigning. Generally though candiates are also members of a the Parties, such as
Labour, Tory etc, and they must be selected by the party if they also want the party to support them.
If elected he/she becomes an MP and sits in the Parliament. The party with most MP's (currently Labour) is then designated "Her Majesty's
Government" H.M.G. The leader of that party is then designated the Prime Minister. The prime minister then chooses a Cabinet (equivalent to the
executive branch), from among the elected MP's, and assigns them the relevant roles.. Foreign secretary, Chancellor, Defense minister etc.. This is
very different to the US, where unelected people fulfill these roles.
The party with the second largest number of MP's (currently the Tories) is designated "Her Majesty's Opposition". While they could support
Blair, and often HMO does support HMG in times of war and national crisis, in general they don't (being the opposition!). In fact their role is to
question, oppose, and find the problems with everything the goverment does. The Tory leader is Michael Howard (not to be confused withe Aussie PM),
so he is their current preferred leader.
As for the election... the Prime Minister can call a general election any time within five years of the last one. If one need to remove a PM before
then it can be done by either..
(a) the leading party removing him as their leader, or
(b) the House of Commons voting against him in a "vote of no confinence"
any MP regardless of party can instigate a vote on (b)
So..to answer you question, a general election, which the public votes in, could come anytime before late 2005-2006 (I think, I lose count of the
years). Blair could be challenged and voted out before then though by his own party MP's. Any Prime Minister can be out in a week under the British
system, which certainly keeps them on their toes.. i can tell you!!
I love foreign politics for this reason. So different, but not bad, just different. Listening to parliament is a hoot sometimes....Not like Japanese
Siet, where fistfights commonly break out, but more a civilized raspberry sorta response...lol
Me too, though I have to say your US system baffles me. When you're so used to having everything under one roof as it were,the three branch system
republican system is pretty confusing in itself!
[edit on 4/9/04 by muppet]