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The office is what the holder chooses to make of it. Access the accuracy of this statement in relation to the US President and the British Prime Minister.

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Introduction

The office is what the holder chooses to make of it. Access the accuracy of this statement in relation to the US President and the British Prime Minister. This is certainly true of the British example; we only have to look at our present Prime Minister, Blair to see how he has moulded the office to suit himself, and subsequently been dubbed by the press as "President" Blair. However, the American example seems somewhat less malleable as under the US Constitution, many checks and balances are in place to prevent a President becoming too powerful. Is the argument true that Blair's style of government is presidential? There is certainly substantial evidence to warrant such a conclusion. Blair's persona seems to be one that is well above that of the general image and public perception of the Labour party. Blair has an image of being a world statesman perhaps even more so than George Bush. This can be seen after the events of September 11th as we watched Blair travel the world to discuss its implications with world leaders. This seems odd as should this not have been Bush's job since the attack was on the United States, not the United States, it is also arguable that Blair has been stepping on the toes of Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, in his actions. ...read more.

Middle

Even so the British Prime Minister too is accountable as he comes under scrutiny and has to answer difficult questions from knowledgeable people at Prime Minister's Question Time as well as twice a year in select committees. Cabinet is a very useful example in Blair's use of the Prime Ministerial office. Under his leadership, cabinet meetings have become brief and increasingly infrequent. Blair does not seem to feel the need to consult with cabinet; he appears to do things very much his own way. An example of him doing this is when he went ahead with the building of the Millenium Dome when clearly the majority of cabinet were against this, cabinet is a mere talking shop under Blair. It lacks authority, especially since Blair prefers one on ones, as this way he is less likely to meet opposition, or as mentioned above he increasingly works in small "kitchen cabinets". Dennis Kavanagh feels that Blair simply regards Cabinet as a reporting body, and he finds it difficult to think of any other Prime Minister who has shown so little regard for the Cabinet. One way in making the most of the office, is knowing where and what to delegate. Both Blair and Bush are effective in the delegation of issues, and certain important tasks to competent individuals. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thatcher found it relatively easy to get her reforms to the health service passed, yet Clinton was enable to get through many of the policies he would have liked to have including those relating to the reform of the health service. In order to get votes President's often have to resort to "pork-barreling". It certainly seems to be the case that money talks in American politics. In order to persuade Congressmen to support him, it is often necessary for the President to see that projects in these Congressmen's' states are funded in order to gain their backing in Congress. In conclusion, I feel that perhaps the position of US president might seem the more enviable, I do not feel there is the same room for maneuver within the constraints of the presidential office as there is in that of the British Prime Minister's. The US presidency might carry a greater sense of prestige, but ultimately it comes with a greater deal of constraints. In summary, as Walles as commented: "Whereas a Prime Minister... with the support of party, is ideally placed for authoritative action, a President... often lacking the full support of his party in the legislature... is poorly placed to translate policies into working programmes." So the office may very well be what the holder chooses to make of it, but clearly there is more to be made of the British Prime Minister's office then there is of the US President's. ...read more.

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