• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What, if Anything, Does ‘Cabinet Government’ Mean?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What, if Anything, Does 'Cabinet Government' Mean? Britain has a Cabinet Government. The Cabinet performs a number of very important roles that are all significant in the day to day running of the government. The main modern function of the Cabinet is to administer and supervise government policy. The Cabinet may have recently devolved the majority of the administrating power to various departments and committees, but their role is to still guide them and oversee networks of ministerial and official committees, and be responsible for their actions. The Cabinet provides political leadership for the party in government, and is the arena in which most important decisions are made. The Cabinet is the body in which many of the most important political decisions are taken, such as the decision to go to war or the decision to increase or reduce expenditure on the NHS, and this role gives them exceptional power. Cabinet government shares authority, with decision-making based upon discussion and compromise. Heywood (1997:402) defines Cabinet government as 'a system of government in which executive power is vested in a cabinet that meets formally and regularly, each member having (in theory) ...read more.

Middle

Burch argues that two fundamental questions have to be asked. 'What is a 'major' policy issue and does the Cabinet have the capacity and competence to act I a collective manner (Burch 1990:103)?' This leads us onto the alternative view. The frequency of Cabinet meetings has declined over the years. Since 1974, the Cabinet meetings have only taken place weekly. Under Blair, this weekly meeting is usually completed in an hour. This is surely not enough time to formulate and agree on major policies. Many of the major policies that do reach the Cabinet are effectively pre-determined by the time they arrive (Burch 1990:104. In the UK, prime ministerial power has subverted the collective nature of UK government. The full Cabinet is merely the focal point in the British cabinet system. Cabinet committees are set up comprising of subject specialists to examine policy proposals in more detail than is possible in weekly Cabinet meetings. This gives strength to the prime minister who appoints the committees. When the proposals are announced in a cabinet meeting, there is often a lack of expertise to challenge them (Heywood 1997:329). ...read more.

Conclusion

The loss of Heseltine, Lawson and Howe led to the vote of no confidence that ended the Thatcher era. The Cabinet in this sense acts as a safeguard from damaging policies. Cabinet government, in theory, places power equally between the ministers. As so often in politics, theory does not always match the practice. Several factors have taken away the political equality of the Cabinet members. It could be said that the current Cabinet is only there to provide support for Tony Blair and it is in fact just the 'Big Four' of Blair, Brown, Prescott and Cook that wield any power. Burch (1990:102) identifies the role of the Cabinet being defined by current circumstances. He says that 'the key point about the machinery of Cabinet government is that it is highly flexible and it can be made to work in a variety of ways in accordance with the approach of this or that Prime Minister, the complexion of government that he or she leads, the nature of policy issues under consideration and the political circumstances at the time'. The shift away form Cabinet government suggest that there is not just one power centrw but a number of them (Burch 1990:108). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. To what extent does ministerial responsibility ensure accountability to the government?

    actions of his subordinates but they cannot name the official or officials who may have cause a mistake. In reality a minister cannot be held totally accountable for the actions of their departments. With the trend of downsizing the cabinet in recent governments, and cabinet shuffles the norm, there is

  2. The position of the New Labour government with Tony Blair ahead of that government.

    With stability, over time, has to come real improvements in productivity and investment from business itself" (www.pmo.gov.uk, May 4, 2004). Moving on, the New Labour ran a budget surplus in early years till 2001, while Thatcher also had a budget surplus in 1989-90.

  1. Why has the Blair Government moved towards a more rules- based fiscal policy? Explain ...

    and the prioritisation of inflation over unemployment as the primary concern of economic policy."4 Thus the first terms budget was such that they agreed to keep the levels of public expenditure the same as the planned expenditure of the Conservative government.

  2. What is meant by the term 'Cabinet government'? Does Cabinet government still exist in ...

    In doing this it will allow us to examine the essay question in greater detail and so come up with a more thorough answer. Web-based Source www.fda.org.uk/Resource.phx/pubman/templates/18.htx?id=99 Last access: 26/10/05 Article written: May 2005 This source was published just days after Labour won a third term in Government and outlines John Baume's (general secretary of FDA)

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli. His views revolved around the ideas that one must do anything ...

    Apart from negating the ideal, Machiavelli also disregarded the divine, concerning himself with the mundane yet real world. For him all punishment and reward were in this world, and revolved around money and possession of power. Also, Machiavelli believed in writing about reality, the here and now, as opposed to the imaginary ideal.

  2. Explain and evaluate Locke's theory of government

    If the government does something against the law or doesn't abide by them then the people have the right to terminate the contract with the government, and using the right to self-preservation, have even the right to start a rebellion.

  1. Decentralization and development of modern local government systems in Eastern Europe

    Institutions and mechanisms have been established to serve this purpose, including independent auditors commissioned by local governments, debt financing, bankruptcy management, et cetera. The broadening of juridical protection ensures that every activity of government-both state and local-can be appealed in court.

  2. The prime minister n the cabinet

    The prime minister uses more bilateral meetings (informal meetings) so he can pre decide policies and get other members on his side before presenting it to the rest of the members. Margaret Thatcher was described as having presidential powers because she reduced the number, duration of cabinet meetings so as

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work