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Value of higher education

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GuyBarry
1244976.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:22 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:
PDR wrote:
Who would appoint and hire/fire the cabinet?


Parliament?


How? By a vote of all members, or just the governing party?


The governing party would propose candidates for Cabinet posts to Parliament, and then the whole of Parliament would get to vote on them. I think something like that happens in the Scottish Parliament, though I'm not sure.

Quote:
That would allow a lot of mischief-making by opposition members.


Well yes, but if the governing party has an overall majority, then it ought to get its candidates through. If a substantial faction within the governing party is opposed to a candidate, then they may need to choose a compromise candidate that has the support of opposition parties. It would create a Cabinet that genuinely has the support of Parliament rather than just the governing party.

Quote:
But above all the cabinet must be a management team who can work together and accept shared responsibility for their decisions and actions. A group elected individually by others rather than selected collectively by a leader would be unlikely to function as a team.


The Cabinet is basically a committee. In most organizations run by committee, the ordinary members get to vote for the various committee posts - President, Secretary, Treasurer etc. Those individuals then have to work together, because they all have their own personal mandates.

No one in the Cabinet has their own mandate apart from the Prime Minister. Can you name me any other committee where the chair gets to appoint all the members?

 
GuyBarry
1244978.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:33 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:

Anyone who wants to do a job like that is mad. Seriously. They're not doing it for the money, they're doing it because they've been institutionalized.


They would disagree. These are people with a vision that they want to see achieved. The objective is their passion. The same is true of the top scientists and academics, and the top artists/performers etc. They are committed to their chosen occupation. This doesn't make them mad or even institutionalised - merely people with different drivers to others.



Then they should get out, take a break, have a nice walk by the river and forget about it all. No aim in life is that important.

I was completely obsessed like that once. It drove me to a nervous breakdown. I feel worried by people who are completely driven in that fashion - their perspective on life strikes me as unbalanced. How can you form normal friendships or have a decent family life if you're exclusively committed to your chosen occupation? You need to possess a sense of detachment, and above all have fun.

 
PDR
1245005.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:00 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:

Quote:
That would allow a lot of mischief-making by opposition members.


Well yes, but if the governing party has an overall majority, then it ought to get its candidates through. If a substantial faction within the governing party is opposed to a candidate, then they may need to choose a compromise candidate that has the support of opposition parties. It would create a Cabinet that genuinely has the support of Parliament rather than just the governing party.


Assume governing party has 55% of the seats. If 11% of that party vote against a cabinet candidate along with all the opposition then the candidate is rejected. Assume the government has a more controversial candidate who only has the support of 20% of the governing party - the opposition could all vote for that candidate and they'd be elected.

As I said - scope for mischief.

Quote:
The Cabinet is basically a committee. In most organizations run by committee, the ordinary members get to vote for the various committee posts - President, Secretary, Treasurer etc. Those individuals then have to work together, because they all have their own personal mandates.


This may be true of a trainspotter's club or a football fan-club which doesn't have to actually achieve or deliver anything, but in an organisation with serious responsibilities the leadership team are selected and promoted on the basis of ability and commitment, not just popularity. The process you describe puts Corbyn up as a prospective PM...

Quote:

No one in the Cabinet has their own mandate apart from the Prime Minister. Can you name me any other committee where the chair gets to appoint all the members?


Most companies - the CEO appoints his/her first line, and they appoint their direct reports and so on. There is a difference between clubs and organisations with real responsibilities.

PDR

 
PDR
1245007.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:02 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:

Then they should get out, take a break, have a nice walk by the river and forget about it all. No aim in life is that important.


They would suggest you need to stop all that wool-gathering and do something worthy of your intellect. Neither view is "right", they are just "different".

Diversity is supposed to be a good thing...

PDR

 
franticllama
1245013.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:34 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:

Then they should get out, take a break, have a nice walk by the river and forget about it all. No aim in life is that important.

I was completely obsessed like that once. It drove me to a nervous breakdown. I feel worried by people who are completely driven in that fashion - their perspective on life strikes me as unbalanced. How can you form normal friendships or have a decent family life if you're exclusively committed to your chosen occupation? You need to possess a sense of detachment, and above all have fun.


For some work is fun. I am rather well acquainted with a number of chefs who work the sort of ridiculous hours detailed above. They certainly don't do it for the money or the lifestyle. They do it for the love of cooking. There is some sort of internal need that drives them and being a chef fulfills that need. They love their work and that is why they do it.
Just because you can't conceive of someone enjoying such a lifestyle doesn't make it any less of a way to spend the short amount of time we have on earth.

 
Jenny
1245017.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:49 pm Reply with quote

My first husband was a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. He always regarded himself as extraordinarily lucky to be paid for doing something, and given the facilities to do it with, that he would gladly have done for the love of it.

He didn't do it in the evening and weekend at work, but there were countless bits of paper strewn around the house with chemical structures and calculations on, and he certainly thought about it a lot in his leisure time. It was what he did for fun.

 
GuyBarry
1245085.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:14 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:

Assume governing party has 55% of the seats. If 11% of that party vote against a cabinet candidate along with all the opposition then the candidate is rejected. Assume the government has a more controversial candidate who only has the support of 20% of the governing party - the opposition could all vote for that candidate and they'd be elected.


You seem to be assuming there's no party discipline. I can't imagine a situation in which only 20% of a party's MPs would back their own candidate - nor one where every single member of every opposition party would back the government's candidate. And if such a candidate did exist, then they'd have the support of a majority of MPs and be eminently suitable to be in the Cabinet!

Take the situation we're now in, where the Tories don't have an overall majority, but hold every single Cabinet post. Why does the Prime Minister get to pick the entire Cabinet in such circumstances? How do we know that any individual Cabinet minister has the support of a majority of MPs? The DUP has agreed to support the Government in confidence votes but they have no say in the appointment of Ministers. There may very well be people in the Cabinet at the moment who most MPs don't want. How can that be described as democratic?

Quote:
As I said - scope for mischief.


I call it "democracy".

Quote:
Quote:
The Cabinet is basically a committee. In most organizations run by committee, the ordinary members get to vote for the various committee posts - President, Secretary, Treasurer etc. Those individuals then have to work together, because they all have their own personal mandates.


This may be true of a trainspotter's club or a football fan-club which doesn't have to actually achieve or deliver anything,


What about organizations like trade unions? Don't they "achieve or deliver anything"?

Quote:
but in an organisation with serious responsibilities the leadership team are selected and promoted on the basis of ability and commitment, not just popularity.


One would hope that the two would go together.

Quote:
The process you describe puts Corbyn up as a prospective PM...


Actually Corbyn would almost certainly not be a prospective PM under my proposal, because he was elected by the ordinary members of the party, not by the MPs. If Labour gained a majority at a general election, and the members of the Cabinet (including the PM) were determined by Parliamentary vote, Corbyn probably wouldn't get a look-in. Whether you think this is a good or bad thing depends on your politics, of course.

Quote:
Quote:

No one in the Cabinet has their own mandate apart from the Prime Minister. Can you name me any other committee where the chair gets to appoint all the members?


Most companies - the CEO appoints his/her first line, and they appoint their direct reports and so on. There is a difference between clubs and organisations with real responsibilities.


Don't the shareholders get to vote on the board members then? I know that the CEO is appointed, but that's no different from (say) local authority chief executives, accountable to democratically elected councillors.

 
dr.bob
1245094.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:50 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
The governing party would propose candidates for Cabinet posts to Parliament, and then the whole of Parliament would get to vote on them. I think something like that happens in the Scottish Parliament, though I'm not sure.


It does, but only for the post of First Minister.

After an election, candidates for the post of First Minister are nominated from the amongst the members of the Scottish Parliament. Those candidates are then voted on by the members of the Scottish Parliament and anyone receiving an outright majority is elected to the post.

In theory, any member of the Scottish Parliament could be voted in as First Minister, though in practise it's so far always been the leader of the largest party in the chamber.

Once elected, the First Minister then appoints her own cabinet members.

An interesting side-effect of this process is that a First Minister doesn't stop being First Minister until their replacement is elected by the chamber*. So, if the First Minister loses her seat during the election, she will remain First Minister despite not being an MSP. Indeed, it's conceivable that, if the newly elected chamber couldn't come to an agreement about electing a new First Minister, the non-MSP FM could stay in post for quite a while.



*Unlike in Westminster where, IIUC, the PM resigns her post along with all other MPs before the election is called.

 
GuyBarry
1245106.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:42 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:
The governing party would propose candidates for Cabinet posts to Parliament, and then the whole of Parliament would get to vote on them. I think something like that happens in the Scottish Parliament, though I'm not sure.


It does, but only for the post of First Minister.


Ah, thanks for clearing that up.

Quote:
*Unlike in Westminster where, IIUC, the PM resigns her post along with all other MPs before the election is called.


No, that's not the case. All MPs (including Ministers) stop being MPs as soon as Parliament is dissolved, but Ministers remain in Ministerial office. Theresa May was still Prime Minister during the recent election campaign, and indeed had to act in that capacity in response to the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.

Indeed, the Government remains in office until such time as the PM resigns and the monarch calls for a new PM to form a Government. If the incumbent PM gains a majority at a general election, the PM simply remains in office (although he or she will normally pay a courtesy visit to the Queen). If the main opposition party gains an overall majority, the protocol is for the incumbent PM to concede straight away and the new PM to take over.

But if no party gains a majority at an election, the PM stays on. Gordon Brown stayed on as PM for several days after the 2010 election during negotiations to form a coalition government, but when it became clear that the Tories and Lib Dems could put together a deal he stood down. At the last election, it was initially unclear whether Theresa May would get the backing to command a majority in the House. If she hadn't been able to put together a deal with the DUP, she would still have been in a position as the incumbent PM to propose a Queen's Speech and put it before Parliament - obviously with the possibility that it could be voted down and the risk of a further election.

 
suze
1245109.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:56 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Unlike in Westminster where, IIUC, the PM resigns her post along with all other MPs before the election is called.


In fact she doesn't. The way it works at Westminster is complicated, partly for practical reasons and partly because of the involvement of the Queen.

Once Parliament has been dissolved for a general election, there are no MPs. But the Prime Minister and the other members of the cabinet remain in their positions, just in case there is a national emergency which requires government action which can't wait until after the election. (The Manchester bomb incident this year, for instance.)

After the election, the Queen decides who she will invite to become Prime Minister. It is the convention that she invites the leader of the party which won most seats at the election, but she doesn't actually have to. There would be uproar if the Queen said "Sod this, I'm going to ask Richard Osman to be PM even though he's not an MP or known to have any particular interest in politics", but she could do it if she really wanted. (It is not actually necessary for the PM to be a member of either House of Parliament, and there was a short period in 1963 when he wasn't.)

The person invited to be PM is charged with forming a government which can command a majority in the House of Commons. Part of that process is to appoint the Cabinet, but the person invited does have the right to go back to the Queen and say "Sorry Ma'am, but I can't do it". If that happens, the Queen then sends for someone else - usually but not necessarily the leader of the second largest party.

In theory she could carry on inviting people to form a government ad infinitum, but in practice she would almost certainly dissolve Parliament and call a new election once two people had come back to her saying that they were unable to form a government. (Although you may remember the 541 days that it took to form a government in Belgium after the election of 2010. Eight times the King had the "Sorry, but I can't" response, including once from the man who did in fact form a government at the ninth time of asking.)

 
barbados
1245112.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:07 am Reply with quote

IIRC there was a school of thought when Thatcher started losing her marbles that she could continue as leader of the largest party, but step down as PM. It was a while ago, and I've been to sleep since then but I think the idea was to allow Hurd to pick up the PM role as he was an excellent parliamentarian, but when it came to leading the group he didn't quite cut it.

 
GuyBarry
1245124.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:59 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

In theory she could carry on inviting people to form a government ad infinitum, but in practice she would almost certainly dissolve Parliament and call a new election once two people had come back to her saying that they were unable to form a government.


Sorry, but the Queen no longer has the power to dissolve Parliament at her own discretion (which in practice she only ever exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister). The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 changed all that.

There are now only two ways in which Parliament can be dissolved before the end of its five-year term. The first is that two-thirds of all MPs resolve "that there shall be an early parliamentary general election" - which we saw earlier this year. Theresa May wasn't able to go straight to the Queen and call for a dissolution as earlier PMs have done.

The second is that the House of Commons passes a resolution "that this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government", without passing a subsequent resolution "that this House has confidence in Her Majesty's Government" within fourteen days.

So if the PM tries to form a Government but loses a vote of confidence, then the House has fourteen days to try to put together a new Government that can command a majority. If it fails to do so then Parliament is dissolved and there are fresh elections.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether defeat of a Queen's Speech would be regarded as losing a vote of confidence. The legislation specifies the precise wording of the resolution, so the answer would appear to be no. However, if a Queen's Speech were defeated, I imagine that the Opposition would immediately table a vote of no confidence.

But it's all uncharted territory at the moment.

 
suze
1245126.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:32 am Reply with quote

The mechanism is more complicated than it used to be, but the outcome is probably still the same.

Until such time as someone has been able to form a new government and has kissed hands with the Queen to become Prime Minister, the previous PM still holds that office.

Parliament usually sits for the first time on the Tuesday five days after the election, so that all the MPs can be sworn in and a Speaker can be elected. The Queen's Speech follows the next week.

If it were abundantly clear that no one was able to form a government - as in practice it would be if both the Conservative and Labour leaders had said that they couldn't do it - the Queen's Speech would in effect be blank. All it would say is "My government will call a vote to dissolve Parliament and hold a general election", and the Queen would probably delegate the task of delivering it.

The PM would then propose that vote immediately. Dennis Skinner would be given five minutes to raise an objection, and Ken Clarke would be given two minutes to say "Calm down, old thing. Fancy a pint?". Then the vote would pass since any measure will pass if Conservative and Labour are in agreement, and the Queen would issue the formal proclamation of a dissolution of Parliament and a general election the following day.

 
'yorz
1245128.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:50 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
someone has been able to form a new government and has kissed hands with the Queen

To me, that expression implies that the queen has kissed that someone's hands as well. ;-)

 
suze
1245131.  Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:57 am Reply with quote

In fact, no hands actually get kissed.

See post 708585, which is devoted to the matter.

 

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