Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Two unelected Prime Ministers too many.................

If Brown falls and the Labour Party fixes it for Alan Johnson to be ushered in as the unity candidate without a meaningful challenge-by which I mean someone other than Dr Gibson -what will the public think? Two 'unelected' Prime Ministers in a row chosen without reference to the electorate. I know we are meant to have a parliamentary democracy -but the truth is the only real role of the House of Commons is to be an electoral college to elect a Prime Minister. Frankly they might as well go home after that and not bother with a second home under the existing system.

There was a lot of anger when Brown was elected as many thought he had no mandate. It would be worse still if it happened a second time. When I was listening to Radio 5 in the car this morning there were several folk on a phone in making the same point.How would the public feel if on top of that Mandelson became Foreign Secretary sitting in the House of Lords- unelected and unaccountable?

Back in the 70's I recall a conversation with Michael Stead who floated the idea that at a general Election there should also be a ballot for Prime Minister. I cannot recall the context but it was in the aftermath of the 1974 elections when we were besieged with questions about who we would 'put into power' if we held the balance. There was a feeling that a party stitch up would not be seen as right as the electorate would not have a say.

I recalled that conversation a few weeks back when David Starkey was floating a far more radical plan on the BBC. He was suggesting that we should go for a complete separation of powers like the USA. He advocated giving the House of Commons a much beefed up role with its own civil service properly holding the executive -not drawn from its members-to account. There is much to commend this idea- altho it does sound a bit like an elected Mayor!