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Public Patronage in Britain - Essay Example

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In modern day Britain, many forms of patronage exist in its institutions. This paper will discuss the political implications and cultural perspectives in appointment of cabinet secretaries and management of political parties…
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Public Patronage in Britain
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Download file to see previous pages The prime minister can create new posts or combine cabinet positions. In Britain, cabinet secretaries are not experts in their field, but are supported by expert advisors.
This model of vesting the powers of hiring and firing of cabinet secretaries on the Prime Minister alone, results into political patronage, where the prime minister can use the opportunity to serve personal or party agendas. The Prime Minister can use this opportunity to appoint friends into the cabinet and at the same time fire opponents who are not supportive of his policies.This kind of patronage has political implications where the ability to dissent is greatly reduced and cabinet secretaries serve with fear of not disappointing the Prime Minister. This will result in appointment of sycophants into the cabinet other than people who can oppose the prime minister on critical issues. Another form of patronage is the ability of the Prime Minister to determine the agendas of cabinet meetings. This opportunity can used to table only agendas that are less controversial while those that are sensitive are handled by the “kitchen cabinet.” The political implication is that the running of the government becomes a one-man affair and this has the consequences of reducing the democratic participation of independent minded members of parliament in running the government.
Another form of modern patronage in Britain is the management of political parties. There exist many political parties in Britain, but Conservative and Labor parties have exercised dominance of British politics. Most political parties are made insignificant due to the existence of “first past the post” electoral system during an election.
Most political parties are made insignificant due to the existence of “first past the post” electoral system during an election. This system allows the dominance one party while the other one is rendered insignificant. The party, which wins an election, can use this chance to exercise patronage by determining all the affairs of the nation while the input of other political parties is ignored. This scenario was witnessed during the dominance of the Conservatives from 1979 to 1997, and the dominance of Labor Party from 1997 to 2009. During these eras, one party dominated parliament while the others remained largely out of the picture. This form of electoral system has the political implication of reducing the country into a one party state although Britain is a multi-party state. The period of one party status can lead to abuse of office by this party because it lacks the checks and balances that are afforded by a parliament that contains representatives of political parties. This is compounded by the powers conferred to the prime minister of appointing the cabinet secretaries, and the country becomes more of an autocracy as witnessed during the reign of Margaret Thatcher, who was famously referred to as the” iron lady” (Savoie 1994, pg 85). The political patronage that results from this system is a threat to democracy, which fosters inclusiveness. Cultural perspectives of appointments cabinet secretaries’ patronage in Britain The UK appointments to civic organization are made by applying either statutory or prerogative authorities almost often wholly at the command of politicians, liable to parliament for their actions. Culturally, patronage destroys the society’s normal existence of hierarchy of power ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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