...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Friday, January 07, 2005


I've been thinking lately that the US should emulate the UK's politics. It's a tradition in Parliament that the out-of-office party appoints a '"shadow cabinet" of officials who would be serving in the actual positions if their party had won the election for Prime Minister.

If we did this, John Kerry and...what was that guy's name? Oh yeah, John Edwards...they'd be "shadow" President and VP, and presumably would be expected to stay in the public eye, commenting on what they'd be doing if they were in office. Instead of following the American Presidential candidates' tradition...disappearing utterly.

Just a thought.

[Note: Sorry about the wimpy link on "shadow cabinet." I went through one of those Google nightmares trying to find an article on the British tradition, and this was the best I could do with the time I had. I tried "shadow government" first, and believe me, you don't want to go there.]

Update: For a cool posting I couldn't have found on the Net, read Anonymous's comment, here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The British system is a bi-cameral (two-house)system made up of the House of Commons (congress) and the House of Lords (senate). The key difference being that there is no executive branch as in the US. The ruling government is the party that wins the majority of seats in the house. They are all elected MP's (Members of Parliament) from their "riding," as are the losers who automatically make up the Loyal Opposition. The point of the shadow cabinet is therefore to provide an opposition to the sitting government in the House of Commons, to take them to task and hold their feet to the fire on the issues of the day, and secondarily to be prepared to take control if there is a vote of non-confidence in the government or if there is an election. Of course, once elected, the new Prime Minister (also an MP) will appoint a new cabinet which may or may not resemble the shadow cabinet. The fun thing about this system is that the Prime Minister is always held accountable for his actions and must "answer" to the house during question period...a time when any MP may ask a question. That lends itself to some royal squabbles, rabble rousing and general fireworks in the House. That's why when GWB visited Ottawa last month, he DID NOT address the House of Commons. It left him open to criticism. (Reagan was heckled during his speech in the 80's...but handled it with aplomb.) Lesson finito.

P.S. The Canadian system is the same as the British, except that there are at least four parties currently sitting in the Canadian house with two of them being the governing Liberals and the opposing Conservatives. Others include the NDP (new democratic party) and the BLOC (bloc quebecois)...and at least one independent. Also the Canadian house of lords is called "the Senate" whose senators are appointed for life by the PM.

P.S.S. Canadian voters currently have one vote. The winner of the local riding becomes an MP and that is counted nationally as one seat for that party. The PM is the leader of the party with the most seats. Therefore, you're either voting for your MP or for your choice for PM....with the same vote.