My newfound respect for the Westminsterian System

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Anthony, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The last election campaign left me with a new found respect for the Westminterian system. That is the system used in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among others. Why?

    1. Choosing party leaders -- leaders of the various parties are choosen sometimes years before the election, and not in teh context of an election campaign. So there is not the pressure of the US presidential primary system.

    2. Sparing leaders -- the leaders of the various political parties stare at each other across the aisle of parliament, sometimes for years. So you have a good idea of where the leaders stand on issues. This is especially the case thanks to "question time" where (at least in the UK) the prime minister is grilled by the members of the opposition. It would be difficult to say come election time you did not know where a party leader stood on an issue, which is a common complaint in the US.

    3. Short election time -- the election is called and over in a month. Not as long as our seemingly forever process. This also deemphasizes the importance of money, as there is no way you could spend $200 M in a month.

    The problem would be that we have a federal system, and the Westminsterian system would seem to keep state politicians out of federal politics. But Australia and Canada are federal systems, and it works for them.
     
  2. Own Goal Hat-Trick

    Jul 28, 1999
    ColoRADo
    this is kinda like the "pro/rel in MLS" idea.

    it works great elsewhere, and frankly, itd be nice to have, but there is no ********ing way that its going to happen. ever.

    we will have a fairly substandard political system, well, probably forever.

    i cant see anything changing. there is too much corruption and money in it for the average joe to do anything, and america is so apathetic, fat, and [blindly] happy, that an upheaval, or any sort of revoloution, be it peacefull protesting (yeah, like thatd work) or violent revolts, is just not feaseable.
     
  3. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, we have a presidential system, and I doubt that would change.

    One change I do propose, and I think has a chance of coming about, is ending the direct election of Senators and going back to the old system of haveing Senators chosen by state legislatures.
     
  4. Metroweenie

    Metroweenie New Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    We would basically get those same benefits by taking power away from the executive and giving it to the legislature.
     
  5. tcmahoney

    tcmahoney New Member

    Feb 14, 1999
    Metronatural
    For anyone who's interested, check out Prime Minister's Questions on C-SPAN.

    One wonders how many American politicians could handle themselves in such a setting as well as Tony Blair and his opponents do.
     
  6. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Its not just that; Blair, whom I actually dislike, also goes unscripted onto morning and evening shows on radio and television fairly regularly and faces questions from callers that certainly are screened by the producers of such shows, but not known to Blair before hand.

    I think that for the most part, if American statespersons practiced and grew up with such a system, they'd do as well (or as poorly, in the case of some MPs) as thier Brit counterparts.

    It's only be in any intial transition to such a system that one might find glaring, obvious differences in skill and topic knowledge.

    It would be a process that would prevent anyone like a GWB from even bothering however, and that can only be a good thing.

    I wonder why folks are so sure that we will have the system presented in front of us, in the form that it's presented, "forever"?
     
  7. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Yet party leaders can stay in charge of a party for as long as they wish to. Very rarely do MP's or party members turf their leaders out. Leadership conventions, riding nominations, and policy conventions can be just as brutal or worse than any US primary.

    I've watching "Question Period" here and it seems more a a political leader love-in than anything close to a real poltical debate in the House of Commons. A poltical leader can change his views at will in a lot of cases.

    Money still drives a campaign in any Westminster-style system. The organization of political parties in these nations are no different from their American counterparts. Elections can also be called at any time in order for the PM to maximize his party's support and limit that of their opponents.

    Yet the way things work in the Westminster system varies from nation to nation. You use Australia and Canada as examples yet neither are compatable with each other.
     

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