Taking the Party out of Politics

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The Blunders of Our Governments

Season 2, Ep. 20

BLUNDERS: things which went wrong, which were foreseeable, but which the government did anyway.

A very strong executive (government) makes it possible for policies to get rushed into place, without proper checks or thinking. 

No consensus + No consultation = Ineffective policies

Behavioural causes of BLUNDERS:

  • Ignorance
  • Prejudice
  • Lack of judgement.
  • Lack of appropriate/relevant experience
  • No rewards or sanctions  
  • Over confidence
  • Careless
  • Stubborn
  • Cultural Gap: don't understand voters

Structural causes of BLUNDERS:

  • Poorly designed decision-making processes.
  • Deficit of deliberation – too efficient & decisive; scrutiny disempowered. 
  • Operational disconnect. Professional politicians haven't run anything. No long-term responsibility

Parliament – becomes a bit of an irrelevant spectator.

  • Whips ensure that Parliament is not able to rein in this behaviour.
  • Scrutiny committees are disempowered by party loyalties, and by ministers either pressuring their fellow party members or simply bypassing the scrutiny process – and sometimes parliament itself – altogether.
  • Public accounts committee (actually one of the most useful bits of what Westminster does) only checks on activity after the fact. 

All of that does not add up to a recipe for good government.

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