In the UK it is the Sovereign who ultimately decides when governments go & come – you see, it is only the Sovereign who can accept a government’s resignation, and is also the person who appoints the next Prime Minister after a general election. Conventions guide the hand of the Sovereign in such decisions of course – the days are long gone where the Sovereign exercised any personal preferences in such State matters!
The invitation for someone to become PM and form the Government, is dictated by the constraint that the chosen person has to be able to seize the confidence of the House of Commons (but not necessarily the British population!), and so be capable of passing laws and generating & exercising control over national budgets.
The safest and standard rule is to offer the job to the party leader who commands more votes than all the other parties combined (has an overall majority) – but this can depend on how loyal MPs might be to their leader or how ‘split’ a party might be over major issues! The Sovereign’s role in an ‘uncertain’ situation is to show sound knowledge & prudence in selecting a PM who can run a stable Government for a reasonable period of time.
In 1963 a low profile and aristocratic Scottish Earl (Lord Home – subsequently known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home on renouncing his hereditary title) became a surprise (and some said reluctant!) Prime Minister, to the utter bewilderment of many parliamentarians. The conundrum for the Queen had arisen because the former PM Harold Macmillan was too ill to continue, and bitter feuding succession rivalry had broken out in the Conservative party. In the end he served for only 363 days (before he lost a general election) so longevity was not really featured in his appointment was it?
How can the quirkiness of the British constitutional system come to the Country’s rescue? How can the Queen’s prerogative in selecting a Prime Minister be used to salvage our fate after next year’s General election? Well surely a good start would be to ditch the leaders of the two major parties – aren’t both the Conservatives & the Labour more concerned about their vested interests, and squabbling over every single ideological topic, to bother about the general population or focus on running the Country efficiently, or even looking to the long term future of the nation? True or False?
The Queen could do worse than inviting Nigel Farage (UKIP party leader) to Buckingham Palace and challenge him to form the next Government in May 2015, couldn’t she? What could he actually do though? Well, he could head a broad coalition government consisting of all major parties – such things are traditionally a formed by countries during national emergencies, and has included sometimes briefly, quasi-national governments in the UK in wars (and is on record for Canada WW2/ Newfoundland WW1/ Croatia 1991 war/ Greece 1926,1989,2011/ Israel several/ Kenya 2008/ Lebanon standard/ Luxembourg 1961, WW1, WW2/ UK ‘Ministry of all Talents’ 1806, Napoleonic war 1915, WW1, 1922 Lloyd George, 1931 Great Depression – 4 successive governments/ US Lincoln second 2 year term 1865 civil war, & other times they ‘rallied round President’/ Zimbabwe2008).
The problematic issue under the British electoral system is that since the early twentieth century, we have used a ‘first past the post’ principle (while most of the World has abandoned that and moved onto the modern ‘proportional representation’ type voting system), which means that we tend to get one of the two big parties (highly organised) in power – often recently for decades at a time (they are both happy about that process though aren’t they? They both in the current parliament thwarted attempts, by the LibDems, to change that didn’t they?)
Farage is undoubtedly a charismatic character. Perhaps a churchillian type figure swimming against the tide? He leads a party that believes that Britain needs to control its own destiny without being politically law’d by the European Union. The main issue being that the UK citizens have NEVER been consulted, or allowed to agree, to be subjected to laws made in Strasberg (despite a number of promises to the contrary!).
The UKIP party is widely expected to do well in this summer’s elections to the European Parliament – bizarre when you think about the fact that they want us to leave the EU isn’t it? There is no way that the party can win a shed load of seats though in next year’s General Election though, however popular they are by then (they simply lack the established maturity, hard muscle, grassroots organisation, and substantial money you see). On the other hand, if they make a decent show of things (in terms of share of the popular vote rather than MPs elected) they will have a legitimate right to be heard won’t they?
With Farage as PM, we could have Tory & Labour leaders as Deputy PMs, and he would have the balls to kick a mixed cabinet into place and do a proper job running the Country don’t you think? [Cameron, Miliband, and Clegg may well not be the incumbent leaders of their respective parties following the election results!]. Is there a precedent for such an administration and success? Well the Tory Churchill’s war cabinet (1940-45) had a Deputy (Labour Atlee) comprising 16 major departments using 24 senior ministers Conservatives 13, Labour 8, and Nationalists 3 – that seemed to work out quite well didn’t it? (at least we won the war – with the help of the Americans of course!)
[Prime Ministers appointed so far by Queen Elizabeth II:-
Winston Churchill 1951-55
Sir Anthony Eden 1955-57
Harold Macmillan 1957-63
Sir Alec Douglas-Home 1963-64
Harold Wilson 1964-70
Edward Heath 1970-74
Harold Wilson 1974-76
James Callaghan 1976-79
Margaret Thatcher 1979-90
John Major 1990-97
Tony Blair 1997-2007
Gordon Brown 2007-2010
David Cameron 2010- 2014/15?]
And Nigel Farage??? from 2015 perhaps?