A Sequel to Richi Sunak Acting Dictatorially- Part Three

Is Richi Sunak and his government acting almost dictatorially by taking advantage of the Conservative’s 68 seat majority in the House of Commons. (Down from the landslide result at the last General Election in 2019 of 80 seats.)

Does Charles Bukowski have a valid point?

The monarch’s role is to “encourage, advise, and warn” the ministers whom he has appointed to govern in his name. Those meetings are never recorded and it is taboo for ministers to disclose conversations publicly.

The role of government ministers, who are MPs elected by the voting population, is to carry out the mandate on which they were elected. That is achieved by introducing legislation that can be debated and challenged in both Houses of Parliament, voted on by all members, then submitted to the monarch for approval. By convention, the King always accepts the advice of his ministers and approves the Bills presented to him.

HOW SIR KIER STARMER IS REACTING TO THE GOVERNMENT’S DIFFICULTIES IN PARLIAMENT

Sir Keith Starmer replying to Richi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions. But are his responses strong enough? His deputy, Angela Rayner, on his right in the photo, does not look too impressed.

As leader of His Majesty’s Loyal opposition, it is Sir Kier Starmer’s duty to hold the government to account by criticising constructively and questioning its policies and actions. It is part of the “checks and balances” system in a constitutional monarchy where the monarch reigns but does not rule.

As well as keeping checks on the present government, the party in opposition wants to be elected into power itself. It can do this by tabling a vote of confidence which, if it wins the vote, will result in an election being called and the country deciding which party the voters want in government.

In practice, members in the House of Commons do not have a free vote. The government whips will ensure that their MPs vote to defeat the motion, and the opposition whips will make them vote for it.

As the conservative party has a majority of 68 over all others parties in the Commons, Starmer has virtually no chance of getting Labour into government until a general election is called. The conservatives are unlikely to call an election given their big majority. Under the fixed term parliament act, however, an election would have to be called on 24 January 2025.

Starmer is concentrating on making the Labour party look like a credible party for government. He is courting business leaders and the élite of the financial sector in a bid to get their support, stressing that Labour has changed from an irresponsible tax and spend party of activists and will govern for the benefit of the whole country.

Starmer’s mother was a nurse and his father was a tool maker. He says his family was poor and often electricity and telephone bills remained unpaid. Rayner also comes from working class stock. She left school at 16 without any qualifications and became a care worker. Her mother could neither read nor write. Both Kier Starmer and Angela Rayner regard themselves as being “soft left” of the Labour party and having been influenced by their background of poverty and hardship.

Starmer was made a knight of the realm in 2014 for his services while Director of Public Prosecutions. Although his opponents criticise his performance in the role, his work was respected by many on both sides of the political spectrum. He was invited to dinner by former Conservative prime minister, Teresa May, on his retirement from the DPP post.

Charisma and Style of Government

Starmer comes across as “wooden” when speaking. He is a bland speaker and not a natural orator like Angela Rayner. He does not have the “fighting back” skills of more charismatic politicians. He makes sound points but does not fight his corner when Sunak responds to his questions at Prime Ministers Questions. His responses are always rather “gentlemanly”.

At the World Economic Forum 2023, where he impressed those he spoke to, he was asked if he preferred Davos or Westminster.

Without hesitation Starmer said, “Davos”.

He does not like the sometimes crude cut and thrust of politics.

Angela Rayner, on the other hand, can outmatch her opponents on the front bench when given the opportunity. Under the convention of Cabinet Collective Responsibility, she must publicly support all shadow government decisions made in cabinet, even if she does not privately agree with them.

She can “play” her opponents during Question Time in the House of Commons. She gives as good as she gets. Rayner has a terrier-like attitude of not letting go, pushing government ministers to answer questions fully. She usually succeeds where Starmer will let things go.

THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA

Famous for her forceful interview with Prince Andrew over his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein, Emily Maitliss is a prime example of how journalists can influence politicians and those in public life by asking tough questions in interviews.

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