Patronage is an important part of the prime minister's job. The new PM has the constitutional right to choose the members of their cabinet and to make all other ministerial appointments. It is the job of the party whips to recommend any potential talent to the PM. The prime minister can also create peers, appoint staff in Downing and appoint top civil servants as well as chairs of nationalised industries. The PM also has the main responsibility to recommend for knighthoods etc. to the queen.
In the passage it states that Thatcher "held the power of patronage for an unrivalled eleven years" This is until her ministers realised that her popularity was falling and she no longer held authority over her Cabinet. (2) Margaret Thatcher's premiership, though it lasted a long time, was to end unhappily. In passage 1 George Jones argues that Thatcher's "personal authority was ultimately over-stretched to the extent that her cabinet colleagues decided that she had gone too far. She paid the price and was removed from office.
" Thatcher was obviously a very good leader, otherwise she would not still be one of the most talked about personalities of modern British politics. It seems that she became very 'power happy' and took her authority too far. This resulted in her being told not to fight against the ministers and to9 resign as leader. This is when John Major became leader of the Conservatives and won the general election in 1992. For Thatcher to have been removed from her office in this way is certainly some indication that she had gone seriously wrong somewhere along the line.
It was most likely that her policies were just too far to the right. And she had had a very tough term, considering she had taken over from Wilson after the winter of discontent and industrial and economic strife in the 70's. Luckily for Thatcher her strategy managed to get the economy straight, however her attempts to bring in a poll tax and her approach to Privatisation certainly brought her position and her authority under scrutiny. It was Thatcher's taxation policies which the electorate seemed to dislike, even though by '86 inflation was down to 2. 5%.
She cut income tax however VAT and indirect taxes were raised, this resulted in a bigger gap between the high and low earners because a tax like VAT affects those with a lower income much worse than those with a higher income. Under Thatcher unemployment rose from 1. 5 million in '79 to as much as 3. 2 million in '85. These figures were tolerated in the hope some sort of economic efficiency would be reached. The Falklands war seemed to restore some of the popularity, however over the rest of her power she slowly lost her favour among the public and the members of parliament and her own cabinet.
The passages suggest that Thatcher took advantage of her position and though she tried to do what she thought was best, she came across badly to both the public and the media, which is one of the most important tools in politics. (3) Blair has become a definitive leader of the New Labour party. He has united what was for much of the eighties a very divided party, and in the '97 election finally provided a decent opposition for the Conservative party.
Blair's critics say he has become too presidential in his attitude and too concerned with the press' attitude towards him and his party to concentrate on the real issues facing him and his government. His media personnel has almost doubled under the press secretary Alistair Campbell. It has also been noted that Blair has significantly reduced the emphasis on Cabinet meetings. Though each prime minister is obviously individual, none so far have underestimated the importance of the Cabinet meetings.
Tony Blair's meetings occur once a week and are sometimes less than one hour long. More often than not he does not even consult his cabinet on a new issue, he seems to prefer what have become known as 'bilateral' meetings with individual ministers. Mr. Blair, much like Thatcher has disregarded consensus politics, more so in his second term. It now appears that he is adopting a more 'gun-ho' attitude and will go it alone against Iraq whether his party and the electorate support him or not. This is where the idea that Blair was becoming too presidential was invented.
Since becoming prime minister and particularly in his second term, Blair has spent very little time in his own country. His interests have become far too international and the press and the electorate in particular are beginning to feel that he is not concerned with the crisis in his own country and rather more interested in becoming a world power to the same extent as America. He ought to realise that to the British public, home comes first. His relationship with Bush is getting stronger every day, even though bush faces a huge opposition over many of his policies.
Blair's critics also argue that he has delayed various referendums such as the euro as the year 2002 has been particularly patriotic with the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the World cup etc. he knows that the nation would almost certainly vote against it. If the government were to lose a referendum it would be very bad for their image and party morale and parliament would almost certainly take a vote of no confidence. If Blair were to be removed from office, he wouldn't like to go that way. The question asks how Blair has developed the role of prime minister.
In some ways he has diminished it. Those more extreme critics would say he and Cherie had another baby to invoke sympathy from the public, as well as having blind minister, David Blunkett in his cabinet. Blair's policies are supposedly becoming more Thatcherite and in many ways this is indeed the truth. He has dropped his emphasis on party consensus, as Thatcher did, he has a very ambiguous approach to foreign policy and he has almost completely diverted his party to the centre and continued to adopt right win policies.
This is mainly to ensure he gets enough votes. It was really Tony Blair who paved the way for the successful Labour government of today, by simply changing the image of labour, adding the label New to it and create what is now known as the third way. This third way or the centralisation of the labour party has been criticised as ambiguous and incoherent by even Roy Hattersley, former deputy leader of the party.