Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who runs the country when Cameron is on holiday?

Forgive this apparently trivial question, but it has been troubling His Grace.

Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister.

This morning, Mr Morus informs us that William Hague has taken Lord Mandelson's previous title of 'First Secretary of State'.

For these two titles not to reside with the same person begs the question of who is in charge when David Cameron is on holiday or otherwise indisposed.

There is no doubt that Liberal Democrats will expect their man to be left in sole charge at Number 10: he is, after all, the Deputy Prime Minister. That is, he deputises for the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister is unable to fulfil his duties.

But Conservatives would find this more than a little unpalatable. It would not only provoke even greater fury on the back benches (as if they were not already seething enough). But Conservatives and non-Conservatives the length and breadth of the nation might just wonder how the leader of the party which came third in the General Election ends up running the show.

Yes, we know this is a coalition. And we perfectly understand that a few manifesto pledges had to be traded away in order to arrive at a working partnership.

But the Liberal Democrats are not equal partners in this coalition, though they appear to be behaving as though they are and David Cameron uses an awful lot of flattering rhetoric to maintain that impression.

It even transpires that Mr Hague and Mr Clegg are 'time-sharing' the 3,500-acre Chevening House in Kent: it is to be their official country residence on alternate weekends.

Yet this is traditionally the grace-and-favour home of the Foreign Secretary alone.

It ought to be evident to any fair-minded person that, when David Cameron is away, William Hague ought to be left in charge.

How else can we be sure that a Conservative programme of government (if it be) is sustained?

29 Comments:

Blogger Scrigg said...

Shock Horror, but it wont make a fig of difference. Unless you are determined to make trouble, then that's a different thing altogether.

23 May 2010 at 10:20  
Anonymous photo ex machina said...

Well as you said in your previous post Cranmer, the Conservatives didn't win the election.

Co-operation and teamwork are the ways forward, not sliding back to these silly partisan grumbles - that's the Old Politics dontcha know.

23 May 2010 at 10:23  
Blogger Jack Holroyde said...

Seconded.
Do you expect Clegg to leap into the commons while Cameron's in the US, and try to cut tuition fees?
Or maybe you think that he would, and would be able to command a majority in the house.
Or, heaven forbid, he might get on with the job and do what he & Cameron have promised they will do.

There isn't a 'Conservative programme of government', if I recall.
There is, however, a 32 page document detailing what will happen in a Coalition programme of government.

23 May 2010 at 10:25  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, why do you persist with the mistaken belief that Cameron is a conservative?

23 May 2010 at 10:42  
Anonymous len said...

Cameron has a conservative deputy, Clegg has a liberal deputy,
problem solved!
Simples.

23 May 2010 at 11:58  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Cranmer said...

There is no doubt that Liberal Democrats will expect their man to be left in sole charge at Number 10: he is, after all, the Deputy Prime Minister. That is, he deputises for the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister is unable to fulfil his duties. But Conservatives would find this more than a little unpalatable.

Tough!

The Tories didn’t win the election, this is coalition government.

If they thought they could get an overall majority the Tories would have hung on for a few months and then called another election. For those that can’t stomach compromise there is always UKIP.

23 May 2010 at 11:59  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Sorry to say this but Davis is right in that this is a coalition and therefore one would have thought clegg would be the deputy for when Cameron isn't there (given he is the 'deputy Prime Minister'). Don't like this myself, but that is what call me dave wanted, so that is what we get.

It is also quite funny to see that the coalition cracks are showing and as is typical of this day and age it is about the perks and on which chap is going to get the best of the taxpayer funded mansions? Oh please....

23 May 2010 at 14:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a funny question. Mr Barroso of course. He also runs it when Dave is on this island.

23 May 2010 at 14:38  
Blogger John R said...

"How else can we be sure that a Conservative programme of government (if it be) is sustained?"

CallMeDave is a Conservative but just isnt conservative.

So as we dont have anything even remotely resembling a conservative programme of government, who gives a flying fig?

23 May 2010 at 15:53  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Ah, just one of the myriad questions that will crop-up as the ramifications of this coalition march on a pace.

The easy answer to each and every question, would be the creation of a new, centre-ground party.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that certain people are already considering the feasibilty of such a merger.

After all, those remaining 'Blairites' still in a job, might fancy joining too. What think you?

Please, don't Con-Dem me for a spot of idle speculation!

23 May 2010 at 17:36  
Anonymous Simon Too said...

It seems to me that when prime ministers start going abroad, their administrations are on the slippery path downward.

Let us apply a firm principle of ne exeat regno to H.M.'s Prime Minister. He may only leave the realm to go into exile, forfeiting all position, honour and property.

We have a head of state and she has her foreign secretary - her prime minister should be minding the shop.

That does leave the question of who deputises should the prime minister become indisposed, but surely there has been a solution to that problem from long before any deputy prime ministers or first secretaries of state.

23 May 2010 at 17:39  
Anonymous judith said...

Sorry, but this is typical masculine thinking, as in Tarzan beats chest.

Cameron, Clegg and Hague are co-operating - Cameron will hopefully be taking time out when his new baby is born, Hague will presumably be doing most of the foreign trips in future, Clegg will be taking over when required - and the country will have the opportunity to see whether he cuts the mustard.

And shock, horror, Clegg and Hague get to share Chevening - and only 172 rooms for them both. What's the problem, YG? It seems to make a decent use of resources to me.

I'm getting really tired of this endless whinging, that the Govt has been in place for nearly 3 weeks and it hasn't instantly put in place my particular reform/innovation, stamps foot, sqweems and sqweems. How about being grateful, as I am, that every time there is a mention of 'the Prime Minister' it isn't Gordon Brown they're referring to?

23 May 2010 at 18:50  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"Sorry, but this is typical masculine thinking..."

His Grace apologises.

He will do his uttermost to re-connect with his feminine side as soon as his hormones and state of mind permit.

23 May 2010 at 18:58  
Blogger Livingsword said...

For years now Canada has lived under a minority Conservative government…however it shares no ministerial positions with other parties but simply lives or dies upon votes in the Commons…this means that they work out a collaborative method with the other parties (and there are three of them to work with)…Mr. Cameron should have not knuckled under to the Lib Dems being so entrenched within the government…however the solution is simple…Mr. Cameron is not allowed to go vacation…besides there is too much work to do…

23 May 2010 at 19:37  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Judith....all a tad 'Laura Ashley' this gratitude?

23 May 2010 at 19:42  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Ah well, Your Grace. That Ms. Andry - she's been ignored for so long she'd as soon decap. King Alfred as Holofernes! Surely this can only sharpen the 'sensitivities' of those who adorn the fence of ConDem nation?

btw: does Paternity Leave come into the euro-contract for Prime Ministers and their attachments? May we trust that it was a part of the Manifesto that will be honoured? I mean, just because they've managed to appropriate lots of nice manors and for the children to get accustomed to... And even though there'll be nanny goats there, and things - like chauffeurs and motorcades and helicopters and who wots what in case the kids need a change of scene from the inferiority of these islands -

23 May 2010 at 20:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000826.shtml

23 May 2010 at 20:46  
Anonymous trinityboy said...

Your Grace

The Liberal Democrats have 40% of the votes represented in the Coalition and they are not so far behind the Conservatives as to be treated as minor partners. Smaller, but not lesser, perhaps.

23 May 2010 at 20:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't 'beg the question' at all. Not a mistake I would expect His Grace to make.

23 May 2010 at 21:24  
Anonymous Ginger Reid said...

is Judith one of Cameron's cuties from the A list ?

23 May 2010 at 21:28  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

When Cameron is not playing a lion for zion, Clegg can deputies as their pussy.

Very clean and cut this coalition thing, meow hisst!

As for the claws on those back-benchers, nothing a good manicure won't sort out, failng that a controlled media scandal or two.

23 May 2010 at 21:52  
Blogger Theresa said...

We've run into this one already. When Donald Dewar was absent from Holyrood due to heart surgery, Jim Wallace (another Lib Dem) became acting First Minister. When the Labour MSPs objected, he gave the rather neat reply, 'Deputies deputise.'

I think you're going to have to accept the same with Nick Clegg..

23 May 2010 at 23:16  
Anonymous judith said...

Nope, Judith was not an A-lister, but she was an interviewer for A-listers. She also thinks it was a pity that the excellent initial concept was spoilt by a senior figure who is no longer around.

And so far from being a Laura Ashley cutie, she is a dyed in the wool, traditional, right-wing housewife and granny, who believes that women can't have it all, and that cherishing your family, your friends and your community should be your priorities.

She also thinks that in, of course, the most metaphysical of ways, there can be an overdose of testosterone on this site that occasionally needs a dose of the feminine to calm things down!

24 May 2010 at 09:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose it could make a change from atheism... well, maybe.

24 May 2010 at 10:38  
Blogger Matthew Dear said...

I believe that the First Secretary is eligible for a ministerial salary, if not earning one elsewhere. Deputy Prime Minister is not. Ergo, is Mr Clegg earning the same as a mere backbencher?

24 May 2010 at 12:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheese Eton Surrender Monkey George Osborne is in Europe and run by Europe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzEZIsQiSRc

24 May 2010 at 12:33  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Surely it is time to stop assuming the Prime Minister personally runs the country.
He and the cabinet set out the plans, surely from then on it is the individual ministers' responsibility to carry out their part. Nobody asks who is going to run a public company when the CEO goes on holiday, things just continue as normal under his deputies. All that happens is that no new plans are formulated in his absence, and no-one is out of reach in the modern world if there is a real crisis needing his personal attention.
No wonder our PMs look so haggard after 5 years if they are personally trying to run everything!

24 May 2010 at 13:10  
Anonymous Tony B said...

I think William Hague should be in charge ALL the time, but there you go.

24 May 2010 at 22:33  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Judith at 09.39 - that's me told!

25 May 2010 at 00:45  

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