Political Tactics

By Michael James; Cyprian Blamires et al. | Go to book overview

first--it is an arrangement which exists only in virtue of its convenience and its utility.+ Whilst the minister possesses the confidence of the majority, he is sure to preserve the right+ of the initiative: when he loses this confidence, he cannot much longer remain minister, but must give place to another.

It may be well here to attempt to dissipate an error which may justly+ be called popular, both on account of the little reflection which it discovers, and the number of those who adopt it. This error consists in concluding, that an assembly like the House of Commons is corrupt, because+ in its ordinary course it is led by the ministers. This pretended proof of the corruption of the assembly, or its subjection, is, on the contrary, a real proof of its liberty and its strength. Why does the minister always take the lead in Parliament? It is because unless he had the power thus to lead, he would no longer be minister. The preservation of his place depends upon the duration of his credit with the legislative assembly. Were we to suppose all the members endowed with the most heroic independence, matters could not be better arranged than they are at present.+


CHAPTER VIII. OF THE DIFFERENT ACTS WHICH ENTER INTO THE FORMATION OF A DECREE.

THOSE who pay only a superficial regard to a political assembly, may think that there is nothing more simple than a motion, a debate, a decree. What is there here which is the object of science or art? The ordinary affairs of life call us all to propose, to deliberate, to decide. There are scarcely any notions more familiar than these.

It is true, it is easy to form a conception of these operations, but it is difficult to describe them. In this respect, it is the same with the actions of the mind as with those of the body. To move the arms, requires but a moment: to explain this movement--to describe the muscles which perform it, requires great anatomical knowledge.

Let us trace the formation of a decree.+--The work which serves as its foundation, is a simple project proposed by an individual; when he presents this project to the assembly according to the prescribed forms, he makes what is called a motion.+

The original+ motion having been made, every posterior motion with regard to it can only have one of two objects--either to amend or to suppress it. There are, therefore, two kinds of secondary motions:--

Emendatory motions. Suppressive motions.

The first include all those which modify the original motion; since all

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