Queen Waits for Brown as Gordon Prays for Miracle of Resurrection; OPINION: Secondglance

Article excerpt

Byline: David Williamson

WHEN the Queen's curtains are opened each morning, in all likelihood she looks out to see if a 59-year-old Scotsman is approaching her gates.

Within days, Gordon Brown will have made his trip to the palace. The phoney war of pre-campaign jostling will end and the struggle for power will begin in earnest on doorsteps across the UK. Political tribes will marshall their foot soldiers to battle for no less lofty a goal than taking control of the British Government.

The brutality of UK politics is not quite as gory as the French experiment with the guillotine but the consequences are almost as lethal.

Unlike in the United States, where a defeated president has a few months to vacate the White House and can go on a goodbye tour of world leaders, a defeated BritishPMis instantly turfed out. If he or she lost in his or her constituency they could be out of a job entirely. secondglance David Williamson In further contrast with our neighbours across the Atlantic, we do not have the neat divide between the presidency and congress - if a Prime Minister is ejected from Downing Street it is because his or her party has lost the battle to control the House of Commons.

This imperfect system is not designed to foster continuity, smooth transitions and stability. Instead, it facilitates revolutions without the spilling of blood.

The voting system may be hopelessly non-proportional and the post-devolution constitution is arguably now a mess of loose threads, but politicians can go to the country with a manifesto and then return with a mandate to yank the levers of power. …