Prime Ministers: The Case for a Revolving Leader
Allen, Tom, New Statesman (1996)
Lord Healey's suggestion, in a TV interview a few days ago, that Tony Blair should step down because "if you stay in the same job too long ... you tend to get too fixed in your manner of dealing with problems" gently echoes Harold Macmillan. He said that "all prime ministers go mad after five or six years".
But wouldn't Gordon Brown--Healey's favoured successor--also develop the "too fixed" attitude, otherwise known as the bunker mentality, after a few years in power? Even in America, where the president is revered as a kind of political pope, they have a two-term limit. The real problem is not Blair--nor such predecessors as Margaret Thatcher who were also accused of becoming "too fixed" in office--but the office of prime minister.
For a better answer, turn to the drab bureaucracy of the EU. What, you may ask, can those gravy-train surfing, red-tape fluttering Eurocrats possibly teach us? But lay down your hackles. There is one thing our democracy would benefit from: the mechanism of a revolving prime ministership. …