Thursday, 14 July 2016

The UK: The politics of kissing about

Kissing hands
The bureaucracy that undergirds the government in the UK is so quite developed that it is possible for a Prime Minister to hand over power to another in a day without creating a power vacuum, we have continuity built into the system because of Her Majesty's Civil Service.
Yesterday afternoon, just two days after it was confirmed that Theresa May would be the only contestant for the leadership of the Conservative and Unionist Party, and being the party of government, consequently the Prime Minister, the First Lord of the Treasury and the Minister for the Civil Service; everything was set to commence a new dispensation of government.
David Cameron went to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to Her Majesty, The Queen, Elizabeth II and The Queen invited Theresa May to form a government. The prospective Prime Minister, when invited thus, is said to have been invited to kiss the hands.
Kissing up
This symbolic gesture includes pledging loyalty and fealty to the sovereign and by terms a requirement to serve in Her Majesty’s government.
The first act of the Prime Minister is to form a cabinet of ministers, the Prime Minister occupies the first Great Office of State and the other offices of The Chancellor of the Exchequer and The Second Lord of the Treasury (Finance Minister), The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and The Secretary of State for the Home Department are appointed by the Prime Minister, along with other members of the cabinet primarily from amongst elected and sitting members of the House of Commons.
Ministers of the Crown can also be appointed from the House of Lords and where civilians (non-members of parliament) are required to be ministers, they are ennobled by appointment to the House of Lords.
Kissing teeth
There is no nomination, vetting and confirmation process as seen in Presidential systems of government, the Prime Minister can appoint and sack ministers at their discretion. Though a gentle let-down would be to ask for the resignation of a minister, if the said minister has lost the confidence of the Prime Minister.
The cabinet posts come at the invitation of the Prime Minister and it can be the opportunity to kiss the butt when asked to serve or to kiss the dust when a promotion or a retention is denied.
Theresa May has made some interesting ministerial appointments, some that have had us kissing the teeth with Boris Johnson becoming the Foreign Secretary, how incredulous. Yet, we could be kissing the lips with Philip Hammond replacing George Osborne as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Kissing dust
Michael Gove has been made to kiss the dust having kissed away opportunity by the way he betrayed Boris Johnson in running for the leadership of the Tory Party, though it goes without saying that Boris Johnson has a way of kissing up and falling upwards when others in the kinds of holes he has dug himself into would have no political mileage left in their careers.
Earlier in the day, we thought we had kissed goodbye the smug Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health, it was a false rumour, he retains the power to deliver the kiss of death to the NHS.
Kissing babies
Whilst we watch how Theresa May charts the course of her leadership, it is unlikely one is eager to kiss the ring with these personalities swanning around Whitehall. There’ll be a lot of kissing going on before the politicians begin to kiss the babies again in 2020.


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