The impact of the referendum could change the fundamental structure of our parliamentary democracyby Colin Talbot / January 10, 2019 / Leave a comment
The “three-body problem” is physics is fairly well known. Crudely, in Newtonian
Stripped of inessential factors, the way modern British Government usually works can be seen as being a bit like the three-body problem. Between elections, and in normal times when there is a Parliamentary majority for a single Party, only three institutions really matter: the Executive, Parliament and the political parties.
The way our “parliamentary democracy” emerged was by gradually eroding the powers of the actual Monarch and passing these instead to the Prime Minister (executive). Parliament’s role was to authorise the Government to govern and to scrutinise how they did it—but the balance of power lies with “Her Majesty’s Government.”
The third element of this triangle is the parties, which tie together the other two. The Leader of the Party that “commands the confidence (majority) of the House of Commons” usually becomes the Prime Minister. This effectively neutralises many potential tensions between the House of Commons and the Executive. It’s why it has often been referred to as an “elective dictatorship”—the Government rules OK. Or,…