Is the Uk Prime Minister Now Effectively a President? Essay

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In his 1993 work The Rise of British Presidency, Michael Foley identified that, particularly since Thatcher, there has been a move among British politicians towards a more American style of leadership and election campaigning. This essay intends to address the ideas surrounding this claim and whether or not the UK really is moving to this system. On the one hand, leaders since the late Margret Thatcher have begun to demonstrate a form of spatial leadership; whereby the leader distances themselves from the party they are supposed to be heading in order to improve their popular appeal. This is highly prevalent in the United States where election battles are fought between the two presidential candidates rather than between the parties resulting in a disconnect between the politician and the party. This was seen in the years that Thatcher ruled over Britain, she capitalised heavily of the fact that she was different to the rest of the conservative party, insofar as she was a woman from a strongly working class background and therefore could bring new insights not yet discovered by the traditional members of the conservative party. She further emphasised the idea that she was a ‘Grocers’ Daughter’ and used analogies of running a grocery or household to both explain the economy and appear more personable to her public. In this vein, despite having no particular mandate to do so, the prime minister often acts as the head of state and reaches out to the public during times of tragedy and crisis, for example, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the WTC in New York triggered immediate response from both Tony Blair and George Bush, on opposite ends of the Atlantic, reaching out with heartfelt appeals to the public. This style of leadership further reinforces the idea that the prime minister is ‘just like you’ a concept that only really became important in Britain after WW2 and the
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