bilitate the Cabinet in any way from the criticisms we have already levelled at

Bilitate the cabinet in any way from the criticisms

This preview shows page 199 - 202 out of 231 pages.

bilitate the Cabinet in any way from the criticisms we have alreadylevelled at it. As Rhodes has stressed in a later work: ‘At best, it is con-tentious and, at worst, seriously misleading to assert the primacy ofthe Cabinet among organisations and mechanisms at the heart ofthemachine.’2184The Prime Minister and Cabinet
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The core executive: a useful modelAs a working model, the core executive is useful to all students andobservers ofthe British political system as it extends analysis beyondthe axis ofCabinet and Prime Minister and acknowledges the exist-ence ofa larger and less fixed network ofpower relationships thatembraces Westminster, Whitehall and key players outside of thesetwo traditional key areas ofpower and influence. By embracing andengaging with the concept ofa core executive, we allow ourselves adifferent dimension on the traditional triangular debate of primeministerial, presidential and cabinet power.As we have already suggested, the concept ofthe core executivehas been developed by political scientists in response to the endlesslyfrustrating debate on the issue of prime ministerial versus cabinetgovernment. Rather than see the Cabinet and Prime Ministerengaged in a seemingly endless struggle for political supremacy, theidea ofa core executive offers us the idea that, in fact, both institu-tions are embedded in a network ofrelations with other influentialbodies and people. It is the peak, or apex, ofthis power network thatis labelled the ‘core executive’.We have already seen how writers such as Dunleavy and Rhodeshave focused on the notion ofa core executive as a way out oftheimpasse on prime ministerial versus cabinet government. Ignited ini-tially by Bagehot in the 1860s and thereafter stoked occasionally byinfluential works, such as a Richard Crossman’s 1960s introductionto Bagehot, and later works such as the highly influential ‘BritishCabinet’ by John Mackintosh3, the debate has rumbled on in itscurrent form for the best part offifty years. At the centre ofthe coreexecutive model is the belief that that the Prime Minister versusCabinet argument no longer fits the reality ofmodern politics. Thereare two key reasons why this is the case:The focus on Prime Minister and Cabinet is too narrow and there-fore ignores the range ofinstitutions and players within the coreexecutive that have a central role in the policy-making process.The traditional debate is based on a misunderstanding. Pastobservers have misjudged and misinterpreted the connectionsbetween the various actors and institutions within the core executiveThe Core Executive185
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and have therefore failed to recognise that the operation of the coreexecutive is not about the Prime Minister commanding players butabout building alliances, exchanging resources and adapting to pre-vailing circumstances. More recently, Rhodes has argued that thetraditional debate is a product of academic focus on Westminster
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  • Fall '19
  • Separation of Powers, Presidential system, Westminster system, Prime Minister and Cabinet

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