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I didn't vote for him either...
I wonder sometimes if the British public actually understand the political system that they're a part of, and what it is they actually vote for at each general election.

They seem to be under the delusion that they vote for the prime minister, which is not the case in the slightest. What you vote for is a member of parliament, who will then represent you in the House of Commons. You abdicate your own decision making 'rights', and empower them to act on your behalf.

Prime Ministers are not elected. Prime Ministers are, as far as I recall, appointed by the Queen. She appoints the individual who is most likely to command a majority in the commons, though in order to determine who that would be sometimes it's necessary to have a poll among MPs or party members in order for them to have their say. But that's a courtesy, just to make sure she doesn't pick the wrong one. Ultimately, it's pretty much up to her.

So, for example, if Tony Blair steps down and Gordon Brown takes over, the British public can't claim that they never voted for him. They never voted for Blair either. What they did vote for is a House of Commons that wants Gordon Brown to take over. After all, it's up to the elected MPs to accept him as Prime Minister, and they have the power to kick him out if they actually want to.

So I'm just amused by people who say that he's being 'forced' on them. That's how it works, and how it's always worked. You vote for MPs, and then everything is up to them. To say he has no mandate is wrong - his mandate derives from MPs, whose mandate derives in turn from the public. Seems good enough to me..

As far as I'm concerned, I didn't vote for Gordon Brown, but I did vote for somebody who'd support him, which makes it my fault. Just kidding, I don't vote - it's hard to take an interest in politics and still feel like there's any point to voting. I can't think of a single party that I would actually want in charge.

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And the same applies to John Major when the Conservatives ditched Margaret Thatcher although he did come back to win the election for them next time around (much to everyone's shock)...

Ahhh well at least Brown can't be quite as bad as Blair in terms of his smugness.

While you are correct, the British public also elected a party whose leader claimed he would serve a full term. Couple that with Labour's calls for a general election when Major took over from Thatcher and the transformation is complete.

Agreed, however in this case, the 'Great British Public' elected a party knowing that Gordon Brown was influential in policy, and so to claim "o noes, he will kil us!" is rather amusing, since they endorsed his economic policies in the last election. It's not like he's some sort of nobody come to take the party in a new direction.

As for calls for a snap election, it's basically what desperate parties do when they can't actually compete any other way. I'd sooner let GB demonstrate his policies and how he thinks the country should be run, and elect based on that. Otherwise, with no experience, it just comes down to the charisma of the leader, which is not a good basis for an election.

But surely many people will base their vote on the nominated party candidate. ie if they thought Blair would make a good PM, they voted for Labour.

Seems like a flawed system to me. Perhaps if they either had pms who lasted full terms between elections, or only selected candidates after an election (ie you vote for the party, rather than an individual - ok so that's what you do now pretty much, but still).

I think the problem is most people I've spoken to aren't big Gordon Brown fans, and the whole thing seems a bit skew wiff.

it's a tough one. basically, constitutionally you are correct - we vote for a representative and the the leader of the party who has the majority becomes prime minister, so it matters not (constitutionally) who leads that party.
however, the boy is right. whilst the public was aware of gordon brown's influence, it wasn't a guarantee that he would take over as prime minister, not least when considering that blair promised a full third term. to be frank, our constitution is outdated and doesn't reflect current views on politics. the constituents elect people to represent them in parliament based on the promises made by the leader of that party (which is why it is rare for an independent to be elected). this means that gordon brown must follow labour's manifesto (on the basis of which it was elected) in order to ensure he is acting in accordance with the rules of our "democracy". as blair has already exceeded his powers by going against his mandate (i.e. top-up fees) i don't have much trust in gordon brown or anyone in the labour party to deliver any promises made. the labour party has shown itself to be a bunch of incompetent liars, and that alone ought to be enough to earn an election.
having said that there are distinguishable features between this current situation and that involving thatcher. she was pretty much forced to resign (that or face a vote of no confidence) and therefore it was clear there should have been an election as the country had lost confidence her and the government who went along with her. this time around blair has left before being forced to (and let's face it, it wouldn't have been long before there was a serious revolt against him) and therefore as he was not forced to resign there seems no real political need to call for another election. whilst the local elections were disappointing for labour, they were not the disaster predicted. which is a shame.
because of our somewhat lacking constitution (and don't for a minute think that means i want a codified constitution because for the time being i don't) it seems we must wait until the next election to decide whether or not gordon brown is worthy to be our prime minister. he may surprise us, but somehow i think not. i predict a win for the conservatives and emigration for me.

I'm not sure what the big deal is about Blair not staying on for a full third term - a few months back, the papers were all about trying to get him to set a date for stepping down. One minute public opinion is desperate to get rid of him, the next it's complaining that an alternative is being forced upon the country.. Frankly, the country needs to make up its mind as to what it is they really want - if they want rid of Blair but want to have a say in who replaces him, then they should have acted accordingly at the last general election. It's a bit late for it now..

But I agree with the manifesto point - my view is that he does have a mandate for as long as he doesn't differ from the policies that got the party elected in the first place. Though to be honest, I'm not personally bothered about deviations from the manifesto, so long as they're good changes.. Very selfish of me, I know, trying to subvert majority rule, but still... :o)

I think Gordon Brown's only chance here is to do a good job of being prime minister, in order that he might actually be electable at the next general election. Because if an election was called now, David Cameron would easily win, because he seems 'nice' and young etc... Elections are all about personality these days, rather than policy, and don't even get me started on the fact that most decisions seem to be made by unelected advisors.. That's a crap system, and things like this actually break it quite nicely, because suddenly we're left with a politician, not a presenter. Tony Blair is the Natasha Kaplinsky of the House of Commons :o)

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