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Who is running this country?

(133 Posts)
MawB Thu 24-Oct-19 07:42:41

If I can remember that far back, I seem to remember one of the objections to being in the EU was of being governed by the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels, or some such phrase.
How do we feel about the “unelected” of the U.K?
I do wonder who is in charge when I read things like this in this morning’s paper
Reports of Dominic Cummings angrily banging his fist on a table during a meeting between the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn surfaced soon after the pair met yesterday in an attempt to reach a compromise over the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB)
It was alleged that when Mr Johnson asked the Opposition leader how long it would take to agree a new timetable – after the programme motion calling for his Brexit deal to be passed in three days was voted down on Tuesday night – an irate Cummings interjected: “No!”

I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who said “Advisers advise, ministers decide” - presumable including Prime Ministers hmm

NfkDumpling Thu 24-Oct-19 07:52:39

The Civil Service run the country. They always have. The Government and Parliament may try to decide which direction we will take and, like the wind on a sailing ship will have a strong influence on it, but the Civil Service actually steers the ship and will tack back to the direction they want us to go in. That’s why I think we will never leave the EU. The Civil Service like it.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 24-Oct-19 07:56:00

Cummings has been chief strategist to Johnson before Johnson became Tory leader.

I. Suspect that Johnson is too disorganised for anything sensible,

Cummings is leaving next week so it will be interesting to see who Johnson appoints then, as he isn’t really up to the job, the same as so many Tory ministers we’ve been saddled with over the last few years.

The list is endless.

It is a burden this country has to bear and is paying the price for

JenniferEccles Thu 24-Oct-19 08:02:29

I fear the answer to the question is that weasel John Bercow.

It is completely shameful how biased he is, and how obviously determined to thwart Brexit at all costs.


Whitewavemark2 Thu 24-Oct-19 08:04:54

cummings is the source of “downing street sources” and the ridiculous lies that people like Kuenssberg are putting out, for example the fake news that Grieves is being investigated for collusion, or that there is going to be legislation past to criminalise those seen as actively disagreeing with government policy etc.

There have been loads of these fake facts put out recently.

The media dutifully prints it without critical comment and those not willing or knowledgable enough to do otherwise lap it up.

Those I know in the civil service and I know quite a few at high level are in despair at the incompetence, the muddle, the lack of foresight etc.

Civil servants do what is required by their ministers. Nothing more or less

Ginny42 Thu 24-Oct-19 08:05:45

They possibly thought they could bulldoze their way through this impasse before Cummings leaves. Who will Johnson lean on then I wonder? Perhaps his departure is what the LP are waiting for?

Perhaps history will be kinder about TM's negotiations than anything BJ manages to force through on behalf of his wealthy mates.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 24-Oct-19 08:06:47


He is there only to ensure the executive and parliament don’t run amuck with the Erskine May rule book.

His world exists only in the HoC.

Ginny42 Thu 24-Oct-19 08:16:05

Bercow is playing a blinder IMO. Not surprised they don't like him, he's making them play by the rules.

DoraMarr Thu 24-Oct-19 08:30:57

The government of the day runs the UK. The government comprises the Prime Minister and the elected members of Parliament in the lower house, and the upper house. We elect those MPs- those of us who vote- as our representatives, so in effect we run the country. John Bercow, a Conservative MP, has been elected by MPs to be, in effect, chairman of the house. He makes sure MPs abide by the rules of parliament. We have a parliamentary democracy, of which Churchill said: “ has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried from time to time.”

Elegran Thu 24-Oct-19 08:54:12

Bercow is a Parliamentarian. He knows the rules and he makes sure that all members abide by them, from the newly elected MP to the Prime Minister and the cabinet. He is disliked by those who don't like the rules, and would prefer to tear up the rule book and have the country governed by the strongest personality with the fewest inhibiting scruples.

That has been tried before - a king lost his head in the attempt. Ever since then we have been wary of the possibility of it happening again. That is why we have a principle that no-one is above the rule of law.

MawB Thu 24-Oct-19 09:13:27

DoraMarr while I agree with you in principle, where does Dominic Cummings fit into the structure? Who elected him?

Whitewavemark2 Thu 24-Oct-19 09:15:56

Come to that who elected Johnson?

growstuff Thu 24-Oct-19 09:21:56

I've just been teaching about James II and the "Glorious Revolution", which history nerds will know is when the king was deposed and William and Mary were asked to rule the country. Many historians regard it as the time when Britain became a constitutional monarchy with Parliament as sovereign.

James II tried to behave as his father, Charles I, had and ignore Parliament. I can't help seeing some parallels with the PM and his close advisors and government trying to behave like the monarch.

Parliament, elected by the people, rules the country and that's what Bercow has insisted happens. The way Parliament is elected needs to be reviewed (FPTP), but Parliament and the law of the land are still sovereign.

growstuff Thu 24-Oct-19 09:24:24

Nobody elected Cummings and the way the PM has been selected does not represent the people, which is why it's so important that Parliament and the law are upheld. Individuals must not be allowed to wield so much power.

MaizieD Thu 24-Oct-19 09:28:52

The civil service is effectively doing the day to day running of the country, as they have done for the past three years while the supposed 'government' pratts around with trying to get us out of the EU.

During that time it appears that most of the other 'running' has been done by unelected 'advisers', most strikingly during the current administration.

The current WAI bill which Johnson is trying to get through Parliament is an attempt to grab power for the Executive through the use of 'Henry VIII powers' which give Ministers power to change the law without having to go through Parliament. This was a great worry when May's WAI bill was published and is even more so now when we have a maverick PM having his strings pulled by his chief adviser.

As Elegran has noted, we executed a monarch in order to stop a Dictatorship. We appear to have forgotten our history.

MaizieD Thu 24-Oct-19 09:31:33

I would slightly disagree with your reading of the 'Gloriuos Revolution', growstuff, but we don't have a forum to discuss it on grin

growstuff Thu 24-Oct-19 10:10:43

It was a time when the power of the monarch was effectively curbed. I know it didn't result in democracy, as we understand it, but (as you say) that's another thread. My point was that Parliament became sovereign - not the monarch (or PM as it would be now).

MaizieD Thu 24-Oct-19 10:14:57

I wonder what would have happened had James II not been Roman Catholic...

Fiachna50 Thu 24-Oct-19 10:15:59

Civil servants do not run the country. That I know for a fact, though they often get the blame for things that are not of their making. At times they are a very convenient scapegoat for other people's c* ups.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 24-Oct-19 10:20:35



growstuff Thu 24-Oct-19 10:21:02

I agree with you absolutely Fiachna. Civil servants don't make decisions, so don't run the country.

maddyone Thu 24-Oct-19 10:22:36

It would appear that Parliamentarians who wish to remain in the EU and John Bercow are running the country. If they weren’t they would have been unable to stymie Parliament this week.

growstuff Thu 24-Oct-19 10:24:44

It might appear so from the point of view of those who would drive through Brexit an any cost. Fortunately, there are checks and balances in place.

red1 Thu 24-Oct-19 10:25:00

big businesses run the country,the ftse,drug companies,insurance giants, etc.In greed /profit we trust!

MaizieD Thu 24-Oct-19 10:28:05

I said 'day to day running'. Which civil servants do all the time. We've had no proper government for more than three years now. Even Belgium only lasted some 18 months without one..

Though perhaps people are responding to NfkDumpling's post, rather than mine.

I do absolutely understand that civil servants do not make policy decisions. They just draft how these decisions are to be implemented