Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Constitution 101

Newsflash, courtesy of (see blog listing at right):
HOW OUR PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY WORKS: "The House of Commons is an electoral chamber; it is the assembly which chooses our president. Washington and his fellow-politicians contrived an electoral college ... But that college is a sham ... No one knows, or cares to know, who its members are. They never discuss and never deliberate. They were chosen to vote that Mr. Lincoln be President, or that Mr. Breckenridge be President; they do so vote, and they go home. But our House of Commons is a real choosing body; it elects the people it likes. And it dismisses whom it likes too. No matter that a few months since it was chosen to support Lord Aberdeen or Lord Palmerston; upon a sudden occasion it ousts the statesman to whom it at first adhered, and selects an opposite statesman whom it at first rejected ... because the House of Commons has the power of dismissal in addition to the power of election, its relations to the Premier are incessant. They guide him and he leads them. He is to them what they are to the nation. He only goes where he believes they will go after him."
-- WALTER BAGEHOT, The English Constitution, 1867.
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