Why can't we vote for Secretary of States? Watch

JayReg
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Why can the public only vote for a local MP and not for individual Secretary of States as well? The public should be able to vote a labour candidate for Work and Pensions and a Conservative for Health if they so wish surely? It would allow people to represent their views rather than picking a general preference for a particular party even if they dislike their stance on education for example (Mr Gove has received a lot of flak.)

It would raise the chances of MP's with real life experience winning the elections for the individual positions, rather than the prime minister just putting his close friends/supporters in random roles.

All the Secretary of State positions from wiki:

Spoiler:
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Current positions

First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (usually referred to as the Foreign Secretary) (1782; took current name 1968)
Secretary of State for the Home Department (usually referred to as the Home Secretary) (1782)
Secretary of State for Scotland (1707-1746; 1926-present)
Secretary of State for Education (1964, took current name 2010)
Secretary of State for Defence (1964)
Secretary of State for Wales (1964)
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1968 both Minister of Labour and Minister of Social Security elevated to Secretary of State running separate departments; departments merged with current name 2001)
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1972)
Secretary of State for Transport (1976; name not used 1979–1981; subsumed in other Departments 1997–2002)
Secretary of State for Health (1988)
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1992; took current name 1997, adding "Olympics" for 2010–2012)
Secretary of State for International Development (1997)
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2001)
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2006)
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (2007)
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade (2007; took current name 2009)
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (2008)
The honorific title First Secretary of State is awarded occasionally. It has been in existence since 1962 and has been in continuous use since 2009.
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gladders
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Dangerous idea. If SoS A is elected on policy X, and SoS B is elected on policy Y, and those two policies are mutually contradictory (for example, increased expenditure on education vs cutting taxes), which policy wins out?

The majority we elect in Parliament chooses the Prime Minister, as that person knits all the perceived needs of the country into coherent policy. What you propose is ten different contradictory policies.

Also, it won't do jot for allowing more people with real life knowledge into power. They have systems like this for city elections and some state matters in the US, and the incumbents are just as much politicians as the rest of the lot.
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JayReg
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(Original post by gladders)
Dangerous idea. If SoS A is elected on policy X, and SoS B is elected on policy Y, and those two policies are mutually contradictory (for example, increased expenditure on education vs cutting taxes), which policy wins out?

The majority we elect in Parliament chooses the Prime Minister, as that person knits all the perceived needs of the country into coherent policy. What you propose is ten different contradictory policies.

Also, it won't do jot for allowing more people with real life knowledge into power. They have systems like this for city elections and some state matters in the US, and the incumbents are just as much politicians as the rest of the lot.
Perhaps I am mistaken in their roles. The Chancellor of the Exchequer decides on expenditure alone. The others manage change in policy and where the money (given to their department) is allocated.
I'm not saying it will make vast changes to their competency but it might make a difference.
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Quady
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Labour SoS for Work and Pensions
Tory Chancellor

Can you not see how that might be a mess? (ir the Work and Pensions SoS wouldn't get agreement for the money they need to do what they want)

Or UKIP Foriegn Secretary (take us out of Europe), Tory business Secretary (tries to build trade with Europe), Labour Home Secretary (opens boarder), UKIP Trasport Secretary (closes all transport links with Europe)

The offices of state don't work independently of one another...

Thats even without going into the detail of collective responsibility...
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gladders
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(Original post by JayReg)
Perhaps I am mistaken in their roles. The Chancellor of the Exchequer decides on expenditure alone. The others manage change in policy and where the money (given to their department) is allocated.
I'm not saying it will make vast changes to their competency but it might make a difference.
I can quite confidently predict that every winning Chancellor will be the one promising the lowest taxes, and every winning Education Minister will be the one promising the highest expenditure on education. If the Chancellor proposes specifically to save money by slashing the education budget, the Education Minister will have something to say about that.

And Quady's example is very good.
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Quady
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(Original post by JayReg)
Perhaps I am mistaken in their roles. The Chancellor of the Exchequer decides on expenditure alone. The others manage change in policy and where the money (given to their department) is allocated.
I'm not saying it will make vast changes to their competency but it might make a difference.
Yes and no. They manage change as agreed by Cabinet.

Cabinet would be a bloody mess if they were all out entirely for their own ends.

The Home Office SoS cant introduce a national ID card scheme just because they want to for example.
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Quady
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(Original post by JayReg)
Spoiler:
Show
Current positions

First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (usually referred to as the Foreign Secretary) (1782; took current name 1968)
Secretary of State for the Home Department (usually referred to as the Home Secretary) (1782)
Secretary of State for Scotland (1707-1746; 1926-present)
Secretary of State for Education (1964, took current name 2010)
Secretary of State for Defence (1964)
Secretary of State for Wales (1964)
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1968 both Minister of Labour and Minister of Social Security elevated to Secretary of State running separate departments; departments merged with current name 2001)
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1972)
Secretary of State for Transport (1976; name not used 1979–1981; subsumed in other Departments 1997–2002)
Secretary of State for Health (1988)
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1992; took current name 1997, adding "Olympics" for 2010–2012)
Secretary of State for International Development (1997)
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2001)
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2006)
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (2007)
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade (2007; took current name 2009)
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (2008)
The honorific title First Secretary of State is awarded occasionally. It has been in existence since 1962 and has been in continuous use since 2009.
Not to mention, how much bloody voting is that?
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JayReg
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(Original post by Quady)
Labour SoS for Work and Pensions
Tory Chancellor

Can you not see how that might be a mess? (ir the Work and Pensions SoS wouldn't get agreement for the money they need to do what they want)

Or UKIP Foriegn Secretary (take us out of Europe), Tory business Secretary (tries to build trade with Europe), Labour Home Secretary (open boarder)

The offices of state don't work independently of one another...

Whats even without going into the detail collective responsibility...
Don't see the problem, there is disagreement now with SoS of individual departments and the Chancellor about where cuts should fall. Each one doesn't want to bear the cuts so they have more room to meet their objectives. It would be no different except in the implementation of the cuts.

Again no problem, although their may have to be chances to responsibilities and powers. I'm unclear on their actual powers. Can the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs actually remove us without vote in parliament? Even if we pull out of Europe we still need to make trade deals with Europe and change our border policy.

I'm not saying the transition is easy and their aren't teething problems. I haven't studied politics so its more a question of what the public should be able to vote for.
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JayReg
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(Original post by Quady)
Not to mention, how much bloody voting is that?
You're at the voting booth anyway, how much effort is a few more ticks.
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gladders
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(Original post by JayReg)
You're at the voting booth anyway, how much effort is a few more ticks.
Hang on. Having to vote on that many candidates for different things is a lot more onerous than you're saying. For it to be meaningful you'd need a clear understanding of what each candidate proposes in each field, and weighing that against what you think is likely to happen. It would be exhaustive and time-consuming.

You've seen the queues and the enormous voting papers that Americans have to deal with, haven't you?

Have you heard of something called voter fatigue?
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Quady
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(Original post by JayReg)
It would raise the chances of MP's with real life experience winning the elections for the individual positions, rather than the prime minister just putting his close friends/supporters in random roles.
There is some merit in this, but it would also highlight how truely inadequate the feild is.

With Chancellor theres a decent chance someone will have an economics degree. But Home Office? Perhaps someone was a special constable or was burgled once? But what MP has the 'life experience' for that role? Foreign Secretary (went on holiday to both Spain and Florida)? Defence secretary (perhaps their son is in the Navy...?), International Development (once signed up to 'adopt' a child because of a chugger). DEFRA (brought up on a farm?)...
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gladders
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(Original post by JayReg)
Don't see the problem, there is disagreement now with SoS of individual departments and the Chancellor about where cuts should fall. Each one doesn't want to bear the cuts so they have more room to meet their objectives. It would be no different except in the implementation of the cuts.
At present the final decider is the Prime Minister who provides leadership in the Cabinet. Your proposal would mean there's no leader or final arbiter who offers compromises or makes a final decision. As both these people, in your system, are democratically equal, they have nothing to gain from backing down.

Again no problem, although their may have to be chances to responsibilities and powers. I'm unclear on their actual powers. Can the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs actually remove us without vote in parliament? Even if we pull out of Europe we still need to make trade deals with Europe and change our border policy.
Ministers have extensive order-making powers so they can actually carry out a huge number of actions by decree, subject to approval from Parliament. But there are so many of these that it's difficult for Parliament to scrutinise them all.

I'm not saying the transition is easy and their aren't teething problems. I haven't studied politics so its more a question of what the public should be able to vote for.
The present system is best, has stood the test of time and is universally working worldwide. But your ideas are to be encouraged - it's always good to pause for thought and make sure the situation doesn't behoove a change
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Quady
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(Original post by JayReg)
You're at the voting booth anyway, how much effort is a few more ticks.
Well its 20 more ticks (unless you use AV when it'd be 100 more entries).

And you wouldn't know who the candidates were until after the general election, and the candidates would be the same across many different roles (perhaps they could only stand for one?) even so there would be five-six different candidates over the 20 roles...
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Quady
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(Original post by JayReg)
Don't see the problem, there is disagreement now with SoS of individual departments and the Chancellor about where cuts should fall. Each one doesn't want to bear the cuts so they have more room to meet their objectives. It would be no different except in the implementation of the cuts.

Again no problem, although their may have to be chances to responsibilities and powers. I'm unclear on their actual powers. Can the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs actually remove us without vote in parliament? Even if we pull out of Europe we still need to make trade deals with Europe and change our border policy.

I'm not saying the transition is easy and their aren't teething problems. I haven't studied politics so its more a question of what the public should be able to vote for.
Yes there is a period of disagreement, then they agree. Your idea has everyone pointing the blame at everyone else rather than 'its the Governments fault'. You'd have everyone blamig the Chancellor that their dog owners benefit, botox for all on the NHS and that HS17 isn't happening.
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JayReg
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(Original post by gladders)
Hang on. Having to vote on that many candidates for different things is a lot more onerous than you're saying. For it to be meaningful you'd need a clear understanding of what each candidate proposes in each field, and weighing that against what you think is likely to happen. It would be exhaustive and time-consuming.

You've seen the queues and the enormous voting papers that Americans have to deal with, haven't you?

Have you heard of something called voter fatigue?
I've heard people tend to just vote for their party's candidate for each position. So they can still make the same point heard as now but people with more varied views can make themselves heard too.
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Quady
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(Original post by gladders)
The present system is best, has stood the test of time and is universally working worldwide. But your ideas are to be encouraged - it's always good to pause for thought and make sure the situation doesn't behoove a change
When I saw the title, I assumed it would be candidates from within the party/parties to for a Government, not just random, which would have been half way sensible.

I'm more for doing away with reshuffles and keeping SoS's for the life of the parliament.
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JayReg
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(Original post by gladders)
At present the final decider is the Prime Minister who provides leadership in the Cabinet. Your proposal would mean there's no leader or final arbiter who offers compromises or makes a final decision. As both these people, in your system, are democratically equal, they have nothing to gain from backing down.
That's definitely a problem I saw too, I'm not sure how it would effect the prime ministers role and his power over SoS.

Ministers have extensive order-making powers so they can actually carry out a huge number of actions by decree, subject to approval from Parliament. But there are so many of these that it's difficult for Parliament to scrutinise them all.



The present system is best, has stood the test of time and is universally working worldwide. But your ideas are to be encouraged - it's always good to pause for thought and make sure the situation doesn't behoove a change
Quite possibly, I don't pretend to have the answers in any shape or form. I was merely hoping that those more educated than I in the functions of politics would find a semi-workable solution to allow the public to have their voices heard better.
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chrisawhitmore
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(Original post by Quady)
Labour SoS for Work and Pensions
Tory Chancellor

Can you not see how that might be a mess? (ir the Work and Pensions SoS wouldn't get agreement for the money they need to do what they want)

Or UKIP Foriegn Secretary (take us out of Europe), Tory business Secretary (tries to build trade with Europe), Labour Home Secretary (opens boarder), UKIP Trasport Secretary (closes all transport links with Europe)

The offices of state don't work independently of one another...

Thats even without going into the detail of collective responsibility...
You could also get people playing deliberate political pointscoring games, for example: Tory chancellor, Labour Home Secretary. Tory chancellor cuts the budget, the Labour home secretary transfers as much of that cut as possible into frontline policing cuts, then loudly blames tory cuts for the lack of policing.

Chancellors would also be tempted to make their own party look competent by sparing departments they control from budget cuts and getting them funding for major projects. If we had a Labour chancellor and a tory transport minister, do you think they'd fund a big project like HS2, or divert the funds to a Labour controlled department? Why share credit?
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TSR Mustafa
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Anything , if it gets rid of Micheal Gove.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by JayReg)
Perhaps I am mistaken in their roles. The Chancellor of the Exchequer decides on expenditure alone. The others manage change in policy and where the money (given to their department) is allocated.
I'm not saying it will make vast changes to their competency but it might make a difference.
The chancellor does decide expenditure in support of government policy. If government policy is to reduce expenditure then it'll be difficult to have a SoS that wants to expand expenditure.

A government is bound by the manifesto it was elected in on, unless of course its a coalition then compromises have to be made. That SoS has to be in line with the manifesto pledges.
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