Politics Across the Pond

Last Thursday 8th June provided a great opportunity to contrast the divergent political systems on each side of the ‘pond’ or the Atlantic. Watching television I was torn between the competing appeal of James Comey (the former FBI director)’s testimony on President Trump’s inappropriate behavior  and watching the results of the UK election come in.

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I enjoyed Thursday’s  coverage both in the US and the UK . I was happy to see Trump exposed and even happier to see Jeremy Corbyn do so well on a socialist platform (let’s hope he wins next time).

But it was strange because the British Election felt slightly unreal as living in Texas I am insulated from most of the changes enacted by the British government. The ongoing situation with Trump is continually frustrating. Because, though he has the power to considerably harm my life here as a permanent resident, but with no voting rights here I feel powerless to do much about it.

Watching both events on television did lead me to reflect more generally on the comparative advantages of the UK versus the US system of government. Overall I think the American system (probably the most thought out system of political government in the world) wins. However, it is also the system that made Donald Trump President and makes him immune from legal prosecution! But thankfully the system of checks and balances means that his power to enact legislation is heavily circumscribed: see the travel ban, the construction of the wall and (at the moment) the repeal of Obamacare .

In the UK, the Prime minster of a party with a majority actually has a lot more power. In general the party does what it is told and the legislation outlined in the Queens speech ends up on the statute books. But on the plus side in the UK it is much easier to get rid of a discredited Prime Minster than a discredited President. There is no need for impeachment proceedings. Once a Prime Minster loses the confidence of the party they can be ousted in hours. Which I suspect we may be about to see when the Tory Party punishes Prime Minister Theresa May for her hubris in calling an unnecessary election and losing their majority.

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