“Government isn’t a rolling seminar; its function is executive, not discursive…”

In the Inside Politics digest from the Irish Times this morning, Pat Leahy had this to say about cabinet responsibility:

The reason there is a requirement for government to act collectively is that it defines the executive will of the state. Government isn’t a rolling seminar; its function is executive, not discursive. A cabinet must make decisions; to govern is to choose. Inevitably, in our imperfect world, those decisions will often be between unpleasant alternatives.

He’s talking  about the tough life ahead of those (four?) independents with cabinet seats to get Enda a second term. Yet it can apply to the institutions in Northern Ireland, where there is little choice but to make decisions, without meaningful public discourse.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Katyusha

    The difference here is that normally a government will have a secure enough mandate/majority/coalition that allows them to push through unpopular decisions and not risk the wrath of the elctorate until several years later, when they’ve hopefully forgotten about everything. They have no immediate reason to take notice of public opinion.
    Fine Gael need to be careful that one of these independents, or Fianna Fail, cute hoors that they are, don’t decide to collapse everything for their own advantage. They will need to tread carefully. The independents won’t want to be seen as complicit in decisions that hurt their constituents, and I don’t think FF will pass up the opportunity to put the pressure on if FG are forced to do something drastically unpopular.