Honour Amongst the Parliamentarians

Here are the best two sentences I read this week:

“But even if better practices can be instituted to guide the parliamentary head of state (be it a monarchical or republican model) in determining whether all the possibilities of forming an effective government have been exhausted and that a hung parliament must be dissolved, some element of discretion will remain, and the system’s smooth functioning will depend on the good judgment and honourable behaviour of the key actors. That is the fundamental lesson of the King-Byng affair.”

Emphasis is mine. That’s from Peter Russell’s very timely and very excellent new book, Two Cheers for Parliamentary Government. More than anything else I have read on the subject, this book has helped shape and shift my thoughts on minority government — I’m now inclined to give it one and half cheers, thanks to Prof Russell’s arguments. But more than anything, the book is indispensable background reading for understanding The Madness. I’ll have a proper review up after the weekend.

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