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By abandoning the focus on virtue and replacing it with a focus on preservation by means of occasional deception, the Machiavellian discourse throws suspicion on the role of the counsellor, and especially problematises his powerful role in relation to the monarch. This is especially the case in late Tudor England, ruled by monarchs perceived to be ‘weakened’ by their age or gender. Whereas the Henrician humanists had advocated counsellors who ruled their princes, the threat of Machiavellianism and weak monarchs renders such arguments threatening, and the counsellor falls under greater suspicion for his perceived usurpation of power. At the same time – and by contrast – there is a view that such weak monarchs require strong counsel to guide them. If this cannot come from individuals, as they are likely to be self-interested, then it must come different, ‘dis-interested’, sources. Whereas single private counsellors will be self-interested and thus ought not to rule a monarch, especially a female one, assemblies such as parliament will guide the prince according to the good of the commonwealth. For this reason, they need to have a share in the government. Command becomes ‘bridled’ by this source of counsel.
The early Stuarts had a difficult and uncomfortable relationship with counsel. Whereas both James VI/I and Charles I increasingly relied heavily on close favourites to advise them, this mode of counsel was, in a sense, outdated and seen to be suspicious. In response, counsel was increasingly vested in the parliament over and above the Privy Council, encroaching upon kingly authority. If one accepts the Machiavellian/reason of state assumption that all counsellors are self-interested, and that this conflicted with advice-giving in the interests of the state, then – many reasoned – the obvious solution was to rest the responsibility of giving counsel in an institution wherein self-interest was synonymous with the interests of the state. The Stuarts, however, resisted this conclusion, seeing themselves as the state, and the choice of counsellors solely resting with themselves. This debate had the effect of reinforcing a focus on sovereignty: parliamentarians made the argument that the central conciliar institution was in fact a locus of sovereignty; royalists sought to reduce the power and relevance of counsel. For this reason, the English Civil War sees the end of the ‘monarchy of counsel’ and the turn to a politics focused on theories and expressions of sovereignty.
Where female representatives are located within legislatures and what they do matters for the substantive representation of women. Previous scholarship has found that female parliamentary committee members participate differently than their male counterparts in relation to both policy area and status of positions held. Here, we draw on an original time-series data set (n = 9,767) to analyze the U.K. select committee system. We test for the impact of four variables previously found to be important in explaining changes in gendered divisions of labor: the system of appointment/election, the proportion of female representatives in the legislature, sharp increases in the number of female representatives, and changes in government from right-wing parties to left-wing parties. We find that horizontal and vertical divisions of labor persist over time and that membership patterns in the United Kingdom mainly correspond to those found elsewhere. Moreover, there is little evidence that any of the four variables have systematically affected membership patterns.
Marriage was often afforded high status as a societal stabiliser in newly-established states and the Irish Free State, operative from 1922, was no exception. Unlike Northern Ireland which adopted the parliamentary system of divorce, the Irish Free State provided no mechanism for private bills of divorce to proceed. Although a range of opines existed on divorce provision, the government sought advice from the Irish Catholic hierarchy whose position was steadfast: there should be no mechanism to divorce in the new state. Although there was no popular call for divorce in the new state, as Yeats infamously highlighted, removing the already restrictive parliamentary route from Irish petitioners raised concerns about minority rights in the new state. Subsequent consideration of divorce was often religiously charged but, as in both Westminster and Northern Ireland, this lacked a regimented religious or party divide. Divorce was subsequently banned in the 1937 Irish constitution and divorcees and those seeking divorce law reform were frequently lampooned by the Catholic church as morally suspect.
In Northern Ireland, the parliamentary system of divorce, replete with the shortcomings of Westminster’s practice, was introduced as a stopgap measure in 1925. Inherent conservatism and the long-lived reluctance to debate an issue with the potential to deepen the religious divide meant that this system survived in Northern Ireland until 1939. This chapter profiles those who divorced in the Northern Ireland parliament in terms of gender, class, region and religion. It also highlights the continued significance of the Westropp precedent which, with Westminster’s passage of the 1923 Matrimonial Causes Act equalising the grounds for divorce in court, allowed divorce bills in the Northern Ireland parliament to be brought by women solely on the previously male preserve of spousal adultery. This also allowed men to bring bills on the grounds of aggravated adultery such as adultery and desertion. Attitudes regarding the moral issues encircling divorce are also explored as a backdrop to the slow process of moving Northern Irish divorce from parliament to court.
This chapter explores Irish bills for divorce brought to Westminster from 1701 and to the Irish parliament until the Act of Union in 1800. The moral, reputational and financial impact of divorce is considered from a gendered and class-based perspective and noteworthy cases such as that of Sir John Dillon and Lord Abercorn are examined. The profile of the first Irish divorcees in terms of gender, religion, class and grounds for divorce is determined. Moreover, themes of female agency, illegitimacy, collusion, adultery, false testimony (procured in particular from servants) as well as the association between the availability of divorce as an incentive to adultery which became a recurring theme in both clerical and lay debates are also explored in both jurisdictions. The impact of the Act of Union on the rate and profile of Irish divorces is analysed. In addition, the popular criticism and press reportage of Irish divorce allow the tropes of immorality and moral superiority to be defined and considered.
This chapter explores divorce law reform in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland government liaised with Westminster regarding the removal of divorce from parliament’s jurisdiction from 1931; however, Westminster’s passage of Herbert’s bill along with the reform which in 1937 added desertion of three years’ duration; presumption of a spouse’s death; cruelty, although still legislatively undefined; and incurable insanity as sole grounds for divorce revived the debate in regard to equity of divorce provison throughout the UK. Debates concerning the Matrimonial Causes Act (NI) of 1939 are explored alongside the impact of the reform which transferred divorce jurisdiction to the Northern Ireland High Court, reformed the grounds for divorce along English lines and ended the faltering criminal conversation action, replacing it with a statutory action for damages. The subsequent rise in divorce rates in Northern Ireland and later divore law reforms are explored as well as the continuing moral conservatism bolstering cross-party oppoition to ‘easy’ divorce.
Recent publications argue that the traditional gender gap in voting has decreased or reversed in many democracies. However, this decrease may apply only to some types of elections. Building on prior studies, this article hypothesizes that although women participate at the same or higher rates than men in national elections, they participate less in supranational elections. The authors investigate this possibility empirically by analyzing the evolution of the gender gap in voter turnout in elections to the European Parliament (EP). The article makes three important contributions. First, it shows the presence and stability of the traditional gender gap in EP elections. Secondly, it finds that gender differences in political interest are the main source of this gender gap. Thirdly, these gender differences in political interest are, in turn, context dependent. They are strongly associated with cultural gender differences, which are captured through differences in boys’ and girls’ maths scores.
We examine the debate around the creation, in the near term, of a World Parliamentary Assembly (WPA), a body intended to enhance the democratic character of the UN. Representing the interests of the global citizenry, a WPA could bring fresh perspectives on a broad array of unresolved global problems and become an effective catalyst for advancing processes of reform and transformation at the United Nations itself, playing a role in reinforcing democratic tendencies in the world, and fostering a new planetary ethos of an interdependent global community. Taking the evolution of the European Parliament as a model, several pathways to the setting up of a WPA are discussed, arguing that it would not be essential to have the consent of all states to get it launched. In time, as the WPA gained democratic legitimacy, it could be integrated into the international constitutional order, attached as an advisory body to the General Assembly. If UN Charter amendments enabling a system of weighted voting in the General Assembly are a longer-term goal, a WPA with extensive advisory powers would be a sensible preparatory step for the eventual emergence of a General Assembly with legislative powers.
James I’s well-known aversion to smoking has long been viewed as a quirk in the king’s already eccentric personality. Eschewing teleological assessments of the inevitability of the rise of smoking in England, particularly its embeddedness in elite civility, this chapter considers authorities’ concerns over disorder and dissent. Aware of the significance of tobacco in Native American societies, the smoke of that ‘pagan’ plant evoked Catholic incense, the Gunpowder Treason, and a rejection of the manners so integral to post-Reformation concepts of order and deference. The chapter then turns to the formative influence of the tobacco debates in Parliament on forcing clearer articulations of colonial oversight in the 1620s. Despite its potential for subversion, pro-imperial MPs endorsed tobacco as a marker of their support for a burgeoning transatlantic polity. By praising tobacco as evidence of industrious Protestant cultivation, gentlemen championed a luxury commodity as a political necessity, even a political good. From the theatre of Parliament to the circulation of print, debates over the merits and appeal of tobacco placed imperial consumption within gentlemanly political culture, one bolstered by colonial intervention and access to overseas trade and intelligence.
Although sociological research has examined the reproduction of Chile’s elites, there is little empirical evidence of how different forms of capital operate among them. Using datasets for members of the Chilean political elite from 1990 to 2010, this country note examines and measures the effect of political, social, and cultural capital on the access of certain individuals to strategic positions in the political field, comparing the legislative and executive branches as represented by deputies and ministers. The empirical analysis includes logit models.
The idea that EU treaties have become too difficult to amend is a recurring one. This Article explores changing national constitutional rules and norms in the consent stage of EU treaty making in twenty-eight Member States between 1950 and 2016, asking how parliaments, people, and courts came to be much more significant for consent, what the consequences of this shift are, and offering some tentative proposals as to how the challenges this raises could be addressed. EU treaty making has become more complex, but we argue that treaties should be more rather than less difficult to amend where concerns over two-level legitimacy rather than two-level games predominate.
Chapter 6 investigates how Kenyatta established an institutional order that kept his political authority insulated from potential challengers. It argues that by controlling the funds and distribution of land resources, Kenyatta successfully isolated competing political actors and institutions, thus preventing various political grievances to spill over into his government. The chapter first highlights the continuity between colonial and post-colonial land politics, but also emphasizes the Kenyan government’s agency in facilitating land accumulation by the elite. Exploring land files from the British and Kenyan National Archives, it shows that Kenyatta had concerns about certain sensitive land settlement schemes, but preferred to secure political order by marginal and well-timed adjustments, instead of profound reforms to change colonial economic structures. The chapter then shows how the quasi-limitless presidential powers established an institutional imbalance, which Kenyatta cultivated very carefully, sparsely meting out personal promises and favours. The competition between parliament and civil administration shows how Kenyatta used informal, yet far-reaching powers to prevent both institutions from escaping his presidential authority, all while remaining unexposed. This subtle imbalance may also explain why the landless and poor remained locked into kafkaesque bureaucratic procedures.
The process of Church–State separation began 90 years before the 1919 Enabling Act, which gave the Church Assembly legislative powers. The Assembly was conceived not by William Temple's Life and Liberty movement but by aristocratic Conservative politicians, motivated by practical efficiency and High Church principles. With Church lawyers, they dominated it for 40 years. The Church's response to Parliament's rejection of the 1928 Prayer Book, to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1937 and, in the 1950s, to the impossibility of fully articulating in the Church of England's canon law its doctrine on marriage discipline and the seal of the confessional, was united, confident and defiant. The Worship and Doctrine Measure 1974 largely completed efforts to achieve legislative autonomy without disestablishment. The General Synod era has seen changes in both Church and State. The traditions that eclipsed the Church's former ‘Centre-High’ consensus have been less concerned to underline the Church's distinctive identity and doctrines, about which the Synod has been less united. Among MPs, Conservative High Churchmanship and concern for minorities have waned, while expectation that the Church's practice will reflect contemporary social attitudes has increased, placing the long-term survival of the 1919 settlement in question.
One of the great legacies of the French Revolution was that it made parliamentarism the preeminent constitutional ideal of European liberalism. This chapter begins by examining the early constitutional debates of the Revolution when the English practices examined in previous chapter were rejected across the French political spectrum. I then examine Germaine de Staël and Jacques Necker, two of the most influential champions of these practices in 1790s France. Finally, I return to Britain, consider key advocates of parliamentarism there who were writing during this period and highlight the parallels between their arguments and those of de Staël and Necker. In both France and Britain, advocates of parliamentarism claimed that it was the only political framework that could enable a nation to be safely and durably governed by a representative assembly. But in both contexts, authors continued to grapple with the dilemmas of parliamentarism–above all, the dilemma of corruption.
This article explores the consequences of quotas on the level of diversity observed in legislators’ professional and political experience. We examine how party system and electoral system features that are meant to favor female representation, such as gender quotas for candidate selection or placement mandates on electoral lists, affect the composition of legislatures by altering the mix of professional and political qualifications held by its members. Using data collected for all legislators initially seated to the current session of the European Parliament, one of the largest and most diverse democratically elected legislatures in the world, we find that quotas eliminate gendered differences in experience within the institution, particularly when used in conjunction with placement mandates that ensure female candidates are featured on electoral lists in viable positions. Electoral institutions can generally help to “level the playing field” between the backgrounds of men and women in elected office while increasing the presence of desirable qualities among European Parliament representatives of both genders.
Within the context of the economic downturn in southern Eurozone countries and the imposition of new constraints on national policy-making, this article examines the congruence between party issue prioritization, during and after the electoral phase. This is done through a longitudinal analysis of four countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) and use of party manifesto and parliamentary question data. We found that between the electoral and parliamentary arenas, parties tend to emphasize different issues. However, this occurs in different ways across time, countries, and parties. We propose a measurement of issue congruence in agenda framing between the pre- and post-electoral phases to assess to what extent elections provide a guide for public policies. Moreover, we propose arguments to explain different results in the analyzed countries and across parties. We show that the crisis magnified the capacity of the opposition to maintain programmatic coherence – a helping hand for opposition parties (including the radical ones) that succeeded in boosting the relevance of their signature issues.
Issues of diversity in elected bodies have been highlighted in recent years, both with regard to elected representatives themselves, and, more recently, in respect of the treatment of those working in such institutions, especially women. This article focuses on another aspect of diversity, inequality and representation, the voices heard by parliamentary committees in their scrutiny of government actions and legislation.
The article discusses the current position in the Scottish Parliament (and other UK legislatures) with, for example, around three-fifths of witnesses at Holyrood being male, and highlights both ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ factors that influence the make-up of committee witnesses. It also identifies a number of functions that witnesses can play for committees, and how these relate to diversity and representation, and suggests that there may be benefits to committees and legislatures in hearing from a wider range of voices.
The paper addresses the question whether national decision-making has become increasingly interdependent in recent decades, and what role “world models” play in any such trend. These questions are scrutinised by utilising the “Historic Hansard” corpus, which contains all records of the UK Parliament from 1803 to 2005, complemented by other corpora. The results show that references to other countries were most frequent in parliamentary debates very early in the 19th century. However, allusions to other countries have evolved from referencing case examples to referencing policies that are constructed and branded as models. The idea of transferable models caught on particularly strongly from the 1950s onward. The other corpora used for the study confirmed that these changes reflect a global trend. Hence, the post-war era has witnessed a worldwide spread of the idea of model as a precondition for a global proliferation of named models.