British Cabinet Government has been designed as a textbook for undergraduates and A-level students. It provides a clear and timely assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of this central aspect of British politics, together with an analysis of proposed reforms. Drawing on a wealth of new material that has become available during the 1980s, this book examines the growth of pressures on the Cabinet system since 1945. It traces the decline in the role of the Cabinet, the growth of powerful committees, and the predominance of the Prime Minister, most dramatically apparent during Mrs Thatcher's tenure of Downing Street. Simon James analyses the balance of power between ministers and civil servants, the complex and sometimes prickly relations between Prime Ministers and their colleagues, and the ways in which foreign, economic and domestic policies are decided. He examines the impact upon the Cabinet of EC membership and compares the British experience to cabinets in other European and Commonwealth countries. The author also identifies weaknesses in the system - pressures on ministers, the fragmentation of decision-making, and the lack of strategic focus in the system - and examines various innovations to remedy these faults, including the Cabinet Office, the think tank' and the Prime Minister's policy unit.
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