Gordon Brown announced proposed changes in the British government that would result in Parliament having greater decision making power in any future use of troops to fight wars. In effect, Brown is surrendering executive power of the British Prime Minister to send troops into battle without first obtaining permission of Parliament. This undoubtedly is related to growing dissatisfaction within Parliament about England’s continued presence in Iraq and their desire for bringing troops back home. Brown’s reform proposals also ease restrictions on people demonstrating near Parliament which has long been a goal of civil libertarians. He also is suggesting new power for Parliament in deciding who becomes a senior judge.
Brown’s proposals reflect a growing desire among British people to end the concentration of power in the prime minister given Tony Blair’s refusal to acknowledge parliamentary concerns regarding his failed policies in Iraq. Brown also wants to shed his image as a “control freak” by surrendering power to the legislature. These reforms stand markedly different from the Bush/Cheney belief in an expanded executive and a refusal to accept a powerful legislature. Perhaps, Brown’s reform proposals reflect a change in western attitudes regarding dismay at the emergence of an “imperial executive” under George Bush and a desire to return to a more balanced sharing of power between executive, legislature, and judiciary. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton indicated, if elected president, she was prepared to surrender certain executive powers to Congress as a sign of ending the imperial presidency of George Bush.