the smaller the junior partner, the more support (relatively) it will need if it is to be effective . . . If there are not enough spads [for the junior coalition partner], one solution is to allow civil servants to play a more political role in being ministers' [of the junior coalition party] policy advisers.
It could be argued to the contrary that the larger party needs and should be entitled to a proportionately larger pool of political advisers. The rationale for this is that the role of prime minister becomes even more demanding under conditions of coalition government. Not only must he fulfil all the tasks of the head of government but must, in addition, devote attention to ongoing negotiations with his Liberal Democrat deputy.
There is room for valid differences of opinion about the appropriate role of the leader of the smaller coalition party and about the relative staffing needs of the senior and junior coalition partners. The ground for criticism of The Politics of Coalition is that the authors are so wedded to a Clegg view, that they assume away the discussion.
• Yong reports the case in favour of the Westminster model in order to reject it. But he omits to mention the most important features of that case: it allows electors to dismiss unpopular governments. General elections under majoritarian voting systems — argue proponents — more often produce clear-cut results; this means that it is the electors who determine the exit of governments and that governments are not formed through secret bargaining between rival political leaders.
• The study accepts too easily the legitimacy of post-election coalition agreements, which are open to criticism on grounds both of democratic theory and of good government.
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