Executive Power never sounds quite so dramatic when used of a British Prime Minister rather than an American President. And yet the British PM has potentially considerably more domestic power at his disposable than the US president. Once elected, the Prime Minister is pretty well master of all he surveys. He (or, once, she) has his majority in the House of Commons, and there are no other institutions able to offer resistance to him between elections. Compare that with a president whose legislature is separately elected, who faces fixed terms in office, including mid-term elections that afflict him every two years, and whose domestic writ is limited by the notion of states' rights. Not for nothing did Lord Hailsham (when in Opposition of course) refer to the power of the British Prime Minister as that of an 'elective dictatorship'. But then we Brits like strong government don't we?
As we start the study of the Executive for Unit 2, a few links to get you going. Tutor2u has a fine presentation on the Executive in its Politics Revision Presentations section. The History Learning Site also has a good set of notes on the executive in British politics here. For up to date stories of how the current race for the top post in the executive is going, the Guardian's Special Report here is an excellent collection of news articles. Then, of course, there's Number 10's own website here - a tremendous example of online premiership and how new media is shaping the executive's ability to communicate.
More links to follow as I try to make this blog a bit more friendly for further research, but at least start off with those. Suggested reading, as ever, can be found on the politics website, while the key text is Peter Hennessy's substantial book The Prime Minister (copy in the school library - but not on Wednesday, as that's where the prospective deputy heads are being interviewed!)