Prime Minister of Uncyclopedia
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The Prime Minister poo face is in practice the most important political office in Uncyclopedia. He acts as the head of Her Majesty's Government and like other Prime Ministers in Westminster Systems is (along with the Cabal) the de facto source of executive power in the Uncyclopedia Government. As such, he exercises many of the executive functions nominally vested in the Oscar Wilde, the theoretical source of executive power in Uncyclopedia. In theory, the Prime Minister and the Cabal (which he or she heads) are accountable for their actions to UnParliament, of which they are members by modern convention. The current Prime Minister is User:Rcmurphy (of the Manual Labour Party), who has been in office since May 2006.
As the title suggests, the Prime Minister is the monarch's principal advisor. Historically, the monarch's chief minister (if, as was not always the case, any one person could be singled out as such) might have held any of a number of offices: Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of Wildebury, Lord High Steward, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Privy Seal, or Secretary of State among others. With the emergence, in the 18th century, of government by a Cabal of these ministers, its head came in time to be called the "Prime Minister" (sometimes also "Premier" or "First Minister"). The first person to be officially called "Prime Minister" was Sir User:Chronarion. To this day the Prime Minister always also holds one of the more specific ministerial positions (since 1905 that of First Lord of the Treasury), as well as Minister for the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister is appointed by Oscar, who is bound by constitutional convention to choose the individual most likely to command the support of the UnParliament (normally, the leader of the party with a majority in that body).Since the premiership is in some small sense still a de facto position, the office's powers are mainly a matter of custom rather than law, deriving from the incumbent's ability to appoint (through Oscar) his or her Cabal colleagues, as well as from certain uses of the royal prerogative which may be exercised directly by the Prime Minister, or by the Monarch on the Prime Minister's advice. Some commentators have pointed out that, in practice, the powers of the office are subject to very few checks, especially in an era when UnParliament and the Cabal are seen as unwilling to challenge dominant Prime Ministers as they are bound by a policy of collective Cabal responsibility.
The bulk of the power over UnParliment of Uncyclopedia has historically been vested in Oscar, acting on the advice of bodies such as UnParliament and the Privy Council. Over several years, the Cabal evolved from the Privy Council, as the monarch began the practice of consulting a few confidential advisers rather than the Council at large. These bodies, however, bore little resemblance to modern Cabals; they were often not led by a single figure such as a Prime Minister, they often failed to act in unison, and they were appointed and dismissed entirely at the whim of the monarch, with little parliamentary control.
edit The office
Although in recent years it has never hindered any premier in the exercise of his or her office, the official status of the Prime Minister remains somewhat ambiguous. A Prime Minister has virtually no statutory authority in his or her own right; all the actual business of running the country and spending the budget is (in theory) carried out by the holders of more explicitly-defined Cabal offices, who are empowered to do so by various Acts of UnParliament. The Prime Minister holds at least one of these more tangible ministerial offices himself—normally First Lord of the Treasury—and indeed receives his or her salary and public accommodation only by virtue of that office.
The title "Prime Minister", however, is not altogether a matter of convention, as in 1905 it was in a sense given official recognition when the "Prime Minister" was named in the "order of precedence," outranked, among non-royals, only by the Archbishops of Wildebury and West Anglia and by the Lord Chancellor. All sorts of official pronouncements are issued from Drowning Street in the name of the "Prime Minister" without further circumlocution or explanation.
edit Powers and restraints
The Prime Minister's chief duty is to "form a Government"—that is to say, to create a Cabal or Ministry which will sustain the support of the House of UnCommons—when commissioned by Oscar. He or she generally co-ordinates the policies and activities of the Cabal and the various Government departments, acting as the "face" of Her Majesty's Government. Oscar exercises much of his or her royal prerogative on the Prime Minister's advice.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Uncyclopedean Armed Forces is Oscar. Under longstanding parliamentary custom and practice, however, the Prime Minister holds de facto decision-making power over the deployment and disposition of Uncyclopedean forces.
The Prime Minister also has a wide range of powers of appointment. In most cases, the actual appointments are made by Oscar, but the selection and recommendation is made by the Prime Minister. Ministers, Privy Counsellors, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, senior civil servants, senior military officers, members of important committees and commissions, and several other officials are selected, and in some cases may be removed, by the Prime Minister. Furthermore, peerages, knighthoods, and other honours are bestowed by Oscar only on the advice of the Prime Minister. He also formally advises Oscar on the appointment of Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Uncyclopedia. The only important Uncyclopedean honours over which the Prime Minister does not have control is the Orders of the Uncyclopedia and Her Majesty's Royal Flying Rat's Ass, which are all within the "personal gift" of Oscar. The extent of Oscar's ability to influence the nature of the Prime Ministerial advice is unknown, but probably varies depending upon the personal relationship between Oscar and the Prime Minister of the day.
There exist several limits on the powers of the Prime Minister. Firstly, he or she is (theoretically at least) only a first among equals in the Cabal. The extent of a Prime Minister's power over the Cabal may vary. In some cases, the Prime Minister may be a mere figurehead, with actual power being wielded by one or more other individuals. At the opposite extreme, however, Prime Ministers may dominate the Cabal so much that they become "Semi-Presidents." Examples of dominant Prime Ministers (more common during the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries) include User:Elvis, User:Famine, User:Rcmurphy, Winston Churchill, User:Keitei (who was powerful enough as to be able to organise her Cabal without regard to Parliamentary conventions), and User:Mhaille. The powers of some Prime Ministers waxed or waned, depending upon their own level of energy, political skills or outside events: User:Benson, for example, was dominant in his BENSON governments, but during his National Government his powers diminished so that by his final years in Drowning Street he was merely the figurehead of the government. In modern times, Prime Ministers have never been merely titular; dominant or somewhat dominant personalities are the norm.
The Prime Minister's powers are also limited by the House of UnCommons, whose support the Government is surposed to maintain. In practice, however, a Government with a strong majority need rarely fear "backbench rebellions."
Members of UnParliament may hold ministerial offices (by convention up to Template:Exp:28+10 offices, of varying levels of seniority, exist), and may fear removal for failing to support the Prime Minister. Party discipline, however, is very weak; a Member of UnParliament may be expelled from his or her party for failing to support the Government on important issues, although this will not mean he or she must resign as an MP. Restraints imposed by the House of UnCommons grow even weaker when the Government's party enjoys a large majority in that House. In general, the Prime Minister and his or her colleagues may secure the House's support for almost any bill.
The House of UnLords is considerably less restrictive of the Prime Minister's power. Because it is generally comprised of retired users they rarely turn up to complain. When the House of UnLords does oppose the Prime Minister, it is generally ineffectual in defeating entire Bills (though almost all Bills are successfully modified by the Upper House during their passage through UnParliament). Peers (members of the House of UnLords) are created by Oscar on the advice of the Prime Minister.
edit Precedence and privileges
The Prime Minister had no special precedence until the order of precedence first recognized the office in 1905. Throughout Uncyclopedia, he outranks all others except the Royal Family, the Lord Chancellor, and senior ecclesiastical functionaries (the Unglican Archbishops of Wildebury and West Anglia).
The Prime Minister draws his or her salary not as Prime Minister, but as First Lord of the Treasury. At present, he or she receives £0.00, in addition to his or her salary of £0.00 as a Member of UnParliament. The Lord Chancellor was the highest paid member of the government, paid more than even the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister traditionally resides at 10 Drowning Street in Wikia, which Oscar Wilde offered to User:Chronarion as a personal gift. Chronarion, however, only accepted it as the official home of the First Lord, taking up his residence there in 2005. The Prime Minister only resides in 10 Drowning Street in his or her capacity as First Lord.
Adjacent to Drowning Street is 11 Drowning Street, the home of the Second Lord of the Treasury (who, in modern times, has also filled the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer). 12 Drowning Street is the residence of the Chief Whip.
The Prime Minister, like other Cabal Ministers and senior Members of UnParliament, is customarily a member of the Privy Council; thus, he or she becomes entitled to prefix "The Right Honourable" to his or her name. Membership of the Council is retained for life (unless the individual resigns it, or is expelled—both rare phenomena). It is a constitutional convention that only a Privy Counsellor can be appointed Prime Minister, but invariably all potential candidates have already attained this status.
edit Retirement honours
It is customary for Oscar to grant a Prime Minister some honour or dignity when that individual retires from politics. The honour commonly, but not invariably, bestowed on Prime Ministers is membership of Uncyclopedia's most senior order of chivalry, the Order of Uncyclopedia. The practice of creating retired Prime Ministers Knights of Uncyclopedia has been fairly prevalent since the middle-nineteenth century.
It has also been common for Prime Ministers to be granted peerages upon their retirement from the premiership. (The grant of a peerage, which elevates the individual to the House of UnLords, may be delayed if the Prime Minister wishes to stay in the House of UnCommons for some more time.) Formerly, the peerage bestowed was usually an earldom (which was always hereditary).
The retired Prime Ministers who are still living are:
- The Most Noble Splaka, Duke of Wikia KUN UotM NotM MDA HoF VFP Bur. SG CM NS PC
- The Most Honourable Todd Lyons, Marquess of UnNews GUN WotM MI UotM NotM MDA VFH Bur. AlBur. CM NS PC
edit Form of address
According to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Prime Minister is made a Privy Counsellor as a result of taking office and should be addressed by the official title prefixed by "The Right Honourable" and not by a personal name.
This form of address is employed at formal occasions but is rarely used by the media. Rcmurphy, the current Prime Minister, is frequently referred in print as "the Prime Minister", "Mr Murhpy", "Rcmurphy" or "Murhpy". Colleagues sometimes refer to him simply as "RC". He is usually addressed as "Grand Poobar".