What do political leaders hope to achieve by breaking with constitutional rules and conventions? As government policy becomes increasingly hard line, from talk of proroguing parliament to ignoring its laws at the risk of jail, much of the coverage has focused on the goals this may serve. Whether as part of a negotiating strategy intended to force the hand of EU partners by showing how close a no-deal Brexit could be, or as a way to weaken domestic opposition and run down the clock, constitutional transgression can be read as a way to get things done. But breaking with norms can also be an end in itself. Rather than being about achieving specifics, it can be a way of signalling broader ideas – about the nature and authority of executive power, and about politics itself. In the name of getting a task done, leaders can seek a wider redefinition of themselves and the landscape around them. Sometimes ostentatious norm-breaking is done by politicians who regard themselves as moderates and want to polish their credentials as technocrats. Breaking with procedural norms can be a way of aligning with the demands of technical experts and showing willingness to adhere to their recommendations…. Read full this story
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