Power is the drug, not the presidency | Letter

And if an electorate does choose a questionable candidate, they get the chance to get rid of them a few years later, writes Dr Michael Holmes

Michael Meadowcroft argues that “the problem of directly elected heads of state is that the power it confers all too often becomes an addiction that drives them to manipulate the constitutional safeguards” (Letters, 23 September). He then cites Ireland as an example of indirect election of presidents. In fact, the Irish presidency is directly elected.

Mr Meadowcroft also cites the example of Donald Trump to support his argument. The issue in respect of Trump is not that the head of state is directly elected, it is that the head of state in the US is also effectively head of government.

I agree that some politicians become addicted to power, but that is caused by the drug of governmental power, not the drug of presidency. I doubt that Trump would have had any interest in the presidency if the US had an Irish-style system where he would have had only ceremonial duties.

In another letter, Margaret Squires expresses concerns about a President Thatcher or Blair. Again, I would doubt that a limited, ceremonial presidency would have held any attraction for them. And even if an electorate does choose a questionable president, they get the chance to get rid of them a few years later. If you have a questionable monarch, you have no choice but to wait for them to expire or abdicate.
Dr Michael Holmes
Catholic University of Lille

Have an opinion on anything you’ve read in the Guardian today? Please email us your letter and it will be considered for publication.

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The mystery of the Sphinx’s nose is already settled | Brief letters
Brief letters: Asterix | Regional accents | Boris’s bridge | Picture lending schemes | Trump’s wall | Plastic packaging

Letters

22, Jan, 2018 @5:20 PM

Article image
Republicanism and the royal family | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to Larry Elliott’s stance on the republican cause in Britain and debate the possibility of radical change

Letters

16, Jun, 2019 @4:45 PM

Article image
Can Corbyn really lead the left to power? | Letters
Letters: Jeremy Corbyn remains a liability for Labour, according to Ian Pollard, while Jan Kamieniecki worries about the motives of the radical left. Also views on Labour and antisemitism from John Wallace and John Holroyd

Letters

22, Jul, 2018 @5:44 PM

Article image
Royal coverage is on the rise, but don’t forget Republic | Letters
Letters: Jane Fraser on the cost of the monarchy, Zaki Cooper on its benefits, and Frances Wilson on the Queen’s hosting of US presidents

Letters

13, Jun, 2019 @4:19 PM

Article image
The killer question for Donald Trump | Letters
Letters: The coronation coach | Brian Ferneyhough | Tabloid Guardian | Macron in Calais | Hunt for Baghdadi | Trump’s health tests

Letters

17, Jan, 2018 @6:41 PM

Article image
Trump’s attack on Sadiq Khan is inappropriate and unfair | Letters
Letters: London’s mayor is addressing the causes of knife crime with progressive policies, while the US president is creating division, says Dr Jeremy Oliver

Letters

17, Jun, 2019 @4:37 PM

Article image
Jimmy Carter’s howay days in Newcastle | Brief letters
Brief letters: Homelessness and MPs | Mathew Law | Presidential visit | Donald Trump’s wall | Easter origins | Scotland’s Macedonia

Letters

26, Dec, 2018 @4:51 PM

Article image
Selfie Kiss makes it easier to experience the real thing | Brief letters
Brief letters: Selfie Kiss | Finding companionship | Al Capone and Donald Trump | Predictive text | Double entendres

Letters

08, May, 2018 @5:00 PM

Article image
Property, pay and regional power could be the keys to ‘levelling up’ | Letters
Letters: Sheila Preston addresses property prices and pay levels, Roger Read makes a case for regional governance, Peter D Hogg suggests moving Eton College to Hartlepool, while Marilyn Hall hopes to see the end of grammar schools

Letters

08, Oct, 2021 @5:17 PM

Article image
Rank disrespect for our democracy | Letters
Letters: The House of Lords represents another world to most of the public, writes Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society, shame on Christopher Chope, writes Tamsin Dunwoody, the daughter of the longest-ever serving woman MP, Gwyneth Dunwoody

Letters

19, Jun, 2018 @4:53 PM