The Challenge of Executive Discretion
Political decision-making in the Euro crisis has relied heavily on executive discretion, exercised at speed and rationalized with reference to the pressing demands of emergency. This chapter explores the challenges raised for political opposition, notably challenges of a temporal kind. With its deviations from policy and procedural norms, discretionary politics tends towards a politics without rhythm, leading to major asymmetries between decision-makers and voices of opposition. These centre on issues of timing and the ability to identify authorship and content of decisions. Such asymmetries arguably correspond to an underlying one between the temporality of political decision-making and of contemporary finance capitalism, with agents of the former increasingly inclined to pursue ‘fast policy’ as a means to keep pace. A democratic response is likely to involve strengthening and synchronizing the rhythms of parliamentary politics, as well as being receptive to forms of opposition less reliant on the rhythms that discretion subverts.
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