Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

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Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-05-31 12:01am

Basically, in a democracy, is it appropriate for the government of the day to add explicit or direct political party branding to government initiatives, particularly initiatives that it is executing through organs of the state and not organs of the party?
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-05-31 10:39am

Could you give some examples?

Depending on how we interpret the question the answer is either "sometimes" or "never."
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-05-31 11:24am

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/ ... apan-7mil/

To put that in context, the name of the fund is "Tabung Harapan Malaysia" which translates to Malaysian Fund of Hope. The political coalition that took power in the recent election is called "Pakatan Harapan" which translates to Pact of Hope.

I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with the blurring of the lines between the ministry of finance / government, and the political coalition which makes up the government implied by using the catchphrases/sloganeering in what is now a ministry administered fund.

I guess at the other, more clearcut extreme is the Chinese military swearing loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party and not to the People's Republic of China in of itself, as such. But OTOH China is a real one party state in a way Malaysia never actually was...
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-05-31 11:40am

Assuming I am interpreting the question correctly, one theoretical example would be if the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (the legal name of the "Obamacare" statue) had instead been officially released as "the Democratic Party's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" or "the Democratic Party's Healthcare Hullabaloo" or something. I am struggling to think of a real example in American politics; even when laws or other government actions are de facto associated with a party, this is usually through the media and unofficial sources, and the official/legal/"real" branding for the action is more neutral. Though part of this, I wager, has more to do with the momentum of the tradition of writing government language in a particular way due to legal/bureaucratic needs than it does with a specific taboo against more explicit party branding. But yes, in general it seems that there is a broad policy of maintaining some illusion that laws, statues, and so-on are not defined along strictly partisan lines.

A quick search of Cornell Law School's online database of the names of US law's (here) doesn't come up with anything with the name of a political party in it that I can find, though the search function is a bit clunky and I'm not sure how complete this database is, and it may not contain things like executive orders and such.


EDIT: You posted again while I was writing the above post, but your example is, I think, a little more complicated. While the name of the fund does contain a word associated with the political party, that word also happens to be a fairly generic and common word. Using "hope" and similar words comes up frequently in American laws (searching that same database), though here neither word is also in the name of a political party. So this a more complex setting to discuss than an example where it's called "the Democratic Party's Fund of Hope" or something.

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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-31 01:49pm

I would be inclined to avoid associating specific policies with specific parties. That may be the actual truth of the matter (in that said party supports said policy in a way the other party/parties don't), but ultimately, the government is supposed to serve the people. The parties are (in the US at least) private organizations, and only serve as a type of convenient label which encapsulates a breadth of views and attitudes from which voters can choose. The parties are not themselves government entities; members of said parties are part of the government, but the party itself is not, technically speaking, part of the government.

As such, a "Democratic Party Health Care Plan" being released as an official government policy... would be improper, IMO. While some Congressional bills and regulations are identified by the individuals who bring them forth, that's somewhat of a different matter as it's not aligned along party loyalties. The Dodd-Frank bill regulating Wall Street, for example, was reasonably bipartisan (the two Senators IIRC being of different parties) and as such the title represents an unified effort. Obamacare is a negative epithet precisely because it's associating the policy with the President being demonized by the opposition party. The same would happen if, say, the Republican Party Military Spending Bill or whatever was passed. It may be the bill supported by the Republicans in Congress, but it is not actually being established or passed by the Republican Party itself, nor is the Republican Party in any position to enforce the bill. So it would be a pointless title.
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-05-31 09:22pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2018-05-31 11:40am
Assuming I am interpreting the question correctly, one theoretical example would be if the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (the legal name of the "Obamacare" statue) had instead been officially released as "the Democratic Party's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" or "the Democratic Party's Healthcare Hullabaloo" or something. I am struggling to think of a real example in American politics; even when laws or other government actions are de facto associated with a party, this is usually through the media and unofficial sources, and the official/legal/"real" branding for the action is more neutral. Though part of this, I wager, has more to do with the momentum of the tradition of writing government language in a particular way due to legal/bureaucratic needs than it does with a specific taboo against more explicit party branding. But yes, in general it seems that there is a broad policy of maintaining some illusion that laws, statues, and so-on are not defined along strictly partisan lines.

A quick search of Cornell Law School's online database of the names of US law's (here) doesn't come up with anything with the name of a political party in it that I can find, though the search function is a bit clunky and I'm not sure how complete this database is, and it may not contain things like executive orders and such.


EDIT: You posted again while I was writing the above post, but your example is, I think, a little more complicated. While the name of the fund does contain a word associated with the political party, that word also happens to be a fairly generic and common word. Using "hope" and similar words comes up frequently in American laws (searching that same database), though here neither word is also in the name of a political party. So this a more complex setting to discuss than an example where it's called "the Democratic Party's Fund of Hope" or something.
I'd actually forgotten about Obamacare, but you're right, in that case it was not an official name.

But yes, that's how I intended the question to be interpreted, in that I'm wondering if in other democracies is it considered appropriate to name government initiatives in ways directly tied to the political party in power at the time, and to what degree.

Another aspect of it would be where the line is drawn between the government and the party - e.g. on one side, the military swears allegiance to the nation, in the middle, the civil service is expected to follow the leadership and ideology of the government of the day without actually playing party politics, and on the other side, the legislature almost always votes on party lines (at least in a parliamentary system)
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-05-31 09:46pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-05-31 01:49pm
I would be inclined to avoid associating specific policies with specific parties. That may be the actual truth of the matter (in that said party supports said policy in a way the other party/parties don't), but ultimately, the government is supposed to serve the people. The parties are (in the US at least) private organizations, and only serve as a type of convenient label which encapsulates a breadth of views and attitudes from which voters can choose. The parties are not themselves government entities; members of said parties are part of the government, but the party itself is not, technically speaking, part of the government.

As such, a "Democratic Party Health Care Plan" being released as an official government policy... would be improper, IMO. While some Congressional bills and regulations are identified by the individuals who bring them forth, that's somewhat of a different matter as it's not aligned along party loyalties. The Dodd-Frank bill regulating Wall Street, for example, was reasonably bipartisan (the two Senators IIRC being of different parties) and as such the title represents an unified effort. Obamacare is a negative epithet precisely because it's associating the policy with the President being demonized by the opposition party. The same would happen if, say, the Republican Party Military Spending Bill or whatever was passed. It may be the bill supported by the Republicans in Congress, but it is not actually being established or passed by the Republican Party itself, nor is the Republican Party in any position to enforce the bill. So it would be a pointless title.
Yeah, that's what I was wondering about. As both of you have noted, in the US at least it seems to be avoided, and there is a distinction between the political party and the action of the government, at least on paper.
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-05-31 09:54pm

I think the question can be restated to how far and how directly can a political party in a democracy use their position in government to promote their party and agenda
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-01 06:15am

On the other hand, a lot of the wording issues have flexibility at the edges. If the "Justice Party" takes office, they don't have to avoid passing the Justice Department Reform Act. The Conservative Party can pass a Conservation Act, the Republican Party can pass a something something Republic something Act.
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-06-01 07:42am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-01 06:15am
On the other hand, a lot of the wording issues have flexibility at the edges. If the "Justice Party" takes office, they don't have to avoid passing the Justice Department Reform Act. The Conservative Party can pass a Conservation Act, the Republican Party can pass a something something Republic something Act.
Well, suppose the Justice Party takes office on an election platform of "Justice for the People", and once in office requires that all Police vehicles and courtrooms now sport the slogan "Justice for the People"...
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-01 10:09am

AniThyng wrote:
2018-06-01 07:42am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-01 06:15am
On the other hand, a lot of the wording issues have flexibility at the edges. If the "Justice Party" takes office, they don't have to avoid passing the Justice Department Reform Act. The Conservative Party can pass a Conservation Act, the Republican Party can pass a something something Republic something Act.
Well, suppose the Justice Party takes office on an election platform of "Justice for the People", and once in office requires that all Police vehicles and courtrooms now sport the slogan "Justice for the People"...
Yeah, that's more blatant, and probably would never fly in the US.

In general: the parties represent broad concepts rather than standing for specific things, though their platform each election cycle will usually call out whatever has been popular among their base lately. However for the most part individuals running for or in office tend to have their own interpretation of what their party will support, in part based upon their constituency, in part upon their own personal beliefs. The cynical might say they're going to interpret it however their financing wants them to.

Ultimately however, in theory, the government exists to serve the people of its country, not the political parties thereof. As such, unless in a position where there is effectively only one party that is in control such as China and thus indistinguishable from the government anyway, I don't really see a reason for it to align itself so obviously with one party or another.
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Re: Political party slogans when said party is Government of the day

Post by AniThyng » 2018-06-03 10:37am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-01 10:09am
AniThyng wrote:
2018-06-01 07:42am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-01 06:15am
On the other hand, a lot of the wording issues have flexibility at the edges. If the "Justice Party" takes office, they don't have to avoid passing the Justice Department Reform Act. The Conservative Party can pass a Conservation Act, the Republican Party can pass a something something Republic something Act.
Well, suppose the Justice Party takes office on an election platform of "Justice for the People", and once in office requires that all Police vehicles and courtrooms now sport the slogan "Justice for the People"...
Yeah, that's more blatant, and probably would never fly in the US.

In general: the parties represent broad concepts rather than standing for specific things, though their platform each election cycle will usually call out whatever has been popular among their base lately. However for the most part individuals running for or in office tend to have their own interpretation of what their party will support, in part based upon their constituency, in part upon their own personal beliefs. The cynical might say they're going to interpret it however their financing wants them to.

Ultimately however, in theory, the government exists to serve the people of its country, not the political parties thereof. As such, unless in a position where there is effectively only one party that is in control such as China and thus indistinguishable from the government anyway, I don't really see a reason for it to align itself so obviously with one party or another.
So this happened today https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nst.co ... 376222/amp

I would assume in the US, it would be considered very bad form to use, say, congressional offices or the white House to hold a DNC or RNC meeting? How about, I dunno, the speakers office? Is the main issue the fact that non elected party members are involved and not just sitting representatives? E.g. it's one thing to invite only elected MP's, but inviting other party members is what turns a meeting of government that happens to involve a party into a party affair?
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