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Prime Minister's Question Time:

When I get the chance, I like to watch Prime Minister's question time on C-Span. For readers who may not know, Prime Minister's question time is a longstanding institution in the British House of Commons where the PM is required to answer questions put to him by the leader of the opposition and other members of Parliament.

I don't know whether Prime Minister's Question Time actually improves the quality of British government. But it's vastly more interesting than the deadly dull floor speeches made by members of the US Congress. In addition, I get the strong impression that top-level British MPs on average are far more knowledgeable about public policy than US senators and representatives. While many of the questions put to the prime minister are just thinly veiled rhetorical attacks, many others are actually substantive, and the British prime ministers I have seen (especially Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair) usually know enough to give detailed and even thoughtful answers. There is also, I think, some symbolic value in forcing the chief executive to publicly answer questions put to him by his political opponents.

I don't necessarily advocate instituting a similar practice in the US. Among other things, it would probably require a constitutional amendment to do so. And the benefit of passing such an amendment probably wouldn't be worth the cost. But it sure is fun to watch.

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