Thursday, 18 February 2010

Abandoning constitutional monarchy

There was a vote held at the House of Twits about whether or not Britain should abandon the constitutional monarchy. Contrary to what one might expect from a libertarian and, even worse, an Anarcho-Capitalist, I voted no. In fact, if I had my druthers, I'd undo that shameless huckster Blair's "reform" of the Lords and re-instate hereditary peerage as well!

It's crucial that I explain why. A constitutional monarchy is not the endgame objective of any Libertarian. It is profoundly unlibertarian that someone can rule over you by accident of birth. However, through happy accident, it transpires that having a ruling monarch that is required to give assent to laws, along with two strong chambers of debate is a pretty good mix for reasonable governance in a democratic, rather than an anarchic state.

And while a lot of libertarians resent the land-ownership of the hereditary peers, the fact that they weren't all from the grasping, venal classes actually made them quite good custodians of our rights. If you look at the regime of New Labour, for instance, the official opposition was utterly useless in the Commons and all the serious defence of the common man ironically came from the Lords. And if we look at the rapid increase in common petty theft in the Lords, is it any surprise that it has all come about since Labour started throwing the money out there to be taken and then appointing people from the grasping, venal classes?

I'm not saying the Lords were saints before, but because they were disinterested and there wasn't really anything in it for them, they tended to either not bother at all or take it seriously for its own sake. Sure they could influence big deals for their own back pocket, but they weren't inspired to enact draconian laws because they'd get a chunk of cash for pitching up and then being "whipped" to vote.

Whether you regard it as class, or breeding, or just some kind of good sense and disinterest, the peers have acquitted themselves much better than our elected representatives, who do not represent us, but rather the interests of their party. And really, for this to work properly, you do need a stronger monarch. Unfortunately, Brenda has really screwed the pooch here and I positively fear Charlie. We need a monarch who would not give Royal Assent to draconian laws, or bad laws. The ideal situation is where all three are strong, because then it's difficult for any one of them to overwhelm the others. At the moment, the party in power has a toothless opposition and the Queen just gives the nod to any old shit. In fact, she doesn't even need to rubberstamp anything, as they can now just implement a statuatory order without debate or anything. Not that there's ever any debate anyway.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Ultimately, I didn't really have a problem with the pre-'97 constitutional monarchy, because no one group of the government had too much power. Blair screwed that completely by abolishing hereditary peerages and every other "reform" he did. Now the Commons dominates and is only held in the vaguest of check by the Lords.

Having seen any number of elected-only government models around the world, the UK's odd mixture of Crown, hereditary peer and elected thief was a very good one. If I had to endure a government, I would rather it was that one.

I would rather endure no government at all. But that wasn't what was asked.

16 comments:

Sniper said...

Four words

"President Blair, President Thatcher".

I hope Brenda lives to be 100.

thelunaticarms said...

I dislike the Monarchy as it is but if I had to choose between a 'president' who swans off round the world making millions after his term in office or a monarch who takes the Nation's secrets to the grave, well, hands down I'll choose the Monarchy.

Best to have those attached literally to the Land of Britain than those pseudo-practitioners of politics who are looking for nothing else than personal success.

Of course, no system is a 100% perfect but without a British State, what would stop the French, German or Russians (damn, even the Swiss) from installing one over Blighty.

Checks and balances is what is needed in any democratic state. The Monarch and Lords used to be that but as you say have been curtailed by NuGov's intent of pushing through their thousands of new laws.

Problem is, as long as we have the same old parties, we will endure the same old shit.

Guthrum said...

Four words

"President Blair, President Thatcher".

I hope Brenda lives to be 100.

Same old chestnut in defence of a super rich Tax avoiding Granny. It is not obligatory to have have a Head of State who is a politician, why not a poet, a musician, I would have voted for Fred Dibnah, somebody who evokes Englishness Britishness whatever.

Sniper hits the nail on the head, she is not going to live to 150. We are then going to get a spolit shallow adulterer as the Head of the Church of Englandand Commonwealth.

Edward the Ist was followed by the fey Edward II, Elizabeth the Ist was followed by the ruinous Stuarts

Edward VIII, another serial adulterer, National Socialist fellow traveller, abandoned his post in France in 1940.

The born in the right bed principle may have served us well from 1953 to date, but what sort of looney is going to come along next. The Army and Police and Judiciary swear personal allegiance to the monarch not you and me. As a Libertarian that is an appalling state of affairs.

The main problem that has been glossed over is that Blair adopted monarchical powers through the office of Prime Minister,as per our three word consitution- Parliament is Sovereign.

He was unfettered by Parliament, By the Opposition, by the Monarch,by the public.

He was for all intents and purposes King Tone. Look where that got us !

If you need to have a glittery fairy to be 'Head of State' go ahead, but have role restricted to whining and dining, and ensure that we have a written Constitution that binds everybody in power with enough checks and balances.

Fidel Cuntstruck said...

It's an interesting point Mr Clown, I have always been of the opinion that the best place for our Monarchy would be down the Labour Exchange, but that made me think a bit. I do agree with you - the theory is spot on, the problem is, in practice it just ain't working, and I don't see it getting any better with Charlie on the throne.

Uncle Marvo said...

Well put, The Clown.

I'd like to see more than one Prime Minister. Dilute the thing a bit, rather than having the sole responsibility in the hands of one pillock whose sole ambition in life is to become God.

But what you say is sense. At least some of the Lordlings have some sort of decent edukashun and can speel, unlike the hubristic twonks who mince around in what they laughingly call "Government" at the moment.

Bobski said...

The problem is that the Commons of present is much the same as the Commons of the Empire, the only difference is that now they aren't allowed to use their titles in the House.

A majority of MPs come from well-to-do backgrounds, educated in public schools, attended Oxbridge and eventually got their noses in the troughs as soon as they could. I am not against private schooling or institutions of academia but the problem is that MPs pull up the ladder a little further for those who have lived their lives away from the halls of power and finally decide to do something about it.

We need a bit of entrepreneurship in politics!

Umbongo said...

"It is not obligatory to have have a Head of State who is a politician, why not a poet, a musician, I would have voted for Fred Dibnah, somebody who evokes Englishness Britishness whatever."

Oh yes - our system always produces the right person for the job. The likelihood that a president wouldn't be a political dildo (cf the present European "president") is so vanishingly small we might as well keep the present ones in office: and that's not even the best argument for retaining the monarchy.

On a serious note: the problem with the present monarch is that she's more interested in keeping her dynasty in situ than the interests of the country. She has sat there doing nothing as Blair/Brown have shredded the constitution: the constitution which, by the way, legitimises her position. Whether Charles or William would do better I don't know but she seems to have forgotten that our head of state has real power which she can legally (if not conventionally) exercise. She could have insisted on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty: she could have prevented the abolition of the Lord Chancellorship: she could have stopped the entirely unnecessary creation of the "Supreme Court" etc etc. Of course, Guthrum's poet-president would be far more effective and, besides, we'd all feel so much better to see a luvvie installed at Buckingham Palace.

Guthrum said...

Umbongo

I was introducing a bit of levity to counter the sterile 'President Blair/Thatcher/Kinnock argument.

I take your points on the fact the Brenda has broken her Coronation oath, will sign anything that is put in front of her including the Lisbon, in exchange for the family pay packet.

Brenda is hardly an independent figure if their finances are in the gift of the Government of the day.

Constitutionally Brenda is just a very expensive rubber stamp, even the King of the Belians stood down temporarily on the issue of abortion. I have never seen Brenda do that.

Are we saying that we have not the wit to confound the power mad and corrupt by devising a binding Written Constitution ? And out of a population of 65m there is absolutely nobody that could carry out this role that has more gumption and moral backbone than Chas III and the rest of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha clan

Guthrum said...

Sorry my bad

Baudouin King of the Belgians 1990

Gandhi said...

Ah, consequentialism. Try individual rights. The problem is that "parliament is sovereign", rather than the individual(s). The argument for monarchy+ is basically that they stall parliamentary democracy, if you don't like parliamentary democracy it seems sensible. But it's NOT a libertarian argument! If anyone should have the power to block legislation, dismiss governments etc, it should be the public at large: no House of Lords, no feckin' Queen either. Please suggest a libertarian solution, not a feudalist one!

Umbongo said...

Guthrum

Levity point taken.

Just one observation. You say that "Brenda is hardly an independent figure if their finances are in the gift of the Government of the day.". Remember on the first day of her reign she gave up the income of the crown estates in return for Parliament coughing up the Civil List. I suspect that the income surrendered far outweighs her present income direct from the taxpayer. Again, this income surrender is, I believe, only convention, it's not legally binding on the sovereign.

You might be upset that she is (or was) entitled to the income from the crown estate but that's another argument.

Roue le Jour said...

There's nothing worse than an aristo. Except, of course, a commissar.

John Pickworth said...

I'm firmly with the Clown on this one for all the reasons he stated.

However we came to have the system we had, it worked. And the golden rule is you don't fix it if it ain't broke.

As for privilege due to accident of birth... just remember there were a good few of their ancestors thrown in the Tower or met other sticky ends over the centuries. I'd say some of them have earned their places as opposed to the lot that went out and spent a couple of hundred quid of 'Vote for Me' posters.

And while we're on the subject. Blair's legacy isn't the oft quoted shit we always hear about. Its his cowardly and unfinished reform of the Lords. He eagerly launched himself into this from the get-go and then dropped it like a hot turd once he realised he couldn't come up with a better system. While I'm pleased he failed, we should have known then what how hollow his promises were?

Angry Exile said...

However we came to have the system we had, it worked. And the golden rule is you don't fix it if it ain't broke.

But it did get broken after Phoney Tony came along and "reformed it" by getting rid of most of the hereditary Peers, the ones who normally had no agenda to advance, and began stuffing it with yet more cronies and placemen. The Lords has indeed been a better check on executive power than either the Commons or Mrs Queen but I think this is more in spite of it's current make up than because of it (it helps that some of the feckless cunts that have been made peers in the last decade or so can't be arsed to rock and vote half the time). If that grinning mutation and his cyclopean successor had chosen new Peers with that in mind they could have neutered the power of the Lords to interfere with the government's plans. As it is the bastards simply wheeled out the fucking Parliament Act whenever they didn't get their way. What's to stop DING (or, God forbid, Colostomy Brown) doing more of the same for the next five years?

So if the Lords is broken the question is how to fix it. Do we go back to how it was when it last worked the way we want it to and invite the hereditary Peers back? And if so what happens to all the Life Peers in their now? Do we keep 'em and end up with maybe a thousand or so people in there when the hereditary mob come back? Do we tell them they can keep the titles but some have to lose the vote? If so who and how many? Obviously all the fucking failed politicos and serial election losers should go (thinking particularly of Mandelsnake, Patten and the Kinnocks there) but who else? Or do we complete the job that Blair promised but stopped as soon as he'd managed to pull most of the Lords' teeth and make it properly and democratically accountable? I think that's the way to go now, starting with a simple referendum on whether to keep the Upper House as an appointed chamber called the Lords or to replace it with a wholly elected body. Personally I like the elected body. You only have to look at the difficulty Kevin Dudd has had with the Australian Senate to see that having unelected aristos in Parliament isn't the only option.

Mrs Queen is another matter entirely. I may feel she's failed in her duties and I may be a republican in principle but even here she's still popular. Charles III, or even just the thought, may finally be enough swing Australia into a republic but it looks like all the Queen has to do to keep the monarchy going is to keep breathing.

Anonymous said...

Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Democracy: The God That Failed

First chapter...
http://mises.org/daily/4068

TDK said...

We need a monarch who would not give Royal Assent to draconian laws, or bad laws.

A bit late to comment but...

It's not clear that the monarchy had any power in recent years, so a monarch with an effective power of veto would amount to new grant. Why would we want to grant power to such an institution. The bottom line is that Greens, Socialists and Royalists all share a belief that elites should rule the hoi polloi. Even your argument relies on elitism:

the hereditary peers, the fact that they weren't all from the grasping, venal classes actually made them quite good custodians of our rights.

And think about the biggest issue of our day that illustrates the vast disconnect between the elite and the hoi polloi: would Charles give assent to the "2014 Act to Repeal All AGW Legislation".