Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Queen!

Eamonn Butler writes an uncomfortable analysis of her reign:

Saturday marks the anniversary of the Queen's accession in 1952. I hate to say it, but as a constitutional monarch, she has been pathetic. Over her reign, she has allowed government politicians to accumulate frightening power. She has merely stood by as they cast aside all restraint, including the basic rights, liberties and institutions that were fought for precisely to protect us from arbitrary authority.

At first, of course, they were intended to protect us from the power of absolute monarchs. In time, though, Parliament replaced the monarch as sovereign; but these same rules worked equally well at restraining politicians too. Ministers knew that they were only the temporary custodians of the public trust; and that their power was checked and balanced by MPs, the civil service, and the courts.

Indeed, the monarchy itself became one of these balancing institutions. It may seem bizarre in a democracy that the monarch is notionally the head of the government, the church, the peerage and the army; but the reason we keep it that way is not so that monarchs can wield power, but so as to keep unlimited power out of the hands of politicians. For most of the time, our monarchs have had a better grasp of the mood of the people, and of the importance of their rights and freedoms, than have ministers: so this has proved a useful arrangement.

The key constitutional role of monarchs today, then, is to stop politicians from usurping power and turning themselves into an elected dictatorship. But the Queen – perhaps confusing the exercise of this role with political interference – has allowed precisely that to happen.


And you know, although I think the royals get an undeserved level of abuse, I'm afraid I have to agree with him. She has done the less important, more onerous part of her job extremely well.

But she hasn't rewarded her subjects with any protection from a rampant parliament.

5 comments:

MTG said...

I understand the point being made but let us be realistic enough to acknowledge the Queen could not have done otherwise. Perhaps the rant would have been better directed at the poor cost benefit of Royals or questioned their relevance to modern government.

Let us blame ourselves fairly and squarely for government by bullies and crooks.

Our own apathy and the pursuit of selfish interests allowed the circumstances to flourish.

Weston Bay said...

Better to be governed by elected crooks than unelected saints.

Remember we can sack the crooks at the next election. We can't sack the saint- even if he goes 'darkside'.

Mitch said...

For all our so called civilised society I think we will see rioting in the UK against ever increasing idiotic government.
The laws they pass to control us will be the very cause of this.
The politicians believe the Army will help them but I'm not so sure.We may yet see our "dear" leaders swinging from the streetlights and the whole sorry affair will start again.The longer they last the worse the violence will be, I also believe the spark that sets this off will be something small like some pensioner dying in a cell after failing to pay some poxy fine .

tater tot said...

As an American that lived in England for a short while, I was able to see many of the differences in our governments. I always thought the monarchs were just figureheads until I explored the English governmental system and studied how much power she actually has to this day. The UK claims to be a "constitutional monarchy," but there is no written constitution. It is kind of like a hand shake agreement, they are no longer valid since most politicians would set their own mothers on fire to win an election. I once read an opening line in a BBC report that said, "We live in a democracy..." Really? Only 1/3 of the British government is elected, and they are not in direct leadership roles. Sure the PM is elected, but he/she is selected by the medieval German-blooded monarch as with the other leadership roles. Are our presidents always the best picks? Hello no, but in 4 years they have a chance to be unemployed. You should be able to select your own PM. The monarch still has executive authority, and if you think it is merely "ceremonial," think again (i.e. royal prerogative). Look how much the monarchs get involved in politics, but then act as if they are above it all. Do you think they would not be opposed to legislation that would throw their inbred German asses out into the street where they would have to work for a living instead of living on the dole? If they found out about the exorbitant taxes working people have to pay to keep their socialist nanny state running, they would not be so smug. The House of Lords is full of old farts that own all of the land, and are there as a check to "the rabble." I think you guys are grown up enough to rule without a House full of inbred "blue blooded" lords, and without a medieval monarch. Can she stay on the coins? Sure, if she and her ilk work for a living instead of being ticks with crowns. It is time for a new English Bill of Rights since the 1689 version has been pissed on and forgotten. You should have the right to own a firearm (more than 100 year old shotguns) without filling out 20 pieces of paper and stuffing it in 2 underground vaults. The government should be afraid of the people, not the other way around. While you are at it, get rid of the COE as well. The Archbishop is useless as tits on a bull and is becoming a blow up doll for the Muslims. Just, "freedom of religion," and that is it. Do not take offense at what I am saying. I love England and you guys are our best allies in the world. You are also some of the smartest people in the world and have great universities. My family left England in 1650 and never made it back. I just think you guys are getting strung along with this government that wants to keep you in perpetual childhood with cradle to the grave perks that retards economic growth and opportunities. If you want to start a small business and thrive, move to the US, or take care of business with the monarchs. You need a "House of the People," not a house of "commons." No more lords, titles, or perks, just because one happened to be born in one bed instead of another. Everyone should be equal. Write a "written" constitution and Bill of Rights instead of relying on the government to keep their word, because they will not. You should also directly elect your executive leader instead of relying on some old lady to make the decision for you because she thinks you are not capable of "grown up" decisions. Before you defend the monarchs, think about this..."do they really have your self interest in mind or theirs?" I think England will prosper and break this continental, multicultural, socialist cloud that floats above your land if these changes are made. Best of luck!
-A Yank in Illinois

Yankophile said...

Three cheers for the Yank! Exactly what we need and all we need to get it is a bloody revolution. Hang the bastards high!