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  #361  
Old 09-02-2019, 10:50 AM
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Will Hutton in The Observer:


" [...] Last week, the scale of the weakness of Britain’s constitutional apparatus to obstruct gerrymandering was exposed to all. To prorogue Parliament for no better reason than to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of a no-deal Brexit may have been an intolerable abuse of power, and an affront to democracy, but in Britain it is constitutionally possible. As a result, for all the threats of judicial review and court actions, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to challenge.


For the Prime Minister controls everything, from the business of the House of Commons to the ability to prorogue it. He or she is lent monarchial sovereignty, the same sovereignty that Charles I tried to justify because the monarch was supposedly God’s representative on Earth: the divine right of kings, now transmuted into the divine right of Boris. Part of the-then cleverness of the 17th-century deal was that it co-opted the crown into being the above-the-fray, holder-of-the-ring of proper parliamentary procedure and process. But today, that capacity has evaporated.


So when Jacob Rees-Mogg travelled to Balmoral last week to ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament, there was virtually no prospect of her refusing – as an elected head of state might have done. She did have the option of saying that on such a controversial use of prerogative power she wanted to go beyond the minimum quorate of three for a privy council meeting (the chief whip and leader of the House of Lords accompanied Rees-Mogg on a separate plane to Balmoral to avoid suspicion) and call for a full meeting including former ministers from other parties, purportedly the constitutional forum to advise her on use of the royal prerogative. But even that would have been seen as a political act. She folded. Exposed as a constitutional cipher, the case for an elected head of state has suddenly become unanswerable. [...] "




https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...been-laid-bare
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  #362  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:23 PM
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"The Queen folded"... that sounds very anti-monarchist to me.

It makes me wonder if this author had written the same for the case a "progressive" "remainer" had asked the Queen to suspend the Parliament to re-join the EU formally or something...
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  #363  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:37 PM
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Well the Observer is a pro-republic newspaper so I'm not at all surprised that is carries a piece like this.
  #364  
Old 09-02-2019, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
Will Hutton in The Observer:


" Exposed as a constitutional cipher, the case for an elected head of state has suddenly become unanswerable. [...] "

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...been-laid-bare
Will Hutton is a republican. He has written on the monarchy before & sees recent events as another opportunity to push his agenda.

The case for an elected head of state is answerable. The arguements in favour of an apolitical unifying head of state & against an elected politicised head of state are well known.

What might be unanswerable however is the idea that the royal prerogative gives too much power to the Prime Minister & indeed other government ministers. I would not be surprised if recent events led to at least an enquiry into possible reform.

Anything that removes the monarch from politics is to be welcome in my opinion.
  #365  
Old 09-02-2019, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durham View Post
Will Hutton is a republican. He has written on the monarchy before & sees recent events as another opportunity to push his agenda.

The case for an elected head of state is answerable. The arguements in favour of an apolitical unifying head of state & against an elected politicised head of state are well known.

What might be unanswerable however is the idea that the royal prerogative gives too much power to the Prime Minister & indeed other government ministers. I would not be surprised if recent events led to at least an enquiry into possible reform.

Anything that removes the monarch from politics is to be welcome in my opinion.



Again, the royal prerogative can be easily limited in the UK by ordinary legislation. It is much easier actually to limit the Queen's powers in the UK than it is to take away powers for example from the presidents of France or Portugal, whose prerogatives are enshrined in a written constitution.



As for removing the Queen (or King) entirely from any participation in government decisions, the only European monarchy to have done it is Sweden (as far as I know). It is a possibility, but I don't see it as necessary or urgent.
  #366  
Old 09-02-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
Again, the royal prerogative can be easily limited in the UK by ordinary legislation. It is much easier actually to limit the Queen's powers in the UK than it is to take away powers for example from the presidents of France or Portugal, whose prerogatives are enshrined in a written constitution.



As for removing the Queen (or King) entirely from any participation in government decisions, the only European monarchy to have done it is Sweden (as far as I know). It is a possibility, but I don't see it as necessary or urgent.
The present system is open to abuse by unscrupulous politicians. There is a strong case for reform. It probably won't happen though because once any opposition gets into power they suddenly lose interest in enacting changes that diminish their own power.


I agree it's not a pressing matter but I think it's unfinished business in the British constitution along with House of Lords reform. I say this as a monarchist who wants to protect the crown from unfair criticism. On the other hand I am also a democrat who doesn't think that an unelected head of state actually has any business in government decisions. The two points of view are not contradictory.

Apologies if this has gone slightly of topic.
  #367  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Durham View Post
The arguements in favour of an apolitical unifying head of state & against an elected politicised head of state are well known....

Anything that removes the monarch from politics is to be welcome in my opinion.

Imho there is no such thing like "apolitical unifying head of state"! Everything is political and the human being is a "zoon politikon" (Aristotle), a political, state building being.

It is political, if the Queen visits the fire victims of this Grenfell Tower in London, because it can be understood as a critique of the greed of the construction enterprise, which used too cheap materials.

It is political, if the Queen does not visit Rotherham for example.

And to remove "the monarch from politics"... - this can only come from somebody, who lives in a country, that still has a monarch. As a German I would exchange our elected President Steinmeier immediatly for Queen Elisabeth II.: To have somebody, who talks to our Mrs. Merkel with the authority of a Boss of a family, which survived successfully centuries of political quarrels.

I think, this is the role of a monarch within the paradigm of a constitution: To see over the necessities of day-to-day politics and to bring in the longterm view. That is, why the Prime Minister has to consult the Queen: as an intellectual safety rope.
  #368  
Old 09-03-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victor1319 View Post
Imho there is no such thing like "apolitical unifying head of state"! Everything is political and the human being is a "zoon politikon" (Aristotle), a political, state building being.

It is political, if the Queen visits the fire victims of this Grenfell Tower in London, because it can be understood as a critique of the greed of the construction enterprise, which used too cheap materials.

It is political, if the Queen does not visit Rotherham for example.

And to remove "the monarch from politics"... - this can only come from somebody, who lives in a country, that still has a monarch. As a German I would exchange our elected President Steinmeier immediatly for Queen Elisabeth II.: To have somebody, who talks to our Mrs. Merkel with the authority of a Boss of a family, which survived successfully centuries of political quarrels.

I think, this is the role of a monarch within the paradigm of a constitution: To see over the necessities of day-to-day politics and to bring in the longterm view. That is, why the Prime Minister has to consult the Queen: as an intellectual safety rope.
Intellectual safety rope?Talking Boris?Or Lala of the Telly Tubbies?

There is a Unifying Monarch,above ALL parties.
In every Monarchy,here,the UK,Scandinavia,Spain,all.

Just not in Germany,a loss to them..
  #369  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victor1319 View Post
Imho there is no such thing like "apolitical unifying head of state"! Everything is political and the human being is a "zoon politikon" (Aristotle), a political, state building being.

It is political, if the Queen visits the fire victims of this Grenfell Tower in London, because it can be understood as a critique of the greed of the construction enterprise, which used too cheap materials.

It is political, if the Queen does not visit Rotherham for example.

And to remove "the monarch from politics"... - this can only come from somebody, who lives in a country, that still has a monarch. As a German I would exchange our elected President Steinmeier immediatly for Queen Elisabeth II.: To have somebody, who talks to our Mrs. Merkel with the authority of a Boss of a family, which survived successfully centuries of political quarrels.

I think, this is the role of a monarch within the paradigm of a constitution: To see over the necessities of day-to-day politics and to bring in the longterm view. That is, why the Prime Minister has to consult the Queen: as an intellectual safety rope.
You make some good points. I should have made clear that "apolitical" means essentially non partisan in party political terms.

I still do think that being removed as far as possible from politics is in the long term interests of the monarchy. It would only take one unwise decision from a monarch to cause irreparable damage.
  #370  
Old 09-03-2019, 05:10 PM
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I wonder would a PM have to go to Balmoral to call for a General Election or would the Monarch return early to London?
  #371  
Old 09-03-2019, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by An Ard Ri View Post
I wonder would a PM have to go to Balmoral to call for a General Election or would the Monarch return early to London?
The then Prime Minister Alec Douglas Home flew to Balmoral in September 1964 to ask for a dissolution of parliament. This was granted, followed by the October 64 election.

Douglas Home lost btw (he was a Conservative) & Labour won - don't know whether that's a bad oman or not
  #372  
Old 09-03-2019, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durham View Post
You make some good points. I should have made clear that "apolitical" means essentially non partisan in party political terms.

I still do think that being removed as far as possible from politics is in the long term interests of the monarchy. It would only take one unwise decision from a monarch to cause irreparable damage.
Apolitical, yes that is the point. Somewhere along the road we, the people, have drifted from reality and said the Queen, and by extension, the rest of the Royal Family, have no business being "involved" in politics.

HM didn't get to be the person she is by staying that timid young queen bullied by her Grandmother, mother and the Prime Minister! In fact, I would venture to say that her first serious interaction with the Prime Minister had a devastating effect on her marriage and family that was figuratively a trial by fire, but out of that fire came a woman with a spine forged in steel and she was no PM's puppet.

She is living proof that 'knowledge is power' and to this day she devours the contents of her boxes and has surrounded herself with educated and politically astute people from across the political divide. So many politicians and so-called "smart people" rubbished the Commonwealth and thought it an anachronism, seeing it in terms of the Commonwealth Games and nothing else.

Yet HM's relationship with the Prime Ministers and Governments of those countries has seen it flourish, police itself and now the UK is facing a hard Brexit, are looking to that Commonwealth, among others, for a trade lifeline within those very relationships.

I would venture to say that HM is one of the most politically astute people available to the UK Prime Minister and she is not shy about stating her opinion on their performance as obliquely referenced in the biographies of many an past PM. Non-political? Not likely! But non-partisan, with the caveat that the Country comes first and while she can rarely legally say no nor decline to sign an Act of Parliament, the PM comes away from any meeting with HM with no doubt as to her opinion and the reason for it.
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  #373  
Old 09-04-2019, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Durham View Post
You make some good points. I should have made clear that "apolitical" means essentially non partisan in party political terms.

I still do think that being removed as far as possible from politics is in the long term interests of the monarchy. It would only take one unwise decision from a monarch to cause irreparable damage.

Oh, sorry, about this "apolitical" misunderstanding. My former English teacher is not a women, which is very proud of me.

And you are right, about the possibility of "one unwise decision from a monarch to cause irreparable damage".

I think, it is for the Queen a fine line, not to be seen as some kind of pope (which she is for the Anglican Church in a strange way) with mere power over the hearts, but as a political force, which does not step down into the abyss of daily politics. And the thingy with the Prime Minister consulting the Queen is a very good institution!

And I think, the Monarchy is some kind of Plan B too: If the democrats fail, sombody can take over - "a unifying, apolitical" monarch...
  #374  
Old 09-04-2019, 08:14 AM
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The way I see it, the Queen is a head of state that every single citizen of the United Kingdom can look at and know that she's there to serve and protect him/her. She is the population of the United Kingdom personified. She holds in trust the entire history of the United Kingdom, is above partisan politics, protector and supreme governor of the United Kingdom's Church of England and keeper of a vast amount of historic papers, artwork, palaces and sites.

In other words, she *is* the people of the United Kingdom and she takes her role seriously without bringing her own personal ego into play. She keeps informed on everything that is happening in her government and thoroughly reads and makes notes on the papers in her red boxes. At 93, she continues to put her duties before herself.

This doesn't include the Commonwealth which she also holds very dear to her heart and wants to continue into the future.

Y'know, typing all this, I wish we had something like this in the US. Seriously.
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  #375  
Old 09-04-2019, 09:21 AM
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My sore point is that the Queen "allowed" the royal prerogative to be abused. With the bare minimum of Privy Councillors, all travelled apart to avoid suspicion, the Queen was essentially asked to interrupt parliamenty scrutiny on government's policies so fundamental for the future of the United Kingdom.

But if we have to believe the account. Her Most Excellent and Most Gracious Majesty knew nothing better than a nod and "approve" and then to continue her Scottish holiday.

The Queen could have known that the three Privy Councillors were trying to sell her a fish, which was already rotting at the head. And as an unaware and unexperienced housewife, she bought that smelly fish.

It is the optics that the Queen did nothing to obvious misuse of the royal prerogative in an attempt to curtail the legislative power. Will Hutton's words that the Queen could have requested ample counsel by a wider Council before giving her assent was what I wrote earlier in this thread. Just keeping her assent under consideration for one day would already have shown that the Queen did not go over one night's thin ice but has thoroughly considered the situation.

What was described:
Balmoral
Queen waits in library
Three councillors have arrived
A buzz
Queen enters a room with a table covered by a red cloth and a candle
The Privy Council brings the case
Queen made a nod and said "approved"
And that was it.

Luckily Parliament does not let itself to be silenced. It is like this discutable action has opened Pandora's Box. It slammed like a boomerang in Johnson and Mogg's faces. But not thanks to the head of state, who did shockingly little to assure that Parliament must be heard in the most crucial political stages of her kingship
  #376  
Old 09-04-2019, 09:56 AM
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It's not as if our own King Willem-Alexander would do it any differently if put in the same situation.
Uppn his accession, he stated that would try to be absolutely politically neutral and would sign all laws that are put before him. That is just what Queen Elizabeth has done.
  #377  
Old 09-04-2019, 10:27 AM
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It's not as if our own King Willem-Alexander would do it any differently if put in the same situation.
Uppn his accession, he stated that would try to be absolutely politically neutral and would sign all laws that are put before him. That is just what Queen Elizabeth has done.

That is not the same. The King would assent any Bill which has gone through proper democratic procedures. Here we are talking about a Prime Minister asking a monarch to close Parliament for five weeks. This is not even possible in the continental monarchies as not the executive power (the Government) but the legislative power itself (Parliament) is boss over the own agenda.

The Folketing, or the Riksdag, or the Tweede Kamer simply will assemble when a quorum of members wants to assemble indeed. It is unthinkable that the Spanish Congress or the Belgian Parliament will not assemble to discuss politics for five weeks, because it has been interrupted by royal command. Im-pos-si-ble.
  #378  
Old 09-04-2019, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
What was described:
Balmoral
Queen waits in library
Three councillors have arrived
A buzz
Queen enters a room with a table covered by a red cloth and a candle
The Privy Council brings the case
Queen made a nod and said "approved"
And that was it.
And what should she have done otherwise? Stop the Prime Minister in his tracks? Well, that would exactly acting against the then majority of Parliament and I think against the assumed will of the people!

And imho she has thought about it, quite opposite what you are maybe implying... For an experienced monarch like Queen Elisabeth II. it is surely cristal clear, that not only the UK but the whole Europeland is at some important crossroad here.
  #379  
Old 09-04-2019, 01:22 PM
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Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend UK Parliament ahead of Brexit deadline is lawful, judge in Scotland rules

BBC
  #380  
Old 09-04-2019, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MARG View Post

I would venture to say that HM is one of the most politically astute people available to the UK Prime Minister .
She is most certainly highly astute. She has first class advisers off course. The infamous hoax played on her by the Canadian radio host pretending to be the Canadian PM clearly illustrates how she confers with her private secretary Robert Fellowes before committing to anything.

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