It's often said that if the UK decided to reform and vote itself a president as Head of State, we would probably vote in Elizabeth Windsor.
Barring official visits, general elections and occasional illness, she's had a briefing from the Prime Minister of the day every week for the last fifty years. Her knowledge and counsel will be second to none and, the majority agree, while her role is pretty toothless, she does it well.
With her mother still just about clinging on to this mortal coil, she might still have another 20-30 years to go, but what happens to the monarchy on her demise? Does Prince Charles engender such feelings of trust and good will? Could we really see his son William (even with the good sense to stand up Britney) on the throne in 50 years?
With the current government sweeping away much of the hereditary power of the House of Lords (our upper house) as well as allowing for the possibility of elections to that chamber, the winds of change are blowing ... but is that freshness or just change for its own sake?
The House of Lords should be about being a counter-balance to the whims of the government of the day, so increasing its meritocratic composition should be encouraged. The monarchy, though, is a different matter.
The Prime Minister is not the head of state, indeed, they are appointed by the sovereign. All laws must be signed by the sovereign - but in the last 170 years there's been little threat to say that they'll never not be. So what is the Queen if not just a tourist figurehead, the symbol of our role as Theme Park UK.
The US constitution separates the three parts of government: the executive, the judiciary, the senate. In the UK there's no such clean division; there is no explicit executive, the house of commons is elected (and includes the Attorney-General), the house of lords appointed (and includes by default all the senior judges) and the monarchy is hereditary.
The monarchy after our current Queen is not long for this world. Charles' stock has risen since his ex-wife's death, but there are too many for whom the Queen is acceptable, but her son will not be. Whatever the successor system, there will not be concensus, but we need to start planning for it now.
There is another answer. Pop Idol. A week by week audition of likely hopefuls, being whittled down by expert panellists employed for their rapier wit and ability to make 80s pap music. Government by the MTV generation; you've got to be able to look good on camera, react with dignity to the brickbats and to have the stamina to win out from your contempories.
One day all countries will be governed like this.