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The Queen - Cheaper than a K5 Subscription!

By m0rzo in Op-Ed
Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:57:01 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

For over 1,200 years since the days of King Ecgberht, king of the West Saxons, England has had a monarchy presiding over it. Though its role has altered significantly over the years, its influence - at the heart and core of the British constitution - has unquestionably built the nation that we know of today. Whilst other European nations were breaking free from feudalistic domination, the subjects of the British crown, by and large, continued to embrace it. In Britain, the division between patriots and royalists seems hard to define.

This week, Buckingham Palace released new figures stating that the Queen is currently costing the individual British tax-payer just 58p ($0.88) a year. Despite the Royal Family's apparent popularity, a small faction of intransigent anti-royalists has existed who have long used the supposed financial burden of supporting royalty as the focus for their dissent. Many less than flattering terms have been used to describe the Royal Family, the words `leeches' and `scroungers' being the most obvious.


The Queen costs the British tax-payer a modest 35million per year. Is she worth it? To many, the fact that the Queen costs 58p a year to support will not subdue irreverent feelings for her - it's the principle of the matter. Many, understandably, baulk at the notion of any single person ruling by divine right. Nevertheless, Britain's Royal Family continues to enthral droves of wastrel tourists who flock to London each year from countries such as the USA and Japan, eager to part with their dollars. The revenue generated from tourism alone makes the figure of 35million seem trivial and frankly not worth mentioning. I hasten to add that the Queen now pays income tax and seems to be taking steps to shed the image of a lifestyle consisting of avarice and disinterest for her subjects.

Reproduced care of 'The Daily Telegraph' are some figures which put the costs of this institution in to perspective:

1,668.05 - Annual cost of smoking 20 cigarettes a day
894.25 - Annual cost of a pint of lager a day
10.20 - Cost of the ill-fated Dome for every UK resident
9.30 - Annual spending per head on cinema visits
1.07 - Cost per head to Italians of their elected ceremonial president
31.31 - Cost of Kuro5hin.org premium subscription a year

For every 58p, the Queen gives back 2.43 in surrendered revenue from the Crown Estate. The Queen might be a symbol of an age which some might choose to forget and Prince Phillip's gaucherie may be the subject of many a snide remark but surely we should just keep them for the financial payback alone. The Queen's actual real influence is minimal, important decisions being made by parliament. Think of Elizabeth II as an investment and the venerable British public as stakeholders and it becomes clear that, for the moment, she's worth every penny.

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The Queen - Cheaper than a K5 Subscription! | 123 comments (93 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
Cheaper, perhaps (4.16 / 6) (#1)
by Delirium on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:15:56 PM EST

But they might both still be overpriced.

This is misleading (4.30 / 13) (#2)
by shrike7 on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:24:02 PM EST

The money referred to is her income from the Civil List. It does not include her income from her many estates, or maintenance to Crown property, like the Windsor Castle fire nine years ago. When republicans object to the 'costs' of the monarchy, which in my opinion is not one of the stronger arguments against the institution, they mean all of the costs, both hidden and apparent.
CXVI
K5 in USD, Queen in sterling pounds (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by khallow on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:46:14 PM EST

Don't know if the Queen is going to continue to be the bargin here. My dollars are heading south!

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Britain I understand.... (4.57 / 7) (#6)
by MSBob on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:54:56 PM EST

In the British isles it probably does make sense to keep the monarch because it translates to increased toursim revenue. But it is really hard to comprehend why the Queen is officially the head of Australia and Canada! I mean c'mon she only visits those places once every twenty years or so.... And when she dies and Charlie takes over can you imagine how ugly all those banknotes are going to look like with his face all over them. Damn!
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

no (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by kitty vacant on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:22:48 PM EST

we shall pickle the queen when she dies and make use of her still.
==
Go on... Give us a snare rush!
[ Parent ]
The Queen... (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by Kugyou on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:33:15 PM EST

Has a still?
-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]
The Queen's still (none / 0) (#106)
by ukryule on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:14:22 AM EST

Has a still?
She has now. She inherited it from her mother ...

[ Parent ]
Patronising (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by am3nhot3p on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:59:37 AM EST

To say that the monarchy should be retained because it draws tourists is extremely patronising to British people. This is a country, not a bloody historical theme park!

Besides, sex tourism attracted many people to various SE Asian nations, but most people wouldn't suggest that it was a desirable revenue stream!

To foreigners, the Queen, guys in red jackets and big hairy hats, a bunch of old buildings, etc. may seem 'cute', but to those of us who live and work there, it is totally disconnected from the reality of life in the country. Getting rid of the monarchy would be a great way of reinforcing this reality.

[ Parent ]

Total disconnection (none / 0) (#80)
by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:51:07 AM EST

I'd say that's a good argument for keeping the monarchy; 'head of state in touch with the reality of life' (and, for 'head of state', you could probably substitute 'politician' or 'CEO') is oxymoronic and any attempt to pretend otherwise is dishonest.

Heaven preserve anyone from a 'head of state', or whatever they happen to be called, queuing in Tesco with a trolley and trying to appear 'normal'; when the royal family, or the Prime Minister, tries to do so the result usually makes the flesh crawl.

[ Parent ]

Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by cam on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:29:39 AM EST

But it is really hard to comprehend why the Queen is officially the head of Australia and Canada!

Indeed, a monarchy should have no place in the Australian Constitution. Paul Keating's words,

"Each and every Australian should be able to aspire to be our Head of State. Every Australian should know that the office will always be filled by a citizen of high standing who has made an outstanding contribution to Australia, and who in making it has enlarged our view of what it is to be Australian."

"In these and other ways, the creation of an Australian republic can actually deliver a heightened sense of unity, it can enliven our national spirit and, in our own minds and those of our neighbours, answer beyond doubt the perennial question of Australian identity - the question of what we are and what we stand for. The answer is not what having a foreign Head of State suggests. We are not a political or cultural appendage to another country's past. We are simply and unambiguously Australian."

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Why not have her as head of state? (none / 0) (#83)
by MstlyHrmls on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:27:24 PM EST

But it is really hard to comprehend why the Queen is officially the head of Australia and Canada!

We already have local control over the choice of her Governer-General and Lieutenant-Governers (course, how they're appointed is another issue altogether) The Brits get to deal with them most of the time, with us coughing up for the occasional tour 'round the colony every once-and-a-while.

For us she's a bargain. Every country needs a Head-of-State, and I firmly believe it should be seperate from the Head-of-Government. It gives us a firm link to our historical roots (Regardless[1] of how much is pisses off the Quebec seperatists), and IMHO it's easier to be loyal to someone whose entire existence depends on their looking out for the best interests of their countries, rather than someone who entire existence depends on how many people they can suck up to for the next Election.

Besides it gives us someone to have on the back of our currency, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Royal Canadian Air Farce sounds way cooler than Canadian Mounted Police or Canadian Air Farce. ;-)

Mike

[1] or in some people's case because of
--
Don't anthropomorphise computers. They hate that.
[ Parent ]

Tourist Attractions (3.44 / 9) (#7)
by Bad Harmony on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 02:15:31 PM EST

England could increase tourism if it recreated some of the spectacles of the past. Put some spammers in the Tower of London. Behead one of them in public every week. I'd buy a plane ticket to see that. If you run out of spammers, we'd be happy to extradite some of ours.

5440' or Fight!

Balls! (nt) (2.00 / 12) (#8)
by dr k on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 02:25:38 PM EST


Destroy all trusted users!
LOL! (2.75 / 4) (#11)
by ip4noman on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 03:03:38 PM EST

As I see the above comment, it presently looks like this:
Balls! (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#8)
by dr k on Sat Jun 29th, 2002 at 02:25:38 PM EST
(kuro5hin@antimodal.com)

Destroy all trusted users! Rate 1 for every comment!
I wish I could rate this whole package a 5, cuz it really made me laugh. Of course, doing so would ruin it.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Queen as tourist attraction (4.00 / 6) (#12)
by DullTrev on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 03:09:21 PM EST

Fine, if people are going to say that the monarchy is useful as a tourist attraction, I can certainly live with it. But if that is their only use, then why the hell do we have to have the Queen as our head as state?

Would people stop coming to see the pointless archaic ceremonies just because she isn't our head of state? I doubt it. Would the UK be better with an elected head of state? Hell yes.

The financial argument is generally one used by the monarchists, who want to suggest that republicans are all money grabbing cretins who are just jealous of rich people. Well, sorry, the main problem people have with the monarchy is that they want to be a citizen of the UK, not a subject of the crown.


--
DullTrev - used to be interesting. Honest.
Or, as one of your anarchists put it... (5.00 / 3) (#20)
by kevsan on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 04:16:23 PM EST

"God save the queen, 'coz tourists are money!" --Johnny Rotten

-K
[ Parent ]
I wonder (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by pinkcress on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:46:52 PM EST

Would the UK be better with an elected head of state? Hell yes.

Why?

[ Parent ]

are you sure about that? (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by mikpos on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 10:55:37 PM EST

Would the UK be better with an elected head of state? Hell yes.
It's been stated many times before, and I agree with it entirely. If UK citizens were able to vote for their head of state, almost certainly the vast, vast majority of them would vote for Elizabeth II.

[ Parent ]
But at least.. (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by kimpton on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:34:57 AM EST

...they had the chance to choose.

What do you base this observation on? The four million Daily Mail reading idiots do not make a majority in the UK.

A simple election campaign - Give 35 million to an already very rich family or 35 million to a cash strapped hospital. You decide...

[ Parent ]
$35 million to Her Royal Majesty, the Queen! (none / 0) (#84)
by CodeWright on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:39:18 PM EST

But only if she dissolves parliament, raises her feudal levies, and drives the Cromwellian collectivists into the sea!

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Giving to the hospital is Disney's job (none / 0) (#119)
by pin0cchio on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 07:53:27 PM EST

A simple election campaign - Give 35 million to an already very rich family or 35 million to a cash strapped hospital.

Seeing as JM Barrie's Peter Pan is under perpetual copyright in the UK, it seems that the Walt Disney Company will get a taste of its own Bono Act medicine when it tries to bring Return to Never Land into Region 2. Royalties on Peter Pan products in the UK go to GOSH, a hospital for sick children.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but I have a question... (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by shrike7 on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:11:20 AM EST

Would, in the election following her death, they vote for Charles III? I don't care if Elizabeth Windsor is the head of state of Great Britain. What I care about is that she is head of state because her ancestor some twenty generations ago defeated another 'noble' thug in a war.What I care about is that the system, as it now stands, says that she and her family and the families of all the titled twits are better people than me because of who their ancestors were. The point is not who appoints the Prime Minister and reads the Speech from the Throne. The point is how that person is chosen, and the rationale behind that choice.
CXVI
[ Parent ]
Well, ... (none / 0) (#81)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:51:50 AM EST

Charlie intends to rule as George VII, rather than Charles III. The reasons are pretty obvious, since the last 2 Charles' to actually rule were members of the Stuart dynasty the current lot eventually replaced, and one of them was beheaded. The last claimant to the throwm to be called Charles was Charles Edward Stuart AKA Bonnie Prince Charlie, who tried to overthrown William of Orange.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
He should break the pattern (none / 0) (#85)
by CodeWright on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:40:45 PM EST

Most of the Georges were raving lunatics.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
One loony, one pig, four pretty dull (none / 0) (#89)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:13:41 PM EST

But your comment was funny nonetheless. George I and II were undistinguished, and spent most of their time in Hannover. Indeed, George I never really mastered English. This was much to the satisfaction of their prime ministers, whose main needs in a monarch were fecundity, protestantism, and a complete lack of interest in British politics.

George III was the one who went mad (actually he had porphoryia (?), which explains why his urine is reported to have been purple), and mislaid the American colonies in the process, but when sane he was popular, and almost lost his German accent. People called him "Farmer George", because he was fascinated by the agricultural reforms going on at the time. George IV (who was also Regent while his father was mad) was frivolous, gluttonous, alchoholic, addicted to opium, and conducted a vicious public conflict with his Catholic wife, "Queen" Caroline, who he'd married in secret and then grown bored with, and was anyway forced to divorce.

Georges V and VI are completely uninteresting, being recent monarchs, and therefore powerless and obliged to behave like mobile tailor's dummies. George VI didn't like being King much, but thats probably because it was dumped on him when his older brother quit.  

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

When (none / 0) (#91)
by shrike7 on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:36:27 PM EST

did British monarchs start ruling under different names then their birth names? I know George VI did it, being born Albert, but what are some other examples? And wouldn't it be simpler, really, for the monarch to name their first-borns something appropriately 'regal,' rather than going through this nonsense about inauspicious names, which by my count now includes Stephen, John, Richard, Henry and Charles?
CXVI
[ Parent ]
The 'head of state problem' (none / 0) (#61)
by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:52:42 AM EST

The thought of a superannuated politician becoming head of state is terrifying!

The big problem with change is that politicians would instigate it (whether or not as a result of popular agitation), be in charge of it and would hijack it to their own ends, typically further enhancement of power: whether they were Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat or whatever would make no difference.

This is being seen already with attempts to reform the House of Lords and the endless rows over "Tony's cronies" (attempts by the current Government to skew the composition of the reformed upper chamber to its own benefit), and it would show a hundred times more strongly if an entity with unlimited (theoretical) power was replaced.

Curiously, a degree of non-election, or no entity at all (for example, some countries, such as New Zealand, Scotland and Sweden, have no upper chamber, although I'm not aware of any that have no Head of State) might actually be a good thing ...

(On this theme, I was most surprised to hear a few weeks ago that, until 1912, members of the Senate were appointed; I would never have believed that possible given the origin of the USA ;).

[ Parent ]

House of Lords (none / 0) (#71)
by am3nhot3p on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:51:40 AM EST

However, the reason that the Government is able to modify the structure of the upper chamber as it wills is twofold:
  • There is no written constitution to stop it from doing so
  • More importantly, the very fact that the House of Lords was so obviously undemocratic left it wide open to attack.  What could appear more democratic than to remove the powers of the unelected Lords?
If the upper chamber had been democratically populated according to a constitution, Blair et al would never have been able to get away with it.

[ Parent ]
It can't and they aren't (none / 0) (#79)
by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:40:43 AM EST

The road to reform is fantastically tortuous; the first attempt to specify the composition of the upper house was shouted down and, now, a joint committee of Commons and Lords, including some real heavyweights, is having another go.

There have been scores of previous failed attempts because this is a difficult problem. How do you stop the people proposing or approving the reform having even an indirect stake in how it turns out?

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#93)
by am3nhot3p on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:09:13 PM EST

They have managed to reduce greatly the number of hereditary peers in the House of Lords. Although they haven't yet decided with what to replace them, this hasn't stopped the Labour government from already altering the composition of the H.O.L.

[ Parent ]
Appointed Senate (none / 0) (#77)
by wesmills on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:23:09 AM EST

(On this theme, I was most surprised to hear a few weeks ago that, until 1912, members of the Senate were appointed; I would never have believed that possible given the origin of the USA ;).

US Senators were appointed by the legislatures of the respective states as a compromise between a popularly-elected (which could be "stacked" by populous states against smaller ones) and an evenly-divided governing body. If a Senator died, it wasn't automatic that his son would take over, thus making the appointment different than that of the Queen.

----- Signature campaign to support K5, become a member!
[ Parent ]

Off with her head already (2.71 / 7) (#16)
by wji on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 03:45:02 PM EST

The whole Queen thing is the most idiotic crap I've ever heard. I don't care what it costs, executing her in public would be worth whatever it is for the entertainment value.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
the queen.. (none / 0) (#45)
by kitty vacant on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:23:51 PM EST

cheaper than a k5 subscription but not as cheap as your mother.
==
Go on... Give us a snare rush!
[ Parent ]
Surrendered Revenue? (3.00 / 4) (#22)
by sonovel on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 04:32:26 PM EST

Is that like interest on the massive amount of property stolen from the world by the monarchy over the last several hundred years?

Monarchy? (none / 0) (#29)
by Space Monkey on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 05:45:39 PM EST

I think you meant "Catholic Church" / "Vatican." Those crooks own 25% of the world's property.

Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice freedom for safety," as Benjamin Franklin once said.
[ Parent ]
To hell with the money! (3.55 / 9) (#25)
by bc on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 04:37:18 PM EST

No decent Republican gives a damn how much cash the Queen costs. Everybody knows it is a minimal amount anyway.

However, when arguing with ignorant working class types who have a brain dead devotion to the monarchy, culled from the glorification of the State and the Palace of Westminster, on the BBC, in our schools, and in the tabloids, it is best to use arguments they understand, and the only thing that rouses the rabble in post-Thatcher Britain is money, so we have to dance with the devil that brung us.

Far more important is that the Queen is a totem of government run rampant, unchecked by any constitution or framework of civil rights. Smash the Queen, and we can bring the Palace of Westminster under control once more, adopt a constitution, a proper Bill of Rights, and suchlike.

The cash issue is just a useful fop to get the ignorant to support the cause - the readers of The Sun and The Daily Mail and all the rest.

Frankly, the Queen is the lightening rod that allows such authoritarian, fascist goons as the Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP and the Right honourable Jack Straw, MP and Lord Irvine of Lairg and their cronies to wield supreme, unchecked power over a put upon nation. The sooner she is dealt with by some button man, and the institution righteously slaughtered by the surges of Modernity stalled, in UKia, after John Locke, the better!

♥, bc.

Oh, please. (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by kaemaril on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:52:59 PM EST

Smash the Queen, and we can bring the Palace of Westminster under control once more, adopt a constitution, a proper Bill of Rights, and suchlike.

You don't seriously think that the monarchy (NOT the Queen) has any real power, do you? "Smash" the monarchy and all you'll get is Blair moving into Buck House and calling himself "President Tony, supreme ruler of New Britain" :) - nothing else will change.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
shows what you know (none / 0) (#41)
by martingale on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:01:18 PM EST

I think he'd call himself President Tony, supreme ruler of Cool Britannia :-)

[ Parent ]
Hmm. Good Point. (n/t) (none / 0) (#42)
by kaemaril on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:03:46 PM EST


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#46)
by bc on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:29:36 PM EST

The monarchy is what the UK has in lieu of a constitution. The fact that the monarchy cedes all power to the politicians while absorbing all the desire for constitutional arrangements and rights (leaving the politicians to do as they wish) is the problem.

Get rid of the monarchy and you can have some sort of constitution, and limit the politicians presently running amok under the powerless monarchy, to whom they are technically indebted and loyal.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

eh? (none / 0) (#69)
by kaemaril on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:56:00 AM EST

You can't have it both ways. Either the monarch is powerless or he/she is ceding/lending all power to the politicians. If it's the latter, let me ask you a question: What do you think Parliament would do if Elizabeth decided to govern directly and told Parliament that from now on they're not needed and she's taking the power back?

Answer: they'd laugh in her face. Parliament has ALL the power, the monarchy is completely ceremonial.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
To do that (4.50 / 2) (#75)
by shrike7 on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:03:26 AM EST

they'd have to get rid of her, which would mean coming to some new governmental arrangement, which would require a constituion. The British government's power is derived from the monarch. Which, in my republican view, is the whole problem. While the Queen may not be able to exercise her power anymore because the people wouldn't accept it, the government could not operate as it does now without the Queen. So the elected representatives of the nation have to kowtow to the heir to a dynasty, with all that that implies. It's a symbolic position, all right, but the symbols it projects are a decidedly mixed bunch.
CXVI
[ Parent ]
I hope you're not English (none / 0) (#101)
by Jacques Chester on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:53:34 PM EST

Because it would be unbecoming for an Australian to know more about English legal history than a Pom.
The British government's power is derived from the monarch.
No, they are not derived from the Monarch. The Monarch's powers derive from Parliament.

After Orwell's Commonwealth was finished, Parliament reassembled and invited William and Mary of Orange to assume the throne. The terms were that Parliament was the supreme source of law in the land. Those terms were accepted. There are at English law no limitations on the power of Parliament. The Queen's Prerogative is completely subject to Parliamentary authority. English Sovereignty resides exclusively with Parliament, and has done so for hundreds of years.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

Touche (none / 0) (#110)
by shrike7 on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:31:59 AM EST

I'm a Canadian who holds British citizenship. However, while I concede the general point, isn't the Queen technically part of Parliament? I know that Royal Assent was refused to bills after the accession of William and Mary, though it hasn't been done since Anne. So while I concede that I managed to forget about the single most important shift in authority in British constitutional history, I maintain that the Queen still has formal authority that Parliament cannot take away without her Assent, as she is part of Parliament.
CXVI
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that's stil a null argument (none / 0) (#118)
by avleenvig on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:32:28 PM EST

On one hand, the Queen techncially has the power to absolve parliament, refuse Roayl Assent to new laws, etc etc.
On the other hand the chances of her possibly even thinking about that are *zero*.

There is nothing she or any other Royal could gain. Nothing. She has symbolic power and it's all just in ceremony. So why not just leave it? It's NOT like it's hurting anybody.

[ Parent ]

Yes - and No. (none / 0) (#120)
by Jacques Chester on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:59:46 PM EST

Granted, Parliament is technically "Queen-in-Parliament", a form that is replicated elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Nevertheless the Queen can be replaced by Parliament. That was part of the Bill of Rights of 1689 (which was about Parliament's and the King's rights, rather than the subjects').

The Queen is in a bind: if she keeps her current course, then she will keep her position. If she tries to exert authority, she will quite likely be replaced by Parliamentary decree. If she says such decree non-functional without her assent, she will spark a court battle, and I suspect those courts will excuse themselves, as their legal authority derives from the Crown, and not from Parliament.

Which leaves only civil war as a way of settling the issue.

The British Constitution, such as it is, is not a single document defining government. It is an understanding that the alternative to smoothly operating government is revolution or civil war. This makes the poms unique amongst western democracies - there is no higher court which can really knuckle out "the orbits of every power", to mis-quote Alfred Deakin. Instead they must resort to violence, and in a modern democracy, such recourse is almost unthinkable.

Which pretty much leaves them on the straight and narrows. It works, and has worked for a long time. A High Court of England would probably cost 35 million pounds anyway :)

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

You sound like a demagogue (none / 0) (#62)
by avocadia on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:57:30 AM EST

You lost me when started bad-mouthing your fellow citizens merely because they have a different opinion to you...

* ignorant working class types who have a brain dead devotion to the monarchy
* only thing that rouses the rabble



[ Parent ]
Quite the reverse (none / 0) (#65)
by gidds on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:38:48 AM EST

Frankly, the Queen is the lightning rod that allows such authoritarian, fascist goons... to wield supreme, unchecked power over a put-upon nation.

I think that in practice it's the opposite.  Because the Queen doesn't have to worry about political columns or the eternal opinion polls, she doesn't concern herself with spin, short-term policies that look good now but are worse off in the long run, or making sure she gets re-elected.  She can put the country first – and she does.  Of course, that's what all politicians should do, but we all know they don't...

She's a moderating influence.  Simply by being there, she keeps politicians in check.  She's not a figurehead, either: she takes an active interest in political matters, and prime ministers and others rate her advice as invaluable.

The public doesn't really know very much about what she does, and tends to assume it's worthless.  But her real role is none the less important for its lack of publicity.

(P.S. If you don't mind a nitpick, it's `lightning'; lightening is getting less dark.)

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Not necessarily a good idea (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by Rk on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:30:29 AM EST

And what is your constitution going to look like? Judging on past performance (as an offically non-British human being), I'd say something like this:

We, the subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and indentured servants of his lordship, the President of Island One, Tony Blair the First, resisting the evil and terrorism and paedophilia imposed by dissidents, deviants and people whom his Lordship, Tony Blair the First doth not liketh, united to create a more perfect civil service, a health care system that actually works and video camera in every loungeroom hereby adopt the following constitution:

1. The Name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island shall be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, unless otherwise specified. It's national motto shall be "War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery.". It's national anthem shall be The Funeral March.

2. His lordship, Tony Blair the First, is the sovereign president of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, and shall have the power to collect a tax not exceeding 200% of the GDP of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, shall have the power to install a video camera in every loungeroom, to create goverment departments with the aim of ensuring that no act nor thought shall go unrecorded and that there shall be a permit for everything and everyone at all times for all purposes, shall insure that the police do not pursue criminals but rather are used to suppress, oppress and repress political dissidents, social deviants and people whom he doth not liketh, and shall have the power to kick all those nasty dissidents, deviants and people whom he doth not liketh out of parliament, should such a body exist thusforth, and to insure that everybody shall have the right to be paid for their contribution to the civil service, whether or not such a contribution has been rendered.

3. There is no three. George Bush didn't like so we got rid of it. The peasants shouldn't get any stupid ideas.

4. See 3

5. Nobody shall be detained except by a civil servant.

6. Everyone is a civil servant. Except dissidents and deviants. And people who Blair doth not liketh.

7. Everyone shall have the right to freely express their opinion, so long as they are a civil servant and do so with the prior approval of Ministry of Information, which shall insure that no undesirable or unfortunate views are expressed. Or opinions that Blair doth not liketh.

8. Everyone shall have the right to vote for his Lordship, Tony Blair the First.

9. Unless otherwise specified, everyone may only vote for his Lordship, Tony Blair the First.

10. Nobody shall be punished for a crime that does not exist, unless that person is a dissident, deviant or a person whom Blair doth not liketh.

11. Parliamentry elections are free to everyone who supports his Lordship, Tony Blair the First, and who advocate his accession to the Throne of England.

12. The death penalty is not allowed. Except for dissidents, deviants and people whom Tony Blair doth not liketh.

13. The ministry of information shall insure that the public is well informed by the truth, as determined by his Lordship, Tony Blair the First.

14. The ministry of love shall insure that every person shall give his Lordship, Tony Blair the First the respect that he, as our divine, indivisable and unavoidable regent duly deserves and that no person make a comment discriminating against this great constitution or the order that is imposes.

15. The ministry of peace shall insure that, in due time, all other nation recognise the greatness of his Lordship, Tony Blair the First and that they unite to eliminate poverty, hatred or oppression, except as imposed by his Lordship, Tony Blair the First.

16. The ministry of plenty shall ensure that every subject recieves the same and what it deserves, namely enough to ensure it's continued servitude under this regime.

17. Nobody shall we under observation in their private residency, unless they are on the civil list.

18. Everyone shall be listed on the civil list.

19. Nobody shall have a private residency.

20. Two plus two shall henceforth equal five. His Lordship, Tony Blair the First shall have the power to enforce this provision.

21. Nothing in this document shall be understood to imply that subjects of his Lordship, Tony Blair the First, actually have rights.

22. This constitution is valid until his Lordship, Tony Blair the First says otherwise.

Done, on the ninety seventh year of his Lordship, Tony Blair the First.



[ Parent ]

But, but, you're on the wrong side of the Pond. (none / 0) (#103)
by Apuleius on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:05:58 AM EST

Most likely, you'll wind up with a constitution along that of the other European countries. You might as well stay a monarchy. Nobody needs another French republic.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Every year on Queen's Birthday (5.00 / 2) (#31)
by Tatarigami on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:05:55 PM EST

...our webmaster receives half a dozen rambling, apoplectic demands that we take down any mention of the event and give our support to the effort to eject the monarchy. Good spelling, nice grammar, but completely over-the-top foaming-at-the-mouth invective.

Not an attractive package. Maybe the anti-monarchists should consider adopting some of their enemy's strategies.

America (2.20 / 5) (#34)
by godix on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:25:59 PM EST

As an American I have little right to say anything about the Queen. She isn't my dictator, it isn't my 58P, and it isn't my concern.

That said, America has a sick obsesion with the royal family. It's almost like we're sorry we kicked their ass a couple hundred years ago. I have yet to see a single thing these people have done for England, much less the US, why the hell are they constantly in the news? The last noteworthy thing the royals did was lose a civil war, why the hell are they still around? Must be a desire to worship the people who managed to screw up the largest empire in the world. I have to wonder, if one royal could die from drunk driving couldn't they all? We could invite the Queen over and have Ted Kennedy drive her around. That way we could finally finish what we started 225 years ago and get rid the closest Americas gotten to royalty at the same time.

Check out the history section (none / 0) (#37)
by Tatarigami on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:39:48 PM EST

It's all right there in your local library. You don't establish a kingdom by waving at the crowds lining parade routes and looking gracious -- that comes later.

[ Parent ]
Kingdom (none / 0) (#39)
by godix on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:52:40 PM EST

The UK hasn't been a true kingdom for quite awhile, the real power rests in a form of representative democracy. My question was why does anyone in the US bother with a powerless leftover from the past in another country, not how did they get there in the first place.

[ Parent ]
Idolisation (none / 0) (#117)
by avleenvig on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:24:23 PM EST

People want to BE the Royals. The want the glamour, the fame, the heirs.

Simple as that really. I was born and bred in west London but my family is originally from India. Yet I'm bloody proud of have a Royal Family. Very few other countries still do.

It's a nice tradition. I like it. And like you said, you have no right to comment, so just zip up eh?
Just because you don't have one.

Oh, and don't protest too loud. You know what they say that indicates..

[ Parent ]

World War II (none / 0) (#122)
by MightyTribble on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:36:33 PM EST

The King and Queen were a focal point for the nation through our darkest hour. They eschewed the safety of the countryside, remaining in Buckingham Palace throughout the Blitz, and visiting the bomb-wrecked East End to bring what comfort they could to the displaced and injured.

Churchill did that, too, of course, and was received with equal enthusiasm, but ultimately he was the elected leader of Parliament, not the spiritual and moral leader of the country.

Men fought and died for King and Country. While some may have fought more for their collegues and loved ones than the Royals, a substantial portion of our Armed Forces were motivated by that 'Higher Calling'.

The Queen is an apolitical figurehead. Figureheads play an important role in personal motivation - would you die for Bill Clinton? George W Bush? The Flag of the Republic? It's often easier to support an apolitical person than an elected official or material object.


[ Parent ]

micropayments (3.50 / 4) (#38)
by martingale on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:44:13 PM EST

Wow, this gives me an idea. Just think if everyone in Britain were to pay up 58p every year, that would come to about 35 million pounds, which could be spent on charities and the homeless, every year. All it would take is one small change...

Done! (none / 0) (#64)
by Rk on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:34:19 AM EST

They're called "taxes" and they already exist in the UK, and most likely - since I presume that you are not British - where you live too.

They only thing is, these taxes involve somewhat larger sums of money.

[ Parent ]

Royalty answers to no one (3.25 / 4) (#43)
by istevens on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:05:21 PM EST

Paradoxically, the best attribute of royalty is also their worst.  Royalty answers to no one and so, within reason, doesn't give much of a damn about public opinion, polls, private contributions and the like.  This means that members of a hereditary monarchy can be free to voice dissenting opinions which, although they might be unpopular, might be beneficial to their country.  Contrast this with politicians who are largely concerned with getting themselves voted in for the next four or five years and, in some countries, with seeking the approvals of those who contribute towards their campaigns.

ian.
--
ian
Weblog archives

heredity and independence (4.50 / 2) (#47)
by martingale on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:33:13 PM EST

That's also the argument for keeping a hereditary house of lords. However, british royalty does answer in a sense to the parliament and the public, because they simply could not make unilateral and whimsical decisions for the country without being opposed and probably abolished by parliament.

The important question I think is whether the independence granted to the royals is worth while. Do the opinions they have on public policy actually improve the country's government? Or would it be better to grant this kind of independence to, eg specially trained civil servants? I'm reminded of judges who sit on the supreme court in various countries, who are appointed for life precisely to allow them to speak their mind without fear of consequences. This offers the benefits of heredity while ensuring that the beneficiary is willing and qualified to improve public debates. With hereditary offices, there's always the chance that the person is completely untalented for the job.

[ Parent ]

Elite team of civil servants? (3.33 / 3) (#50)
by istevens on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:59:56 PM EST

Or would it be better to grant this kind of independence to, eg specially trained civil servants?
Unfortunately, civil servants can be tempted with payments from parties who would be affected by their decisions. Anonymous power corrupts easily, which anyone who has seen a few episodes or Yes, Minister can attest.

With hereditary offices, there's always the chance that the person is completely untalented for the job
True, but royalty usually gets the best training from their parents and their schooling. Besides, they need not be experts in everything. Everyone has their niche or their cause which they promote. Right now, Prince Charles' causes seem to run towards homeopathy, organic gardening and architecture. From what I have read, he has been quite influential in all three.

ian.
--
ian
Weblog archives
[ Parent ]

Not just civil servants (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by Tommy A on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:33:05 AM EST

Unfortunately, civil servants can be tempted with payments from parties who would be affected by their decisions.
Agreed, but this also holds true for MPs and people in hereditary positions of power.


[ Parent ]
Not a continuous Monarchy (4.50 / 4) (#56)
by Maclir on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:08:19 AM EST

There has been a gap in that 1,200 years. Have you heard of Oliver Cromwell?

But still (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by Vulch on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:05:51 AM EST

There was a continuous monarchy. Charles II became king on the death of his father, but didn't ascend to the throne until sometime after the death of Oliver Cromwell. The kingdom became a commonwealth for a while, but there was still a monarch.

[ Parent ]

abstaining (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by dirvish on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:42:00 AM EST

I will abstain from voting on this one. I am not British and that is probably why this sounds like nonsense to me.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
There is... (2.20 / 5) (#59)
by kimpton on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:28:54 AM EST

...no place for a hereditary monarchy in a modern democracy. Any contribution by the state to this bunch of parasites, no matter how small, is repulsive considering how desperate the various public services in the UK are.



Preferable to a president (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by enki on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:25:03 AM EST

There is no place for a corrupt political elite, I'd rather have a monarchy whose interests are with the country rather than corporations, and who brings in millions in tourism than a president who gained power through being the son of a previous one and through a dubious electoral procedure...

[ Parent ]
Except that ... (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:47:02 AM EST

... the current monarch gained power through being the daughter of a previous one and through no electoral procedure whatsoever ;)

However, that was expected, being constitutionally mandated - and see a previous post about 'elected = good, non-elected = bad' being not as black and white as it seems.

[ Parent ]

There is... (1.00 / 1) (#87)
by CodeWright on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:53:03 PM EST

...no place for a modern democracy in a constitutional republic. Any contribution by the electorate to this bunch of parasites, no matter how small, is repulsive considering how desperate the various private citizens in the US are.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Then why is it, (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by Apuleius on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:00:47 AM EST

that Europe's best functioning governments are monarchies, while the worst are republics? (Sweden, Denmark, versus France, and Italy.) There is also the non-trivial psychological value of a monarch. The King of Spain is the reason that country has avoided several coups since the death of Franco.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Getting the most out of it (4.75 / 4) (#66)
by izogi on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:41:16 AM EST

the Queen is currently costing the individual British tax-payer just 58p ($0.88) a year.

At that price, why not have three or four queens?


- izogi


We have... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by maroberts on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:30:39 PM EST

Elton John, The Pet Shop Boys and Freddie Mercury (recently deceased) - isn't that enough Queens ?
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
Why not the monarchy? (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by enki on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:47:07 AM EST

I don't see why getting rid of the monarchy is such a great thing.
Then again I don't see what's so great about a republic, especially looking at the so called democratic republics around the world.
A non-political head of state is a good thing, politicians are in politics for power and nothing more, hence they'll pander to popular predudice...

Most of the outcry is based upon envy. Yeah I wish I had the money that the royal family appears to have (in reality its all tied up in assets which are held in trust for the nation), but I would rather someone like Bill Gates gave his money away.

And who would we have as president? Richard Branson, David Beckham, or a politian, Blair for president anyone?

Well (none / 0) (#74)
by shrike7 on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:43:40 AM EST

You're using a strawman argument. 'Republics are bad because they place politicians at the head of state, and that's bad because they're divisive, so a monarchy is the only way to go.' This ignores the fact that many republics-Ireland, Germany, Israel-have figurehead Presidents who are 'above politics' in the way you describe the Queen as being, without the baggage that a hereditary monarchy brings with it. I, for one, am far more offended at the notions of aristocracy and feudalism-both of which are inseparately bound up in any kind of monarchy-than I am at the idea of a 'mere politician' as head of state. At least the politician cannot attempt to claim that he is a superior person to me because of his 'breeding,' as though he were some sort of show dog. Whereas monarchs must maintain a pretense of inherent superiority based on birth to have any claim to legitimacy. Thank you, but I'd much rather get rid of the class system than pretend I have a head of state who's 'non-political.'
CXVI
[ Parent ]
Alas, it won't happen (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:01:51 PM EST

Trying to get rid of a 'class system' is rather like trying to get rid of religion; if it ceased to exist exist it would have to be invented, possibly more arbitrarily or in a worse form than what existed before. A is going to find ways to look down on B, and vice versa, come what may.

[ Parent ]
The actual accounts (4.50 / 2) (#94)
by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:42:36 PM EST

Here they are - the Civil List Annual Report. I note they're audited, although not by Arthur Anderson ;)

I looked it up after realising that the author was quoting figures from the Daily Telegraph. Hardly an unbiased source as a right-wing, pro-monarchy newspaper.

An obvious objection to these accounts is that there are vast holdings (such as land, property, art and the Royal stamp collection, the last supposedly worth 100 million) which are not quantified as assets.

Abolish the lot (2.50 / 2) (#95)
by sypher on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:59:58 PM EST

To see the 'princes' with supermodels, kissing and having a good time at Wimbledon.

To see the excess of tonguing that was the jubliee, whilst maybe 2 miles away people lay stoned or totally whacked on drugs the government provided them with whilst enjoying a 2 billion pound party for 15 people.

We don't live in a world of kings, queens or princesses, princes or dukes any longer, the world means more than this.

Take their money, make them live like the rest of the UK (or their germanic or greek origin), this last jubilee was definetley the last i would ever consider spending so much public money on securing their day, than spending the same to solve ultimately our homeless and housing problems puts the country in perspective.

One particular person who really is made an idle (note spelling) of is 'zara phillips' she will never have to work a day of her life, whilst we pay for her lifestyle, she has also had several 'd' notice stories repressed by the government 'for the good of the country'.

This whole lot is comparable to any tin pot dicatorship in the world, it means everything to some, and nothing or little to others.

Ultimately, their extravagances mean leave less for the people of England to enjoy.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
Britain has too much tradition. (1.50 / 2) (#96)
by Ward57 on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:06:48 PM EST

Removing the monarchy would deal a substantial blow to the idea of tradition. I feel convinced that any benefits of the monarchy are far outwieghed by the effect it's existence has on our culture (and the way(s) of thinking prevalent in this country).

Thinking it out (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by avleenvig on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:15:42 AM EST

What ways of thinking are you refering to?
I see no negative influence that the British Monarchy has on Britain or any other country.

The effects are positive as far as I can tell. To the majority, the Royal Family are a popular bunch, they don't exactly cost a lot (as someone else pointed out, it's no more than any other head of state).. so where's the "too much tradition" coming from??

How can you have "too much tradition"?
I certainly don't see the UK being held back socially or technologically as a result of it.

[ Parent ]

Where does the money actually go? (4.00 / 1) (#98)
by Pseudonym on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:50:15 PM EST

Much more interesting than the question of how much the Queen costs is: what is the money actually spent on? I've never seen a breakdown, but I suspect that almost none of the money goes into Her Majesty's pocket, so before starting on a rant about the merits or otherwise of a hereditary monarchy, ask yourself: What are the equivalent costs in maintaining a republic?

For example, a lot of the money is spent on travel and staff salaries. A head of state needs to visit places on official business, they need a place to live, secretaries, house keepers and so on. They need to entertain dignitaries. A lot, no doubt, goes on preserving "crown land", historic buildings, works of art, archives and so on. This would need to be funded no matter who was technically head of state.

How much does, say, the US President spend on official business, staff, maintaining buildings and land such the White House and Camp David and so on? Include the President's salary, superannuation, secret service protection for immediate family members for life... are we close to US$70 million per year yet?

Does Great Britain get a bargain by comparison?



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
No, it's not a bargain. (none / 0) (#99)
by shrike7 on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:52:45 PM EST

The money cited is the amount paid to the Queen from the Civil List. It is her salary, though she does, I'll admit, give allowances to several royals from it. The other stuff you mention more or less pays for itself-the Queen is a huge landowner, and the income derived from that goes to upkeep of her property. As to the archives, secretaries, historic buildings and so on, that is paid for by the state seperately. After all, the state is Elizabeth's government technically, so employees of hers are employees of the government, upkeep to her houses is upkeep on government property, etc. It's all very expensive, and while it may or may not be as expensive as a republic, republics do not carry a thousand years of historical baggage with them.
CXVI
[ Parent ]
Check the facts. (none / 0) (#123)
by MightyTribble on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:41:19 PM EST

Most of the property you say is 'owned' by the Queen is actually owned by the State, of which the Queen is head of.

She can't sell Windsor castle, or 'her' collection of stamps or the Duchy of Cornwall. She merely keeps it safe for the State.

She does have some private wealth - her racehorses, some art, and Balmoral, I believe, are all privately held (and upkept from their own resources). Her operational expenditures in her role as Head of State are paid from the Civil List, and the upkeep of the Royal Palaces are paid for by the State because it's the State (i.e. the British People) who own it, and Liz just keeps it in trust to stop us from selling it to Enron so we can build a Glorious Dome of the Republic.

[ Parent ]

Add one to your reading list. (5.00 / 3) (#100)
by Apuleius on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:42:57 PM EST

The Abolition of Britain by Peter Hitchens. The jist (among other things) is that because Britain has a carefully evolved tradition of checks and balances, rather than a Constitution mandating them, messing about with British traditions could seriously trash the place. I agree with that way of looking at it. Messing with the Queen in a place without a constitution is not worth the 35 million quid saved.




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Magna Carta? (none / 0) (#105)
by NoseyNick on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:03:30 AM EST

"Without a constitution"? What about the Magna Carta?

[ Parent ]
It's not a constitution (none / 0) (#112)
by shrike7 on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:29:09 AM EST

It lays out a number of rules for the king, but it's not in any way a constitution in the sense that the U.S. has. Besides which, it was superceeded some time ago. It's a part of the vast conglomeration of laws, customs and traditions that fill the place of a constitution in Britain, but the UK doesn't have any one document you can point to and say is the cornerstone.
CXVI
[ Parent ]
UK does NOT need a US style "constitution&quo (none / 0) (#116)
by avleenvig on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:18:49 PM EST

There is not-a-lot wrong with the current set of laws in the UK. Not many of the create HUGE conflicts with each other, as happens with the US Constitution regularly.

The UK is chugging along pretty happily. The citizens are happy with the rights they have (with a few minor recent exceptions.

What *NEED* is there in the UK for a US style constitution. Please note I said *NEED* not *DESIRE*.

Realistic answer: none.



[ Parent ]
Like, say, what happened in 1774? (none / 0) (#113)
by shrike7 on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:31:26 AM EST

Of course it would be risky to chuck out the Crown. That's no reason not to do it if people agree it's worth doing, which I realize they don't at the moment.
CXVI
[ Parent ]
2002 != 1774. (none / 0) (#115)
by Apuleius on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:00:38 PM EST

In 1774, the colonials were perfectly willing to replace King George with another king. The problem wasn't him being a king. It was that he was trampling over colonial self-government and the rights of the people. Queen Lizzie isn't doing that. Tony Blair is.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
This 'head of state' thing ... (5.00 / 1) (#107)
by ukryule on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 04:15:17 AM EST

Why do you need one? As far as I know, every country has one: either a Monarch, a ceremonial President, or a 'real' (i.e. powerful) President.

Although I'm personally for the UK monarchy (I think the queen does a hard job well, Charlie-Boy is slightly mad in an endearing way, they don't do any harm, and sponsor/support a lot of good work and charities), I can understand and respect the views of people who want to abolish them.

What I don't understand is that people usually want to replace them with a President and Constitution - why? Everyone agrees that the Queen doesn't have any real power (or at least never uses it), so if you abolished the monarchy, the country could happily chug along without anyone/anything in its place.

If the monarchy was abolished I see no reason to fundamentally change the system of government, and can (personally) think of no reason to elect/accept the appointment of a titular head of state.

'Offensiveness' (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by thebrix on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 04:49:06 AM EST

The economic objections are weak because, really, the numbers can be interpreted as the interpreter sees fit. (I note that many of the anti-royal Web sites are almost fact-free or rather extravagant with language; there are exceptions).

One of the principal objections is that of fundamental unfairness; any person cannot be head of state in the 'log cabin to White House' way. (That said, this is becoming an abstract argument, what with party 'machines' and quasi-dynastic successions of party leaders!)

If the Queen vanished in a puff of smoke there would be problems because some of these 'never used powers' might need to be employed. The obvious example I can think of is a hung parliament (no party has an absolute majority following a General Election); if two or more parties cannot agree to form a coalition thereafter it is the Queen's prerogative to ask a party leader to form a government. This came perilously close to happening after the February 1974 election.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that, if a republic came about, Elizabeth II, Charles III or whoever happened to be the last monarch would put themselves up for election ... and be elected. (Stopping them from doing so would be self-defeating, recreating the second paragraph ;)

[ Parent ]

Reserve Powers (none / 0) (#121)
by cam on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:22:20 PM EST

If the monarchy was abolished I see no reason to fundamentally change the system of government

In the Australian Constitution, the Governor-General has unstated reserve powers,

Australian Constitution - Section 64 - Ministers of State & Ministers to sit in Parliament

The Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such departments of State of the Commonwealth as the Governor-General in Council may establish.

Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General. They shall be members of the Federal Executive Council, and shall be the Queen's Ministers of State for the Commonwealth.

There is no constitutional definition of when these powers can be used. However,

Australian Constitution - Section 2 - Governor-General

A Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty's representative in the Commonwealth, and shall have and may exercise in the Commonwealth during the Queen's pleasure, but subject to this Constitution, such powers and functions of the Queen as Her Majesty may be pleased to assign to him.

The Queen is a Constitutional Monarch and her appointments exist at the advice of the Australian Prime Minister. In truth it is the Prime Minister who appoints the Governer-General and has been so since the 1930's and Sir Isaac Isaccs. It is also the Prime Minister who can remove the Governor General. So the Constitition is out of date with conventional practice anyway. It is also dangerous for the PM and GG to be able to sack each other.

There is a well known instance when the GG sacked the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. It was over a blocked supply bill. The convention of responsible government failed in several area's. There was also an issue in the 1930's when Jack Lang was sacked by the NSW Governor, Sir Phillip Game.

If it averages an issue a century, it is too often. The Australian Constitution needs some tightening, and the Australian executive a more modern definition. Let alone the fact a Monarch is an abomination of egalatarian principal.

Whitlam Dismissal : http://whitlamdismissal.com/.
Australian Constitution : http://www.australianpolitics.com/constitution/

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

The Cost of Royalty (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by Ceebs on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:08:41 AM EST

the number of taxpayers is not equal to the population of the country. The cost per taxpayer should work out to roughly double the figure that has been given

Well... (none / 0) (#114)
by PenguinWrangler on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:54:52 AM EST

At least British kids don't have to pledge allegiance to the Queen, the flag or the country every morning at school, like kids have to do in a certain republic I could mention...
"Information wants to be paid"
The Queen - Cheaper than a K5 Subscription! | 123 comments (93 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
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