Monday, December 09, 2013
Why The QueenTuesday, July 03, 2012
With the government proposing to have The Queen replaced as head of state by an elected president, it's important that all of the facts affecting such a profound constitutional change be discussed fully and openly throughout the country and in the media.
There is a knee-jerk tendency to believe in the moral and practical superiority of a government just because it has some mandate at any given election. The purpose of an evolved constitution is to prevent the usurpation of power by government today or in the future by asserting the supremacy of law and the protection of the law from unconstitutional processes. If those whose basis for not wanting a white Queen in London as their constitutional head of state is merely an emotional or even racial prejudice, first consider whether or not you truly believe in the self-serving integrity of any politician. The Gandhis and the Mandelas are the rarest breeds in politics.
The Queen is a constitutional monarch; the term describes a head of state whose powers are wholly confined by the constitutional law of the UK. Some commentators believe that the UK has no codified or written Constitution, but this is a fallacy encouraged by politicians who perversely believe in the supremacy of Parliament over law, and scarily, even by some of the most senior judges. The UK Constitution has not been knocked up around a table as a single document over a proverbial weekend, such as the USA's (whose Constitution, ironically, is profoundly dependent on English Common Law). Our Constitution has evolved over centuries and is made up of Common Law, Lawful Statutes (as opposed to the great many unlawful statutes currently awaiting constitutional challenge), Precedents and such Great Charters as Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and others, although currently nominally including the wholly unlawful and perverse 1911 Parliament Act which still awaits challenge.
The role of the monarch is to provide, through the institution of the Crown, the mechanisms that protect the Constitution and the supremacy of law from this government or any future government. The current pretence of
democracy is so very far from being democratic because meaningful access to Parliament is hindered by our two-party system (three if you want to believe it).
Only their party dogmas and "whipped MPs" can ever have power despite never achieving a mandate of more than about a third of the actual whole of the electorate's votes; usually much less. Until we have true electoral reform, based upon proportional representation and equal access to the
media-controlled national debate, the Crown and the Constitution it relies upon is all that stands between us and actual tyranny.
The judges and the courts are a part of the Crown; they don't belong to the government; they, the armed forces and the police swear their oath of allegiance to The Queen, who in herself is subordinate to the Crown and Constitutional Law, and not to the government which, under the law,
means that despite the whims of any ruling political party, those forces may never act unlawfully in constitutional terms.
The many current abuses of party political power do not reflect poorly on the law itself, but upon those individuals who have not upheld their duty or those who have acquiesced to those abuses. The creation of a Supreme Court outside of the Lords and indeed the current plans to "reform" the Lords are profound examples of the creeping and unconstitutional usurpation of powers by government. Those who have abused their positions are ultimately subject to the judgement of law and that is what we should be demanding and pursuing with rigour, not mere sentiments too often based on bizarre and utterly unproven conspiracy theories.
Let's get this clear, though, those powers of the Crown are not structurally tyrannical because the highest authority in the land is neither the Crown nor the government, it's the law, which has evolved over time and through people. Of special note is the jury system that current, allegedly democratically elected politicians wish to take away from us. Juries have also correctly been called "Little Parliaments" because of the constitutional and law-making powers they can have. Now that is people power, power that is, when properly exercised, protected by the Crown from the tyranny of politicians. It's about the separation of powers between the legislators (government) and the judiciary (the law) which is essential for any true democracy.
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