Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Abolishing the Royal Prerogative?

One of the interesting things about Gordon Brown's changes seems to be abolishing the Royal Prerogative in the case of war and dissolving parliament. Instead of the Prime Minister exercising those powers on behalf of the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, Parliament will have the power.

On Channel 4's News Jack Straw said that there was no place for a power dating from antiquity in a modern British democracy.

Lets deal with that first. We are an old country. Our institutions are old. What is more they have evolved over a period of time in a way that reflects our history and traditions. As long as they work why change them?

Now on to the substance rather than just hating our history (which it appears Labour does).

This country has not got to war without parliament being happy with it. Even in the time of Edward III he consulted Parliament. Parliament is consulted and was in the Iraq war, in fact it had a vote. So what is broken? Ultimately the fact that in the case of the Iraq war Parliament was sold a pup. This proposal does nothing to stop that happening again and again. The problem is not the use of the Royal Prerogative but the lies that went with it (even if Blair did not actually lie to Parliament he seems to me to have lied to himself.)

What of the dissolution of Parliament? Allow Parliament to vote on it instead? Except in the case of a hung Parliament it makes no practical difference. A whipped vote will still guarantee an election when the party of power calls one.

So there is no point to either reform other than to destroy our heritage.

2 comments:

verity said...

I agree with you, Benedict. I just think that we have had a very weak monarch who now looks as though she can be easily ditched. Going to garden parties and nursing homes and saying "Have you come far?" isn't enough.

What the sleazy Blair got away with was done by bullying. First, his glorification of Diana at a funeral attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales. Clearly, this was intended to separate the British people from their monarch and elevate Diana into some kind of heavenly monarch, having the emotional intelligence to love all 'her' people.

Next, his disgusting attempt to insinuate himself into the funeral of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

In other words, he has been a woodworm on the mighty oak of our monarchy. But HM never cut him back. He had taken an axe to our democracy and our constitution, and she never said him nay. And he had slyly weakened the monarchy.

Frankly, as the Queen has done nothing for Britain, I have become a Republican - something I could not have imagined myself saying 10 years ago. But if they don't protect our constitution and our civil rights, they have no purpose.

I think QEII has served us poorly - especially due to her obvious fear of Tony Blair's vindictiveness - and Blair slithered onto the national stage when the Queen was already entering old age so was hardly at her most robust. She never clipped back Blair as he viciously wrecked our constitution, our bill of rights and our civil society.

Charles will be no more robust, I am certain.

Benedict White said...

Verity, what exactly was the Queen supposed to do? All she could have done is call a general election which would have caused a crisis allowing that power to be removed as Labour would have been returned with a large majority.