Thursday, 14 February 2013

God Save the Queen - Top Ten ways to dispose of the British Monarchy

For some reason the resignation of Pope Benedict has caused me to ponder the question of when we will be rid of that other aged Queen – Elizabeth Regina.

Currently the only value to the British people of their constitutional monarch is that it brings tourists to Buck House to watch the horse show. Also she is sentimentally popular with elderly types who can be described as "monarchists".

If I were the Prime Minister, what would I do to eradicate the monarchy? Well, nothing until the sad day Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ascends to heaven. She is the fourth most powerful political figure in the world, and is entirely beloved by her people in large parts of the United Kingdom. However, when Charles, the Prince of Wales, ascends to the throne...

  1. Cease to attend the weekly meetings at Buck House. In fact, not only would I, the PM, not go, I would send the most trivial and impotent staffer in my place. They would make a few notes, and give me a memo on what His Maj rambled on about that I would file vertically.
  1. Just say No. The PM should refuse to accept the next Heir as Monarch. Ignore them as a head-of-state. Lavish attention on the Parliament's choice of Heir. This would be wicked fun if the choice was to ignore Charles and foster the spotlight on Kate and King Will. Although anyone of royal bloodline would do. In fact, one could really rub their noses in it by anointing some minor member of the Deutsch Saxe-Coburg-Gotha clan. Hubertus, Alexaner, Gabriel, Emmanuel & Nicholas are all available.

    There is precedence for this. In 1936 British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin counselled the Prince of Wales that he could not continue as Edward VIII, forcing him to resign and accept the title The Duke of Windsor. Baldwin's argument was that he could not have married the divorced American Wallis Simpson. Let us note that the current Prince of Wales has married a divorcée with a surviving husband - Baldwin totally bluffed the Duke. So this is all "too bad, so sad" for the late Edward VIII. How is it relevant here? Simple - instead of the King appointing a Prime Minister, this marks the first time a Prime Minister appointed a King.
  1. The next development is that Prince Charles would appear at the opening of Parliament to read the Throne Speech. That ritual includes a vestigial and symbolic protest where the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod and the Speaker of the House engage in a symbolic ritual that hectors the Royal before allowing passage. So it would be a trivial matter for the Speaker of the House to hector the Royal before DENYING them passage. And then King Will is admitted and he reads the speech. THAT would send a message, and is entirely constitutional. And, in fact, holds precedent. Meaning it can't be challenged.

    However, the House of Lords, by definition would be problematic. They would have no option other than supporting the hereditary Monarch (Charles). This would create an interesting acceleration to the disestablishment of the Monarchy, as this body of non-elected elites would have to chose between:
    • Opposing the will of the government of the day (and therefore all the citizens of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, et al)
    • Keep their yaps shut and do whatever the government tells them to do
  2. Now the ruling houses of Britain are split. Charles Regis-non-grata is ensconced at Buck House, and King William and his lovely wife and heir-provider Kate are running a second court. What resources does the Regis-non-grata have? Well, Charles Rex-non-grata is still head of the Church of England. So he could attempt some form of takeover using the clergy and his pastoral flock. Good luck with that
  3. Un-Royal the Military. His or Her Majesty is the head of many, many, many regiments of Army, Air Force, and Navy. This means She or He could order the Military to effect a coup, removing the Prime Minister and replacing them with a royal sock puppet. As it happens no senior Admiral, General or Supreme would go along with this. To ensure this option is not possible, the PM will need to pass a motion un-Royalling the Military. For best results I suggest unifying the military under one command. Canada did this. The advantage of this approach is that the Supremos then spend all their time fighting territory battles with each other, and never coalesce into a force that will attack the government.
  4. Parliament waives the Monarchy's tax-exempt status. The Monarchy in toto brings in £1 billion per annum. They pay tax on about 25% of that.
  5. According to the plan I propose, by now a "neutered" King Charles is no longer a monarch of anything in Britain, but still holds dominion in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Isles of Man and the Channel Islands. And, as blogger Rory M notes "Commonwealth realms by which the Monarch is represented by a Governor-General: Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bahamas, Canada, Grenada, New Zealand (Incl. Cook Islands, Niue), Tuvalu, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Christopher and Nevis, Salomon Islands." It will be the problem of each of these nation-states to handle the disestablishment of the Monarchy on their own.
  6. Step One has been achieved- the Civil List ends this year. A savings of £ 41.5 million pounds sterling. Now the monarchy must fund itself.
  7. In the final step to disestablishment of the Monarchy, the political party will have to run on a platform with a specific plank to do so, and then get elected. I see that as being 100 years off.
  8. Finally, I leave the ultimate mayhem to blogger "capitalgentleman" "Well, there is: it was done before, with Charles I. He was beheaded during the Civil War, and Oliver Cromwell took over as "Lord Protector"." Ouch.

Viewers of "The King's Speech" will know that, in Britain, this article could be interpreted as treasonous. However, since constitutional practice in the UK is based on tradition and precedent rather than a written set of rules, I have taken every caution to propose only steps which have precedence or which do not require a contradiction of constitutional practice.

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