permalink | posted by Nosemonkey
Hmm. Interesting. The reform that dare not speak it's name comes from a Tory? Nixon and China spring to mind. Something is wrong with the world.
This seems to be an open question, you have reported from the Guardian which says; David Cameron will today call for the Queen to be stripped of many of her traditional powers, a move that takes his campaign to reshape the Conservative party to a startling new level. However the Telegraph put a different spin on it; David Cameron will today call for Parliament to curtail the ability of the Prime Minister to use the Royal Prerogative to declare war or sign international treaties without first consulting MPs.I belive the Queen has already been stripped of her powers by the executive, Cameron seems to be calling for parliamentary oversight of those powers, in other words removing power from the Prime Minister, who has already removed that power from the Queen, and putting back some of the controls in admittedly a different form, but still something toward returning the constitution to some sort of division of powers.
Ken - I seem to recall we've had long arguments in the past over the difference between "effective" and "actual" alteration of the constitution...Although I don't deny for a second that pretty much every prerogative power effectively lies with the Prime Minister these days, the fact is that they still technically - and legally - lie with the Queen.A reform of this situation is long overdue, certainly. The odd thing is that it's a Tory who seems to want to strip the crown of some of its few remaining constitutional roles. Because you scrap the (largely theoretical, yet still legally codified) constitutional role of the monarch, the point of the monarchy itself comes into question.
Dunno ... the crown's lost major prerogative powers before (dispensing and suspending laws, 1688/9), and it's still here. I'd prefer a democratisation of the Privy Council and the removal of all those with places under the Crown from Parliament myself, but I doubt that's what is on offer here.More likely, it would be something like the old Scottish Parliament's Act Anent Peace and War, where the Crown still decides on war policy, but Parliament has to grant consent before it can be put into action. I think Gordon Brown hinted at something similar a few months back, and if I remember rightly it's been Liberal policy for yonks to remove remaining prerogative rights.But thanks to the precedent set by the Iraq debates, it's unlikely any government could launch a war these days by prerogative alone and without a vote in the Commons at least.Anyhoo, if we are witnessing the strange rebirth of whig England, perhaps we could do something about that standing army?
Personally, I'd go for a proper separation of powers and the long-overdue splitting of the executive from the legislature. Something tells me that won't happen in my lifetime - the lure of such power for our dear MPs is just too great...Hands off the Privy Council though - I need that set up precisely how it is for my long-planned rise to dictatorship.
Mmmm, separation of powers. Montesquieutastic.Of course, Cameron could also attack the rise in the payroll vote that's been going on over successive ministries - "the influence of the crown has increased, is increasing, and should be diminished" - but, as you say, he's got a vested interest in leaving things as they are.After all, after the next election he'll need as many jobs for the boys and girls as possible to buy off those tory MPs who are keeping quiet and are just along for the ride at the moment.Other whiggish measures I can think of: a reminder that the law officers aren't actually members of the government; electoral reform; repealing anti-Catholic legislation and the blasphemy act; proper civics lessons in schools, along the American model; and, most importantly, the return to power of the aristocracy.*dusts off family crest, whistles*
All we need to do now is wait for Cameron to denounce the Treaty of Utrecht and hand back Gibraltar to Spain...
In other news, Mr Cameron denounced the Jacobite wing of his party, claiming they were out of touch with ordinary British people. "Yes, James II achieved many, many great things, but the country has moved on, and so must the Tory Party," the Leader of the Opposition declared. "We can't go on obsessing over who's the rightful King of England and all that extremist passive obedience nonsense. Hurrah for the Princess Sophia and the Elector of Hanover."
This makes Blair Robert Harley - launched an expensive and increasingly unpopular foreign war; ended up allied with the Tories when his own party started to rebel...And then Brown would be Bolingbroke - desperate for power, occasionally attacking policies favoured by Harley/Blair, making allies with other factions within the party.Cameron's no Walpole though, surely? Unless the Notting Hill Set's the new Kit-Kat Club?Christ... It all begins to make sense...
Blair is Walpole - dominates the Commons through individual skill and extensive patronage, is seen as a sell-out by the radicals in his party, suffers the occasional defeat (the Quaker Tithe Bill is the Religious Hatred Bill), and is eventually brought down by a war.Cameron is Bolingbroke - popular in the press, desperate for office, dumps all his old tory baggage for a fight over the centre-ground of British politics, distrusted by more ideologically charged allies, and despite being the most naturally talented politician of his generation never gains power. Brown is Townshend - once the prime minister's closest ally and effectively joint head of the minstry, clashes over the direction of policy, increasingly marginalised within the cabinet, and retires cursing his old ally's name.Eighteenth-century politics are the new bible code. Or something.
Matt, in that case the key question must be, who are the Pelhams?Chris
The Milibands, innit?(With special guest star John Prescott as the Earl of Wilmington, a meaningless figure leading a puppet government for a mercifully brief interregnum which everyone will forget about until flicking through the Ladybird Book of First Lords of the Treasury.)
Ken - I seem to recall we've had long arguments in the past over the difference between "effective" and "actual" alteration of the constitution...Although I don't deny for a second that pretty much every prerogative power effectively lies with the Prime Minister these days, the fact is that they still technically - and legally - lie with the Queen.A reform of this situation is long overdue, certainly. The odd thing is that it's a Tory who seems to want to strip the crown of some of its few remaining constitutional roles. Because you scrap the (largely theoretical, yet still legally codified) constitutional role of the monarch, the point of the monarchy itself comes into question.Well the Crown has already been striped of its powers, what Cameron seems to be calling for is the right of parliament to oversee or have an input into the use of those prerogative powers, rather than leaving them totally in the hands of the prime minister. I am only going by my understanding of newspaper reports, but I do not see anything that will change the theoretical base of those powers, they would still theoretically lie with the Monarch. If however you are correct and he is calling for the removal of those power from the monarch, then I would agree with you. I also agree that time reform of this situation is long overdue. The point of the Monarchy is already in doubt if it no longer has a constitutional role and the separation of the states powers are to all intents a thing of the past.
I have just checked the Tory web site. The Task Force, to be headed by former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, will consider whether the centuries-old power of the Royal Prerogative, which is used by ministers to declare war, sign international treaties, and make public appointments, should be reformed to ensure that MPs are consulted first.Another area facing review includes the process for recalling Parliament, a prerogative power which currently rests with the Speaker but can only be exercised on the initiative of ministers. However, the Task Force will not consider the personal powers of the Monarch, including the right to dissolve Parliament or appoint the Prime Minister."We Conservatives are not interested in constitutional tinkering or change for change's sake. But we are passionately committed to preserving and enhancing the integrity of the institutions that make this country great and which guarantee our most precious British birthright: freedom under the rule of law.If that last is truly a Conservative ambition then they would need to do more that a little tinkering if the do really want to guarantee our most precious British birthright: freedom. But by adding “under the rule of law” there seems to be some doubt as to whether they are intent on really restoring our British freedoms, because to really do so they would need to remove many of the states incursion into those freedoms.
Just sounds like more "I'm not a Tory, honest" posturing to me. I suspect the plan is to drop symbolic bits of modern Toryism all over the place, to give the impression of a break with the past; that way the really important Conservative policies - tax cuts and Euroscepticism, I suspect - can remain untouched.Oh brave new Conservatism that has such people in it.
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