I do agree. If they were wise and offered us leadership, Dalai Lama style, maybe I could live with the hereditary right to fawning and grovelling that they command. But they are like a cheap soap opera and should have faded away graciously when Charles I got his head cut off. We really do deserve better.
Not sure who I would put up in their place as a figurehead president. Somebody non-political who reflects the best of Britain:
Rolf Harris? (a commonwealth citizen)
Thinking of starting the Oliver Cromwell Appreciation Society - if somebody hasn't already!
Palin, Attenborough and Harris would all make splendid presidents.
Or how about Judy Dench?
Or Trevor McDonald?
Or Michael Aspel.
In fact- since I favour a fixed term appointment (so the incumbent doesn't have time to get uppity) they could all have a shot at it.
2007-10-29 02:50 pm (UTC)
Smart remark from across the pond...
I suggest Jennifer Saunders. I think she could write, produce and direct just about anything, especially the royals.
2007-10-29 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Smart remark from across the pond...
Which would mean that Ade Edmondson- the punky, shouty, ultra-violent one off the Young Ones- would get to be the President's consort and accompany her on state occasions. Yes, I like that idea.
Don't you think there is a certain measure of poetry in such an institution?
The last English monarch to inspire great poetry was Charles I.
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene.
Since then they have inspired nothing but satire.
Charles II was amusing, William III soldierly, Victoria decent and George VI a martyr to his duty. The rest have been spoiled, brutal and dull.
*BARGE* - poetry does not run countries!
Constitutional monarchs are a good thing. They help provide some sense of stability to governments and help modify extremist behavior on the part of certain political poodles who improvidently try to change too much too soon about a nation's government and tradition, biding their time until the political pendulum swings the other direction.
History will show that one of the most tragic legacies of the Blair era was the dismantling of the traditional House of Lords. Packing the votes with political crony life peers makes a mockery of bicameral legislation, not to mention the loss of centuries—if not millennia—of good counsel from the peerage.
You will also find that requiring two-thirds majorities in both houses of Parliament will bring modernisation and good government to a standstill.
The U.K. is not like other countries (especially its former colonies!), so pure democratic republicanism will not work there and will not aptly guide the kingdom and its well-entrenched social fabric through the modern world.
Oh, BTW, I read British constitutional law and English legal process at Queen's College, Oxford, so I'm not a totally uninformed American. :-)
This would be my recipe for the house of Lords:
1. Ban anyone who has held party political office.
2. Engage an Electoral College of institutions like the Royal Colleges of Physicians / Surgeons, the TUC, the Royal Academy, the law colleges, RIBA, the University Vice-Chencellors, the charitable sector, the CBI, etc. etc. i.e. those who can evaluate expertise in a particular walk of life.
3. Get the Electoral College to nominate their best and brightest members to stand for election.
4. Get these nominations endorsed by the public in a national vote. (The Lords should not have local constituencies, hustings could be held on TV.)
5. Retire the Lords after say, 12 years on a rolling basis so that every 4 years, one third of them come up for re-election.
6. Appoint some officials who can advise the Lords who are not lawyers on points of law.
7. Watch the debates, they would be informed, enlightened, and fascinating.
That's a terrific proposal. I'd vote for it.
I yield to no-one in my contempt for Tony Blair.
But I don't see any reason why pure democratic republicanism shouldn't work here. We were after all the first European nation to try and execute a king.
Democratic Republicanism isnt working so well here, either. In the US it's more like Despotic Capitalism - at least in recent years.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with your last paragraph. "Democratic Republicanism will not work there" - why not? And the "well-entrenched social fabric" is gone, my friend. We no longer wear flat caps, curtsey to the Squire, and generally we have forgotten to "know our place". We are quite uppity, in fact. Please stop watching re-runs of "Brideshead Revisited", we are not so different from the US, socially. I have spent enough time there to know that at work, for instance, we Brits are not as deferential as our US colleagues, and we are much more left wing.
now let's all sing the Red Flag...
I would settle for a constitutional monarchy on the European model- a low-key, bicycling monarchy.
just found this picture a couple of days ago. i do enjoy it.