Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dissident? Don't make me laugh

Prince Charles may disagree with many people and many policies but his is hardly the image that springs to mind when one thinks of a dissident. Apparently he regards himself as a "dissident working against the prevailing political consensus".

I find it hard to believe that the british constitution (unwritten though it is) was not a key part of the education of our would be Monarch. If he wants to get involved in politics then fair enough I say but only after he has removed himself from the line of succession.

What will happen when a future King Charles (or is it George?) is faced with a hung parliament and two parties with an equally large number of seats? Which leader will he ask to form a government first? Will it be the one who is most in tune with his policies? and whatever his decision will the british people respect it?

I should imagine that his mother is furious. Better still lets do away with the whole institution.

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Alex Wilcock said...

Absolutely spot-on (good to see another outspoken Lib Dem republican blogger).

And as if anyone would actually listen to him if he wasn't heir to the throne, about as far from being a dissident as you can be. He's just trying to have his cake and eat it, as shown by the arrogance that he thinks the government should do as he says but no-one should be allowed to hear about or question him on it.

Paul said...

If the Queen lives as long as her mother, Charles will be in his eighties when he becomes King. So just imagine what an extra element of ageing will do for his opinions.

Tony Ferguson said...

I am happy to wait for the queen to go but at some point we need to abolish this out moded institution.

The church can be disestablished and run it own affairs without the help of "The Defender of the Faith".

As for our democratic institutions a written constitution would be a good start and doubtless this could cover who is asked to form a government first and how Acts of Parliament become law without gaining "Royal Assent".

In this day and age I am baffled as to why we should need the Queens say so before an Act of Parliament can become law. I am reminded of King Baudouin of Belgium who in 1989 refused to sign the country's new abortion bill because of his personal religious convictions and abdicated for 36 hours. With Charles as King this could become a regular occurence!

Tristan said...

I don't see why people get so worked up about the monarchy.

They give us something to laugh at, bring in tourism money and have no real power and cost us 50p a year each (and that is probably going to drop).

Signing legislation and asking to form a parliament is all routine, in the case of an evenly split parliament I'm sure the privy councillors would have a large say. You also fail to distinguish between Charles as King and Charles as a person, one is a functionary who does his basic duty, the other is a person with his own beliefs.

The real problem is the power held by the Prime Minister. Originally intended to keep a check on the monarch, the PM now has taken on all the power of the monarch with no check on their power (apart from an increasingly crippled parliament). As liberals we should be more intent upon actual problems of concentration of power and the problem of an elective dictatorship rather than the situation of a an archaic ceremonial position which does no harm.

Tony Ferguson said...

The tourism benefit is probably worth keeping but then the cost should be justified on that basis and that basis alone. Having a non elected head of state is not something I could support. I do however, agree with your points about the concentration of power and the weakness of our parliamentary democracy. These are indeed issues which need to be addressed. Lets have an elected second chamber, a bill of rights, a written constitution, fixed term elections and lets start devolving a lot of things away from parliament and down to a more approriate level

Paul said...

Can I just say that I am also a republican? "Charles as a person ...with his own beliefs." The problem is that because he is heir to the throne he gets more coverage of his views than a normal person. It really is time that he went head-to-head with Jeremey Paxman if he is going to continue spouting his ridiculously half-baked views. He is abusing the privilege of a wide platform for his views - he should be challenged head-to-head on these views, for what will probably be more or less the first time. He is not exactly the bearer of the most awesome intellect.

The reason he thinks he is a dissident is because he is arrogant and hardly ever gets challenged head-on.

I am sure tourism would increase if visitors were allowed access to all areas of Buck House without the encumbrance of having to avoid most of it due its occupant. It does seem bizarre to try to justify a constitution on tourism. Surely it should be justified on the ability of people to elect and sack their head of state, rather than their head of state being dictated by a series of arcane and at time somewhat dodgy historical events? Was Edward IV really conceived by a French soldier rather than the king? If so, we should be hearing the views of King Mike (Hastings), last heard of in Australia, rather than Charlie boy.

Regarding the church, as a very regular church-goer I would be delighted to have the church of England separated from the state. I don't see why we should need the "protection" of the state.

Paul said...

While I am at it, is it really OK to have a King who goes off piste at State Banquets to make his own point, rather than following Foreign Office advice? Or is the future King going to set up his own sort of Foreign Policy?