Over at the LPUK Weblog, Patrick Vessey has written a piece seeking to explain the Queen's deplorable behaviour in giving Royal Assent to the European Union (Amendment) Bill, which enshrines adherence to the Lisbon Treaty into British Law.
It seems that the Queen simply isn't very interested in modern affairs or politics—a trait which is, at least, not shared by Prince Charles, for all that his views are idiotic. Thus, it is concluded, the Queen simply doesn't overly care about the liberty of the nation or the tradition which she represents.
The wonder in all of this is only in that Patrick thinks that she should care. Ultimately, as Adam Smith illustrated so fervently, we are all self-interested creatures. Were that not the case, we would have seen even more popular revolt against this Bill (and our lack of referendum): why should the monarchy, in their rarified existence, care for a Bill that will ultimately not affect them, when the people whom it will affect, it seems, couldn't give a shit?
Regular readers will recall that your humble Devil is a monarchist, but only because the monarchy can be used as both a marketing tool (for re-engaging with our Commonwealth partners) and as a political one—to curb Parliament.
But surely, you will say, the monarch could curb Parliament now, and she does not do so: how would you change that? It is easy: I would do so by means of engaging the monarch's self-interest.
My proposal, you might remember, was quite simple. The UK should have a codified Constitution or Bill of Rights; many have called for this, but a Constitution, in and of itself, is insufficient. Although it might be difficult to change, as we have seen in many countries—not least in the US—unscrupulous politicians can get together to change it. And our politicians are almost universally devoid of scruples, and they are not adverse to agreeing across political lines when it is in their interests to do so—take the state funding of political parties, for example, which all three main parties, unsurprisingly, support.
Now, I view the monarch as a potentially useful brake on the tyranny of Parliament; it is Parliament who are the enemy: after all, we would not be having this debate on the uselessness of the monarch had our Parliament not forced this Bill through in the first place. However, the monarch does need to be engaged and we cannot rely on the vagaries of an individual monarch's personality to do this.
So what I proposed was that, if the monarch gave Royal Assent to any Bill that contravened the Constitution, it would trigger an automatic referendum on whether to force the monarch to abdicate. We could weight it sufficiently that there would be a real chance of the monarch being forced out: two thirds, say, would have to vote to retain the monarch. In recent times, this would have occured with both the European Union (Amendment) Bill and the 42 Days' Detention Bill (both of which contravene our Constitution in different ways).
In this way, the monarch would be forced, through self-interest, to consider each and every piece of legislation put before them, lest they lose their position and their livelihood. If they thought that the Bill really was for the good of the country—if it was a suspension of liberties in a time of Total War, for instance, e.g. ID Cards and internment during WWII—then the people could allow it through by voting to support the monarch.
In order further to curb Parliament, and to punish them for passing such a Bill in the first place, if a piece of legislation was knocked back, Parliament would automatically be dissolved and a General Election immediately called.
We should not expect the monarch to be any more engaged than the rest of the population; or, rather, we might expect it, but we certainly should not pin our liberties on this being the case.
But, it must be emphasised again that what Patrick is doing here is the equivalent of blaming a death on the passerby who let a murderer escape from the crime scene. That passerby could have stopped the murderer, just as the Queen could have stopped this Bill: but it is no more fair to blame the Queen for Assenting to this Bill than it is to blame the passerby for said murder.
Whilst the Queen should have used Her powers, let us never forget that, were our Parliament not packed with evil, cowardly, corrupt and unprincipled swine, the monarch would not have to exercise Her powers.
It is our Parliament that is our enemy and we should never forget that.
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