Welcome back to Dr. R. Baron’s series of lectures on the declining shithole that is Britain. Having covered the historical precedent of British politics Dr. Baron will now go on to look at the role of the Monarchy in British political life, with particular emphasis on post 1642.

The Monarchy

Well, before I get into a diatribe about the monarchy it is important to explain to you what the monarchy actually does in this country. The simple answer is not a lot but there are things that require some further explanation. Obviously the monarchy now is substantively different to the monarchy in say the Middle Ages or even up to the mid 17th century. Up to this point it was the old Divine Right principle, monarchy put there by God and absolute power etc. etc. the monarch effectively ran the show. The only way to get anything done would be therefore to influence the monarch and thus things were only done for the wealthy and powerful anyway as these were the only people with sufficient patronage to gain an audience. Magna Carta is a good example of this, it is not some groundbreaking bill of rights as some might have you believe it is simply the underpinning of the rights of the richest and most powerful landowners to have serfs and levy taxes and raise armies independently from the monarchs control. As I said 1215 was hardly the age of enlightenment!

Since the Civil War and execution of Charles I the situation has been somewhat different with the monarchy tied down far more and subject to Parliamentary control, of course not until the 20th century did this make a vast amount of difference because the people in charge of Parliament were hardly dyed-in-the-wool reds! In terms of current monarchical power over the legislature the sovereign is largely symbolic providing a rubber stamp element to government, however the monarch has the veto, tho’ rarely used it does still exist. It is also worthy of note that the current queen has exercised her power on occasions, partially it must be said on trivial matters but none the less in a wholly unconstitutional and undemocratic fashion. Tony Benn recalls in his diaries whilst serving as Postmaster General his attempts to change the design of stamps, something the queen has absolute veto over, when he met with the queen and presented the designs no objection was given but later he was informed that the queen would not sanction any design that did not have her head on it and the designs had to be dropped. This is I agree a banal example but it is perhaps most worrying precisely because of its banality, why should something so trivial not be under the auspices of the elected government what is it about this that the monarchy wishes to hang on to? To understand this point you have to understand the monarchy as a whole and where its politics lie. It will probably not surprise most people to know that the British monarchy, as establishment a set of figures as you could ever hope to avoid, is fervently right-wing. Some like the mad old Greek Prince Philip make no secret of the fact and regularly take pride in offending a new national group by making xenophobic and idiotic remarks, other like the dead queen mother were more subtle but no less vitriolic. The monarchy is understandably one of the most reactionary groups in the world, it has every reason to be so after all it would be able to survive far better in the old days than it does now. Bearing in mind that in the scheme of things the monarchy has every reason to fear the people it would like to keep them at a long arm’s length, after all it’s only relatively recently that they’ve started speaking the same language as the rest of the population and some might say that whilst the words are the same their language is still as different as the Americans.

If you want any example of the impact that the monarchy can have ask the people of Diego Garcia who today have found out that In Counsel for the Queen the High Court ruling that their eviction was illegal has been overturned. The islands were cleared some years ago to make way for an American airbase, interestingly the airbase was only on one island but it seemed necessary to remove the inhabitants of surrounding islands up to 200 miles away. The residents have campaigned through the UK judicial system and were recently rewarded with a High Court judgement in their favour – the High Court being the highest judicial court in the land bar the House of Lords. However rather than heed the judgement the government decided to go through a non-appealable process ‘in the name of the Queen’ and thus put an end to the matter in their favour. So that’s the Queen’s ‘Rubber Stamp’ power for you. What a surprise to find the Americans involved there as well.

Next session: Contemporary British Politics, same time, same place soon, thank you for your attention.

Prof R. Baron MA D Phil

Song Of The Day – Air ~ Cherry Blossom Girl

Original Comments:

Katie made this comment,
song of the day.
comment added :: 18th June 2004, 13:06 GMT+01
john made this comment,
I expected a more vitriolic diatribe Baron. I would find it difficult to write in such a scholarly manner about such a subject, but I know that,like me, your favourite date in history must be 30th January 1649, so here’s to the next time.
Visit me @ http://bigjohn.blog-city.com/

[Redbaron responds -Have no fear John, the vitriol prevails, however I don’t feel I need to preach to the converted such as yourself on a subject such as this, that’s for down the pub plotting to finish what old Guido started! This blog was a fairly objective guide for the Americans to act as something to start them off so that they may understand the rants to come!]

comment added :: 18th June 2004, 16:55 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
This is good stuff– way more than I ever learned in school. Lucky little Red Baronette and Marqui of Red who will be so well versed before they are old enough to be swilling beer.
bluepoppy [bluepoppy@omworks.com]

comment added :: 18th June 2004, 20:04 GMT+01