Note: Handbasket is the correct term. It is absolutely not handcart!
This country’s monarch provides – in theory at least – the last bastion against government extremism by withholding the royal assent from potentially damaging legislation.
While it has become traditional in the UK for the monarch to effectively rubber-stamp legislation, the power of veto still exists** – all that’s lacking is the will to use it.
**It resides in the monarch’s Reserve Powers not used since 1708, which is no reason why they can’t be. Those same powers can also be used to dismiss a Prime Minister, and if ever one deserved to be shown the door, it’s Cameron, not least because of his lies, but also because he has no mandate whatsoever for the damage he’s inflicting upon the citizens of this country, and because of the increasingly apparent corruption in his government.
Now, though, with the Queen having blithely signed away the Welfare State which her father signed into law, via the NHS bill, not to mention the Welfare Reform Bill, which will remove sickness and disability benefits from many thousands of sick and disabled people, and will see an as yet unquantifiable but likely huge number rendered homeless by this, as well as by changes in Housing Benefit.
And, of course, Legal Aid will mostly be history very soon, which will deprive those people who need it most of free access to justice.
And all that in the face of one of the most corrupt governments in modern times, or quite possibly ever, in terms of hard cash trousered for selling influence and favours. Not to mention selling off the NHS, in which many Tory and LibDem lords and MPs had vested interests, and the donations to the party by those who have bought into the NHS or who are waiting to do so.
So, if the Queen is happy to sit up there in Buckingham Palace, or any other of her state-financed homes, and totally disregard the plight of her people – what use is she?
This monarchy would appear to be an absolute liability.
It’s frequently claimed – I’ve done so myself, I regret to say – that royalty brings a substantial amount of tourist cash into London and the rest of the country but, actually, the argument is utterly facile. The absence of a monarchy hasn’t noticeably damaged the tourist trade in Paris, or anywhere else in France, has it?
The time is, I believe, ripe for this country to take steps towards becoming a republic.
Perhaps, too, it’s also time for a wholesale revision of our political system, and the introduction of a bi-cameral system, as now, but one in which the second chamber – and yes, I know it’s a novelty, but stay with me – has real power.
The Lords is supposed to be the check on Commons excesses, yet the Commons has the means, in the Parliament Acts and others, to utterly ignore the wishes of the Lords, and ride roughshod over any amendments they might make to legislation, no matter how beneficial those amendments might be, as we’ve seen demonstrated so ruthlessly of late.
We, therefore, need to abolish the Lords, consigning the Parliament Acts to history, where they belong at the same time, and replace it with a wholly elected second chamber with the power of veto over the Commons, unless both sides can get together and work out a compromise – which is essentially what happens with the Senate and Congress in the US.
And yes, that system can be damaging (no political system is perfect, especially not – before someone suggests it – Communism), but not as massively damaging as what we have now, which is a House of Commons totally out of control and subject to the will of just one man of questionable honesty (just listen to the lies at PMQs for a start), and sanity (any person who truly believes that they are always right and can never be wrong is not entirely sane, not to mention his totally deranged hatred of the sick and disabled). This country, under Cameron, is not a democracy, but an elected dictatorship.
There is, of course, the problem that the Lords won’t willingly give up what is, for many, mostly a sinecure, to be cast out into the real world, nor will MPs willingly transfer a sizeable proportion of their authority to a second house which would have real power, compared to the futility of the current Lords’ puppet show which can always be overruled.
But, first things first, and that’s the abolition of the monarchy as a whole, along with a Queen who, unlike her father, cares not the tiniest shit for the welfare of her people, and when that happens it really is time to sweep them all away. The French did it in blood and terror. Being British I would hope we can find a more civilised way – so maybe it’s time for a referendum, to see if we can, especially given the widespread lack of interest, according to the media, in the Jubilee?
Of course, that’s not going to happen any time soon – to believe otherwise would be foolish (though wouldn’t it be great if it did?) – as the political will just isn’t there. Hell, they’re fannying about with a possible 80% elected House of Lords – which would still have no real authority any more than the current one does until such time as the Commons is deprived of its present ability to nullify the Lords.
Hmm… Maybe the French had the right idea after all? I really don’t know what the answer is, but this country is headed for a modern-day feudalism, run by corrupt millionaires and corporations for their own benefit, and with the needs of the people coming a very long way last.
Is that what you want for your children – and theirs?
See also the addendum, here.