The cost of the Royals

Catherine Bennett tells us all that the Royals are simply too, too, expensive.

And yet nowhere does she consider the contrary. What would be the cost of moving to a Presidential Republic?

The palaces will all still exist, they will all still need to be maintained. Elected politicians require security and transport. State banquets will still happen.

I’ve heard but cannot confirm that the Italian presidency (a purely ceremonial one, as we would get, rather than an executive one like France) is actually more expensive than our own dear Royals, the whole damn family of them.

It’s not immediately obvious that changing the system would cost less cash.

And this is all to ignore what I regard as the essential point of it all. That symbol of the nation thing. Which I boil down to: who gets to pin the VC on that occasional hero that we produce?

Can anyone at all imagine the world being a better place if Beharry received his from a grinning President John Prescott?

I rest my case.

69 comments on “The cost of the Royals

  1. “Can anyone at all imagine the world being a better place if Beharry received his from a grinning President John Prescott?”

    Or President Kinnock, or Chris Patten, or Paddy Pantsdown… or maybe someone from the “third sector”, like Shami Chakrabarti.

    The best argument for our constitutional monarchy is to look at the alternative. Sir Percy Blakeney preserve us.

  2. Plus she is sailing under false colours here. When the Guardian thinks something should be done because of expense you know they are lying. They hardly have a strong record on public spending.

    Purely ideological.

  3. I think it ought to be somebody appointed by lottery. They get all the food, palaces, all that, maybe for a ten year period. Get to do the same nothings that the monarch or president does; walking around in front of people, reading out a speech somebody else wrote (pretending it’s their idea). Wearing a hat. Maybe having a baby, to thrill the nation. All those crucial head of state functions.

  4. The point being I suppose, we don’t actually need one. The Prime Minister is the equivalent of the US president in all but constitutional pretence, except unrestrained by anything. The monarch has absolutely no constitutional power. She cannot refuse to sign bills into law, she plays no actual role at all.

    It might make sense in fact to simply appoint a cute pet animal, like a bunny rabbit, to the post. Would have the same effect. People could swear allegiance to the bunny rabbit, and so on. The prime minister could pretend to ask the bunny rabbit’s permission to be prime minister. Etc.

  5. If we remove any constitutional powers then why not have an actual beauty contest? Four-year terms, alternately male and female.

  6. Ian B – “It might make sense in fact to simply appoint a cute pet animal, like a bunny rabbit, to the post. Would have the same effect. People could swear allegiance to the bunny rabbit, and so on. The prime minister could pretend to ask the bunny rabbit’s permission to be prime minister. Etc.”

    How about a Canadian Timber Wolf or a Bengal Tiger?

    Think of the salutary effect it would have on ambitious politicians.

  7. the refurbishment of a 20-room apartment for the benefit of an unemployed young family of three

    Wow. She is trying a wee bit hard, isn’t she?

    People could swear allegiance to the bunny rabbit, and so on.

    Hmm, no. Don’t see it working somehow.

    Anyway, I’ll happily dob her 56p in for her if she’s so offended by it.

  8. and the lost revenue from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall

    How is the revenue for something the taxpayer has never had somehow lost to it? It’s like say I’ve lost the income from the Getty fortune.

    Income from Lancaster is also taxed, although admittedly Cornwall isn’t. Although a voluntary tax equivalent is paid (minus costs for official engagements.)

  9. Steve,

    Or President Kinnock, or Chris Patten, or Paddy Pantsdown… or maybe someone from the “third sector”, like Shami Chakrabarti.

    If elected, they would be the people’s representative doing the job. How popular is Prince Charles among the population?

    No-one has a problem with Obama handing out the congressional medals of honour. Even if you don’t like the guy, you at least respect the office of president. And the problem with the monarchy is that a lot of people don’t respect the office, because its representative is decided by nepotism.

  10. Ian B

    I suggest you ask a few of the thousands of charities who have a Royal as their patron whether they’d get more coverage, attendance or donations if they had Glenys Kinnock as their new patron rather than the Duchess of Cambridge.

    Similarly you might like to ask a UK manufacturing company whether they’d like to have a sales reception at the British Embassy in Seoul with Prince Charles hosting or Neil Kinnock.

  11. Tim Almond:

    “If elected, they would be the people’s representative doing the job.”

    The danger would be that whoever was voted would do so with a small majority of the people voting for him or her and with a sizable minority voting for someone else.

    As a unifying national figure this surely has problems. Ones easily avoided by having a monarch who is (generally) regarded as being above the daily political or other social/economic/cultural affrays.

  12. 56p a year is too much for a head of state, but 40p per day makes the BBC good value?

    Since a couple of percent of auntie’s output is dedicated to the royals could we just add their budget on to the beeb’s. That way the royals are free and your TV licence costs 40.2ppd, still excellent value I’m sure you’ll agree.

  13. The problems are the royal prerogative, orders in council and the lack of constitutional restraint *on Parliament* which was meant to restrain a monarch rather than be self-restricting.

    The various people who like to clutch plastic bags of souvenirs, line streets in their pac-a-macs waving little flags, or get all sycophantic about the current holder of the position of royal bottom wiper, are welcome to their fascinations, so far as I’m concerned. I don’t even care if preserving a constitutionally severed rump ceremonial costs a small amount. What matters is this:

    Monarchy is incompatible with limited government. While it’s true that some of the past was characterised by royal indifference to the plebs, this is not the same as limited government and the drooling cretin in waiting at the moment is not likely to be so standoffish.

  14. Ian B

    “I think it ought to be somebody appointed by lottery.”

    I think that’s just about the most sensible way of running most of the public service, just like extended jury service.

  15. As a foreigner (South African), might I put forward the possibility that the tourist trade might drop a bit more than the cost of housing the Royals. After all, I don’t think I would choose London as a tourist destination if the Changing of the Guard was in honour of some superannuated politician.

  16. Funny that the left are now keen on flogging off public assets such as Buckingham Palace. But do it to a gas plant and we’re selling the nation’s heart and soul.

    And anyone who thinks selling off the palaces is a good idea might want to consider who would buy it. Say what you like about the French, but even their biggest loons don’t advocate flogging off the palace of Versailles.

  17. Shinsei-

    I didn’t propose a president Glenys. I specifically proposed something different. Anyway, American charities seem to do fine without an HRH. You may as well ask whether HP sauce sales would fall without that “By appointment…” on the label.

    As to businesses and the nonsense of national promotion of them, that’s old mercantilist claptrap we can do without. We have a market thingy for people to buy and sell in. It makes no more sense than the zero-sum game of Northampton Trade Wallah Board using taxpayers money to compete with Wellingborough Trade Wallah Board using their taxpayers’ money: net result, same aggregate number of businesses, but a bunch of money wasted on sparkling wine and prawn cocktails.

  18. Rub-a-dub:

    If we remove any constitutional powers then why not have an actual beauty contest? Four-year terms, alternately male and female.

    Well, the beautiful people already have it better than everyone else. We really ought to be looking to appoint somebody a bit plain, you know.

  19. Peter Risdon-

    Monarchy is incompatible with limited government. While it’s true that some of the past was characterised by royal indifference to the plebs, this is not the same as limited government and the drooling cretin in waiting at the moment is not likely to be so standoffish.

    I have idly wondered whether we ought to have a written constitution and the monarchy formally charged with safeguarding it. Which might work better than the American mess with their Supreme Court.

  20. Compared to high-speed train sets , Cross-Rail tunnels, assorted wars,Forth Bridges and Edinburgh Trams, the cost of Madge is not high.
    The main issue seems to be that it cannot be long before jug-ears seems likely to get his turn. The question is not “can the Monarchy survive?” but “can the Monarchy survive him?”

  21. Whenever a republican starts whining to me about the cost of the Monarchy, I always offer them a deal:

    I’ll gladly pay their 56p, so long as they pay my share of the costs of all the things the state does of which I disapprove.

  22. The stable countries of the world tend to be those explicltly modelled on the British constitutional monarchy. Probably/possibly coincidence and I’m sure other factors play a part, but why break something which works just for ideological reasons?

    Expense? Spurious. The Left piss public money away by the billion without noticing.
    Unelected? The Left’s entire platform is based taking ordinary people OUT of the decision making process, from markets to supranational and unelected bodies governing us. They are contemptuous of real public participation.

  23. Ian B

    Were did you get the idea I was referring to Northampton versus Wellingborough. As far as I am aware the Royals don’t promote one UK company at the expense of another.

    I was specifically referring to the fact that a UK company aiming for overseas sales is far more likely to have an impact on a trade mission if it can host a evening party at a British Embassy with a Royal on show.

    I spent 7 years in Japan and I can assure you that an invitation to a drinks party at the British Embassy with even “only” Prince Andrew on show is a bigger draw than the drinks party at the Italian Embassy. Soft power works.

  24. @Shinsei1967
    It completely eludes me what drinks parties at the British Embassy have to do with the realities of modern international trade. Apart from being the way the Establishment uses its mates to assist in shutting out the competition.

  25. Ian B – “I think it ought to be somebody appointed by lottery.”

    Perhaps we should take a page out of the Tibetan book – when the Queen dies, we go out into the countryside and we find her “re-incarnation” and appoint her to her old job?

    “Wearing a hat. Maybe having a baby, to thrill the nation. All those crucial head of state functions.”

    Because we don’t give a sh!t when some fat slag from down the road does it. We shouldn’t when some fat slag married to Andrew does either. But we do.

    Ian B – “The point being I suppose, we don’t actually need one. The Prime Minister is the equivalent of the US president in all but constitutional pretence, except unrestrained by anything. The monarch has absolutely no constitutional power. She cannot refuse to sign bills into law, she plays no actual role at all.”

    That is not actually true. The Queen does retain significant powers. She is just not very public about her exercise of them.

    Monarchy works. The US aside, virtually every decent country on the planet is a monarchy. The number of half decent Republics is small indeed.

  26. SMFS,

    “Because we don’t give a sh!t when some fat slag from down the road does it. We shouldn’t when some fat slag married to Andrew does either. But we do.”

    Stick a fat slag in a custom made dress, put her in a carriage, give her some elocution lessons, and have a fawning media talking up how important she is, hold the wedding at Westminster Abbey with lots of pomp and circumstance, and people will talk.

    The monarchy are just like the Beckhams or the Kardashians, the key difference that they give away the coverage to their events rather than selling them to the highest bidder.

    As for power: it’s just what we say. You could replace “Her Majesty’s Government” or “Crown vs ” with “Yoda’s Government” or “Jar Jar Binks vs”. It’s completely meaningless. The Queen has no power. The minute they make a decision, parliament would try and destroy them.

  27. “I spent 7 years in Japan and I can assure you that an invitation to a drinks party at the British Embassy with even “only” Prince Andrew on show is a bigger draw than the drinks party at the Italian Embassy. Soft power works.”

    Why? What sort of serious person would honestly care about meeting Prince Andrew? If I went to a drinks party it would be because either the company was fun, the booze was especially good or I thought there were people who could make me richer. Meeting someone with a title that represents little more than inertia and pageantry seems kinda pointless.

  28. Tim, I gather that you a working class peasant.

    My observation is that once guys have enough money, first-class travel, a nice collection of old cars, a private jet and yacht, apartments all over the world, the next thing they want is status and recognition. Nob-hobbing with a Royal is high on the Maslow hierarchy of needs. Give us your opinion once you can park a private bespoke fitted Jumbo on your estate.

  29. Tim A>

    Presumably it’s not so much meeting Andy that’s the prize, as being seen to be important enough to get to meet him.

  30. TJGM,

    Nob-hobbing with a Royal is high on the Maslow hierarchy of needs.

    Is it? Why? How does meeting someone with no special skills, or great wit or beauty, and no particular power benefit me?

    I understand meeting with the real elites – politicians, businessmen etc. To me, you might as well go to Disneyland and have tea with Belle and Aurora.

  31. Dave,

    Sure, but then what’s the benefit in going? You’ve got your acknowledgement of having made it, stick it in the shredder and go out with your mates and have fun.

  32. Apart from the other evidence of his thickness, clearly a man who prefers to bonk Camilla rather than Diana is mentally deranged, which does not bode well for the future of the monarchy.

  33. Dave, Tim Almond, BF.

    I repeat: Give us your opinion once you can park a private bespoke fitted Jumbo on your estate.

    Until then, shutup peasants.

  34. T JGM>

    Who says I can’t?

    Tim A>

    The point isn’t being that important, it’s having everyone know it. Or, at least, having everyone who cares about such things know it.

    Why it means you’re important is a slightly different question, one that’s much harder to answer properly. I wonder if it’s not just the length of service as head of state which makes the Queen particularly well-respected as figureheads go.

  35. BraveFart>

    Where’s the evidence Charles ever got to bonk Diana? William’s got something that at least approximates a functioning brain, which he certainly didn’t get from either Charlie or Di, and Harry’s ginger.

  36. There is a scarcity of such invitations or experiences – it’s an activity that people can say they are among the few to have done, if they’re so inclined – that’s the “benefit”. If you’re not so inclined then it’s meaningless to you.

  37. Dave, William has that Windsor DNA that makes them all look like George III, including the girls.

  38. Rob is bang on.

    I personally wouldn’t miss them but the left need a better excuse than cost and democracy.

    That said, Kate ripping out a perfectly nice kitchen (one of today’s papers) is a bit silly.

  39. “Monarchy is incompatible with limited government”

    The British Monarchy is a shining example of minimal government, all they do is meet other Heads of State and lead the defence of the nation, is there anything else the government needs to do?

  40. @ Andrew K

    “Brian Sewell suggested a while back that the post would likely go to Glenys Kinnock.”

    Hmmm… Lady Glenys, CMG Tone, Princess Prezza?

    I suspect I could think of someone else – hypothetically of course – who, were she persuaded to defend, could guarantee an easy outright majority of the public vote, and on a first ballot…

    It’s not the point of course, but does illustrate why the article is utterly pointless.

    @ BiW

    I am going to borrow that one..:)

    So what you mean is – that, for 56p – I get not to pay for all of Labour’s bollocks, or anything else I don’t fancy for that matter?

    An absolute bargain!

    Don’t worry, in return, I’ll happily contribute my bit for putting some of those flying thingies on to the carriers…

  41. Apart from the other evidence of his thickness, clearly a man who prefers to bonk Camilla rather than Diana is mentally deranged, which does not bode well for the future of the monarchy.

    I’d imagine because Di was likely a prissy little thing who wouldn’t do this, that, and the other whereas Camilla is a horsey type who is as ugly as sin but probably doesn’t hold back on what she’s prepared to do in the sack.

  42. Runcie-

    The problem is, the monarchy isn’t the government. The whole point of the Glorious Revolution was to set up a monarchy that doesn’t govern, after the Stuarts and the near-miss with the Cromwell Dynasty. Their sole purpose is to be there so nobody else can be, thus ensuring unrestrained governmental power in the Parliament and ensure an absence of any checks and balances in the system.

  43. @BNIS [bloke (not) in spain]
    “It completely eludes me what drinks parties at the British Embassy have to do with the realities of modern international trade. Apart from being the way the Establishment uses its mates to assist in shutting out the competition.”

    You and all the others who don’t understand why biz needs royalty are all thinking that everyone does everything in a logical manner and for logical reasons. People are not logical. That’s the Vulcans. Royalty are celebs, and people think that by rubbing shoulders with celebs, some of that celeb will rub off. It also ups their egos to be seen with famous people.

    In other words its all about the emotions of business people.

  44. The whole thread is bullshit.
    Firstly we make a profit out of the royal family because their estates generate more income than the whole family spend (yes, including all the pomp and circumstance).
    Secondly the Queen’s net wealth is due to the bequests to Queen Victoria by hundreds (or thousands) of devoted subjects. George IV was virtually broke which is why his suppliers got royal warrants as very good advertisements in lieu of payment.
    Thirdly, some morons screamed about this when I was young so I asked whether they would prefer Brezhnev or Nixon (the then current alternatives); Juan Carlos facing down the coup plotters at the risk of his own life stopped the morons screaming for a few years. .

  45. Some of the comments are touching upon reality.
    It’s all down to evidence.
    Recent history ( past 100 years ish) shows that the society least likely to see civil strife is a constitutional monarchy, we are all aware that in theory, there are much better systems, however practice has shown that the nicest societies to live in are the bicycling monarchies or variants thereof.
    A bit like democracy really, only appeals when you consider that all the alternatives have been found to be worse when practised.

  46. Haven’t you lot meddled with Britain enough. And look what has happened as a result.
    Anyway if you sell Buckingham palace it will end up as a Mosque – Happy then ?

  47. Tim Almond – “Stick a fat slag in a custom made dress, put her in a carriage, give her some elocution lessons, and have a fawning media talking up how important she is, hold the wedding at Westminster Abbey with lots of pomp and circumstance, and people will talk.”

    You would think. But no, it doesn’t work that way. What is more, we don’t want it to work that new. Replacing old money with new money is never a good idea. Because taste is a preserve of old money. You can’t give someone enough elocution lessons – and what is more, we don’t care if you do. Monarchies work. Republics don’t. And reality stars certainly don’t.

    “As for power: it’s just what we say. You could replace “Her Majesty’s Government” or “Crown vs ” with “Yoda’s Government” or “Jar Jar Binks vs”. It’s completely meaningless. The Queen has no power. The minute they make a decision, parliament would try and destroy them.”

    The minute they try to make a decision openly. The Queen is advised about every law made. She has the right to be consulted – and to advise. Something like a third of laws are revised according to her suggestions. She does have significant behind the scenes roles.

    Also that powerlessness is the point. Suppose the PM tried to stack the Courts and the Army – a la Turkey. Harder to do with a Queen. Suppose an elected Labour President flatly rejected an elected UKIP Parliament attempting to withdraw from Europe? Who wins?

  48. SadButMadLad – “You and all the others who don’t understand why biz needs royalty are all thinking that everyone does everything in a logical manner and for logical reasons. People are not logical. … In other words its all about the emotions of business people.”

    It is not just business people. One of the great powers the Queen has is to offer some firebrand Republican a gong, along with a nice ceremony in the place, and before you know it, they are pillars of the establishment. Look at all those 60s Rock stars.

    It shouldn’t work. It is a little tacky and naff to be honest. Worse than that really. And the Royals are probably deeply unpleasant people by and large. But it does work. And it serves us well. Getting rid of the Queen and replacing them with the Kardashians and Donald Trump and Obama is not an improvement.

  49. BraveFart – “Apart from the other evidence of his thickness, clearly a man who prefers to bonk Camilla rather than Diana is mentally deranged, which does not bode well for the future of the monarchy.”

    I disagree. I think it is the one thing Charles has done that shows a little bit of character and backbone. If he were 15, sure, bone the blonde. But he isn’t. He was forced to give his mother and heir. He did. But in the end, he did not prefer the superficial and the shallow. He preferred a woman with a little more depth. A pity that the wife was not going to go along with that, but there you go. Cruel, but not entirely of his making.

    And he has done right by the woman he clearly prefers. He has done right by his wife’s child even though everyone on the planet knows he is not his.

    All in all, I think that is a very good sign.

  50. SMFS,

    The Queen is advised about every law made. She has the right to be consulted – and to advise. Something like a third of laws are revised according to her suggestions. She does have significant behind the scenes roles.

    OK, give us a few examples of laws that were changed and how.

  51. In “The Golden Bow” (admittedly a bit of 20’s faux anthropology from a chair in the library but which was celebrated in its time) Fraser suggests that Pre-Classical Meditteranean societies would have a ceremonial king who was utterly spoiled for a year and then, to ensure successful crops, slaughtered. I’m up for that: Blair, Kinnock, Chakrabarti can all have their turn.

  52. Nessimmersion,

    > in theory, there are much better systems, however practice has shown…

    Exactly. This whole thread is nonsense (as these conversations always are) because everyone’s arguing about the logical rational reasons for designing something like the British Constitution. But there are none. Britain is a series of lucky accidents. You’d have to be fucking insane to deliberately design something like our system of government. There are gazillions of very good reasons why an elected president is a much better and fairer idea. So thank goodness we didn’t allow some arrogant bastard to design our constitution and instead just stumbled blindly into it.

    I suggested at the Jubilee that pragmatists who object to monarchy in theory but have to admit that we do, by and large, seem to be getting by OK with ours could hang up banners saying “WE DON’T HAVE PUTIN”.

  53. Steve,

    > How about a Canadian Timber Wolf or a Bengal Tiger?

    Well, tigers are fucking dangerous, but I live next-door to two Canadian timber wolves and can assure you that they’re lovely big dopey cuddly softies.

    Not that there are any burglars in our area willing to bet on that.

  54. Rob,

    > When the Guardian thinks something should be done because of expense you know they are lying.

    Quite. See also their campaign to get the Vatican declared a non-nation-state because having the Pope’s visit to the UK be an official state visit is just so expensive. Also Thatcher’s funeral — strange how the same people weren’t campaigning for British representatives not to attend Mandela’s funeral in order to do their bit to save cash-strapped South Africa’s security budget.

  55. Tim Almond – “OK, give us a few examples of laws that were changed and how.”

    Her advice is by its nature secret. It is only an estimate. She is said to have got herself written out of the Race Relations Act though.

    Squander Two – “Also Thatcher’s funeral — strange how the same people weren’t campaigning for British representatives not to attend Mandela’s funeral in order to do their bit to save cash-strapped South Africa’s security budget.”

    South Africa’s security budget? What about the BBC:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523537/BBC-accused-losing-proportion-Mandelas-death-dedicating-100-programmes-just-week.html

    Earlier this week, it was revealed the BBC has flown a total of 140 journalists and production staff to South Africa since Mr Mandela died aged 95 last Thursday, nearly three times as many as all its rival British broadcasters put together.

    Sky News sent 15 staff, ITV and Channel 4 each sent nine, and Channel 5 sent four.

    It is amazing how easily the Hard Left falls for Personality Cults centred on terrorists and murderers.

    Remember that the next time the BBC complains about being under funded.

  56. “Too expensive” turns out to be about 56p per person per year.

    Personally, I don’t find it all that expensive.

    And since – as Tim points out – the alternative is some ghastly has-been of a political crony (President Kinnock, anyone?), then Long Live Brenda, say I.

    And that goes for Charlie, Billy, and George as well.

  57. SMFS,

    “Her advice is by its nature secret. It is only an estimate.”

    Or maybe it’s just a lie to provide the veneer of checks and balances in our system and it never happens.

  58. Tim rebuts case against constitutional monarchy. One-dimensional, semi-autistic engineers by training simply can’t grasp the point…

  59. S2,

    “Exactly. This whole thread is nonsense (as these conversations always are) because everyone’s arguing about the logical rational reasons for designing something like the British Constitution. But there are none. Britain is a series of lucky accidents. You’d have to be fucking insane to deliberately design something like our system of government. There are gazillions of very good reasons why an elected president is a much better and fairer idea. So thank goodness we didn’t allow some arrogant bastard to design our constitution and instead just stumbled blindly into it.”

    The constitution of this country is “anything parliament wants”. We have no checks and balances against parliament except a monarch that has signed through everything from removing the right to jury trial in some cases and making defendants pay their own legal fees when found not guilty, two things that I consider as essential as part of protecting people’s basic rights.

    I don’t have much confidence that she wouldn’t sign through martial law if parliament put it in front of her.

  60. Two and a half millenia ago, Aristotle – one of the brighter chaps to inhabit this earth – concluded that constitutional monarchy was the best form of governance. Not much has changed since then. Eccentrics, engineers and other semi-educated people might disagree; but constutional monarchy works.

  61. I don’t have much confidence that she wouldn’t sign through martial law if parliament put it in front of her.

    Parliament asking HM to declare martial law would be interesting. I suspect she knows, rather better than they, the utter disregard the military have for the current political elite. I’m not sure there was a politician the military had a significant majority in favour of since the Duke of Wellington.

  62. The desirable properties for a ceremonial head of state are:
    – moderately intelligent
    – female
    – easy on the eye
    – trained for the role from an early age
    – possessed of a mildly scandalous but not very criminal family, for the entertainment of the populace.

    Our current approach is hereditary, which has worked well for the last sixty years, but runs the risk that a successor may be thick, male, and ugly.

    Perhaps we can do better. I suggest that whenever a new monarch accedes to the throne, a national contest should be held, “Britains Got Princesses”, in which families with suitable 5-year-old daughters compete, and three families are chosen by popular vote to become minor royals. The 5-year-olds would become princesses and be brought up with a possible future as ceremonial monarch in mind. When a new queen is required, a second contest should be held, “The Q Factor”, in which one of the princesses is chosen by popular vote to be queen.

  63. Tim A,

    > We have no checks and balances against parliament except a monarch that has signed through everything from removing the right to jury trial in some cases and making defendants pay their own legal fees when found not guilty, two things that I consider as essential as part of protecting people’s basic rights.

    No argument from me. One thing we could do with would be some clearly defined duties regarding what the Monarch should and shouldn’t sign. But that’s not an argument for a president, who would not only sign tyrannical crap but write it first.

    PaulB,

    That is rather funny, but, you know, I think it would actually work really well. The only downside I see is a probable high rate of abdication.

  64. Surreptitious Evil – “Parliament asking HM to declare martial law would be interesting. I suspect she knows, rather better than they, the utter disregard the military have for the current political elite. I’m not sure there was a politician the military had a significant majority in favour of since the Duke of Wellington.”

    Britain’s military leaders are marked by nothing so much as gutlessness and a lack of spine. They may dislike the civilian leadership, but when it comes down to it, both of them have sold out the interests of the nation, the defence of the Realm, the well-being of their soldiers and the safety of civilians. All to benefit BAe by the looks of it.

    You only have to look at the scandal of Royal Navy ship orders – which seem to exist solely to provide careers for the currently powerful officer lobby within the Navy. Or the Eurofighter debacle. Or the slow abolition of the historic Regiments. But not of course the Guards or anyone else with a Royal connection!

    In every case, Britain’s commanders have shown that they prefer their careers to quaint little concepts like honour and duty. The Generals can despise the Ministers all they like. At least the civilians have the saving grace of being ignorant. The military is not.

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