The Great Jubilee Weekend Question

So, imagine that, as Polly is panting for, we had been a Republic these past 60 years.

G VI pops his clogs on schedule but (invent some nonsense here) Liz doesn\’t take over and we go to a vote on who should be President.

Call it 7 year terms. Who would we have had over the years?

I think a good argument can be made that we\’d actually have got Liz back in \’52.

But leave that aside. What does anyone think would have been a reasonable and likely series of Presidents?

Assume that the basic political system remains. Power with the PM in the Commons. President is a figurehead, not an executive.

I could imagine Churchill having won the first election. I could also imagine the first line politicians never even considering it and us getting a succession of definitely second rankers filling the post. Around 2003, 2004 sort of time, would Labour have put up Blair or Prescott?

Tatchell would have been an independent candidate several times but not got anywhere near election.

So, anyone want to have a go? Give us a list of the Presidents of the Great British Republic from 1952 to present?

Be as odd as you like. Don\’t forget, in this universe the celebrations started with 130,000 race goers watching the Queen being entertained by a dancing dog. Weird is definitely believable.

20 thoughts on “The Great Jubilee Weekend Question”

  1. “Around 2003, 2004 sort of time, would Labour have put up Blair or Prescott?”

    Neither, they would have wangled some eminent “outsider”, someone professional, a woman.

    In short, President Cherie Blair. Who would have taken all the light bulbs with her at term’s end.

    If there was nothing else we should be grateful to the Queen for, then this alone would be it !

    Alan Douglas

  2. No idea what the running order over the entire period would have been but the premature death of President Patten in ’99 & the decision by the incumbent Prime Minister to leave the post temporarily vacant – so paving the way for him combining the offices under the title of Leader in 2001……….

  3. Since the Queen is merely a figurehead, why bother replacing her with a President? Just do away with the office entirely.

    Some say that the royal family draws in tourists, but that seems unlikely. In France they beheaded their royals over 200 years ago; today the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world, and Versailles is not far off.

    Back to the issue. Since the new title of President would confer very little power but a lot of attention, what kind of person would be drawn to it? Certainly not the likes of Peter Mandelson – he prefers hidden power. No, we’d have a string of TV celebrities lining up to do it. Somebody with long-term staying power. My money’s on Bruce Forsyth.

  4. There s no evidence that any of the popular candidates (David Attenborough heads the list with Richard Branson a very odd third choice) would even want to be Head of State.

  5. 52: Winston Churchill
    59: Enoch Powell
    66: Enoch Powell
    69 by-election: Margaret Thatcher
    76: Margaret Thatcher
    83: Margaret Thatcher
    90: Robert Maxwell
    91 by-election: Tony Bliar
    98: Liam Gallagher
    98 by-election: Bob Geldof
    05: Ant and Dec
    12: Cheryl Cole

  6. Not Churchill, for sure. He would have stayed loyal to ‘the Queen over the water.’ (I assume she wouldn’t have been executed by the Clement Attlee Brigade of the English Republican Army.)

  7. 1953 Sir Winston Churchill
    1960 Sir Winston Churchill
    1965 Sir Winston dies, Louis Mountbatten appointed caretaker.
    1967 Louis Mountbatten
    1974 Barbara Castle
    1981 Charles Mountbatten
    1989 Charles Mountbatten
    1997 Margaret Thatcher
    2005 Tony Blair
    2012 William Mountbatten ahead in the polls.

  8. You can bet your bottom dollar Richard Branson would have been putting himself forward on a regular basis in the 80s, 90s and beyond.

  9. Tim says Liz might have won the election in 1952. It would probably have been a referendum, which Liz would have won by about 80-20, ending the question for the time being.

  10. Bruce Forsyth halfway through his glorious fifth term in office? Boris Johnson would be planning a run in a few years, I imagine.

  11. Englebert Humperdinck couldn’t be any worse as President than he was at Eurovision.

    That is, if he were elected over Cliff Richard in the first place.

  12. It would have been a parade of political nonentities and has-beens, such as Herbert Morrison, Peter Walker, Neil Kinnock and Chris Patten.

    On the other hand, I reckon in 1953 Field-Marshal Montgomery would have been in with a shout (although quite unsuited to the role).

  13. I recall discussing this briefly about 10 years ago with a chippy Moslem manning the window at the local Post Office. He expressed Republican sentiments (perhaps over some special royal stamps). I suggested that if there were a President he would probably face a choice between Margaret Thatcher and Ken Livingstone. Which would he prefer? I think he was instantly converted to constitutional monarchy.

  14. Regarding Andew M’s comment, you still need a way to resolve an electoral stalemate where both political sides claim a mandate, so even a ceremonial head of state would have a real constitutional role.

    Of course, if Liz had replaced by a president in 1952 she’d still have been queen of the other Commonwealth countries unless they too chose to do away with the monarchy. Here in Australia she’d have been most welcome, as our referendum on a republic around 10 years ago demonstrates.

  15. Moldbug: “You will sometimes hear Botswana described as a model of African democracy. How fortunate that the Botswanan people should be so wise as to elect, as their first President, none other than their hereditary monarch.”

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