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Re: Sean Gabb's article Monarchy, Nation-States, And The Failed Reign of "Elizabeth The Useless"
From: Steve Nagy [Email him]
Mr. Gabb shouldn't be too hard on Queen Elizabeth. It is exactly because the UK doesn't have a written constitution outlining each branch of government's responsibilities and powers that HM is in such a difficult position.
If there were a written constitution that specifically allowed the monarch to veto legislation and outlined the process as to how Parliament could override such a veto, Gabb's criticism would be well founded—because then she truly would be part of the problem. But if, in a post-war, post-empire environment (especially the 1960s) she were to exercise royal prerogative that prerogative would be quickly legislated away.
As an example, recently the Grand Duke of Luxembourg vetoed legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. [Luxembourg strips monarch of legislative role, AP, December 12, 2008] Luxembourg's parliament took away that right by amending their constitution.
I am a person who firmly believes in a "balance of powers", something Britain does not have in any way, shape or form. The House of Commons rules the roost. The House of Lords is a joke. At least the Queen has ceremonial value. I am also a person who believes that not every branch of government needs to be elected directly by the people.
But I also believe that a hereditary branch of government can provide a valuable counterbalance to the politicians. Unfortunately, "democracy" and "universal suffrage" are the West's new religion, regardless of the results. Why, the US tries to force democracy on countries that don't want it and may not even be suited for it.
Unless a country has a written constitution, instead a constitution that can be changed on a whim, today's monarch is in a no-win situation.