Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Take the Commonwealth Poll today!

For the Commonwealth Realms, The Monarchist has devised the poll of the 21st century. In the world of constitutional choices, it is crucial to lay them all out in order to arrive at a meaningful result. Public opinion cannot be divided into a simple yes/no manner; unfortunately, as the 1999 Australian referendum demonstrated, politicians and pollsters attempt to put us into simplistic camps in order to control or achieve a desired outcome. But we will not be hoodwinked. We will not perceive a weight of inevitability towards any one system without first asking the question. What is your constitutional preference upon the demise of Queen Elizabeth II?

The choices, as outlined in the poll in the sidebar, are as follows (listed in increasing order of difficulty):

CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY

1. Maintain Personal Union: If you would like to continue our fraternal allegiance to a shared Commonwealth Crown, with the legally separate sovereign of each nation remaining in personal union with the British Monarch, then you favour the status quo. You are what we call a traditional monarchist (also Commonwealth monarchist or Anglo monarchist), one who holds a belief largely on principled and/or sentimental attachment to the monarchy, in part based on traditional associations with the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Nations and a personal identification with Elizabeth II and her family. If you are British and would like to see the United Kingdom survive as a political union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but also of England, Scotland and Wales, then you also favour this approach, for you are devoted to a single monarch reigning over the nations of the British Isles.

2. Patriate the Monarchy: If you are a national monarchist, be it Scottish, Australian, Jamaican, New Zealand, etc, then this is for you. You look forward to the day when another Royal of the House of Windsor or the House of Stuart is invited to become your national sovereign, totally separate from that of the British Monarch. If you reside outside of the UK, you may not be wholly satisfied by the fact that 15 of the 16 Commonwealth realms have a non-resident monarch. Patriating the monarchy would require no constitutional amendment, although unilaterally changing the order of succession and convincing a Royal could be challenging.

3. Crowned Republic: The clear choice of the liberal Canadian multicultural elite. We are in Ted McWhinney territory here, "quietly and without fanfare" dispensing with the need for Kings and Queens. You might plausibly be called a pragmatic or progressive monarchist, one who wants to sever all links to the Royal Family but keep the Crown and some trappings of monarchy. You maintain that, whatever the argued weaknesses of the current system, it also has many strengths; following the motto of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". You believe that constitutional monarchy provides the basis for stable democratic government, with the Governor-General (the monarch's nominal representative) acting as an impartial, non-political "umpire" of the political process. However, you would like to see the appointed Governor-General represent the Crown by becoming the de jure, not just de facto head of state. By the way, Australia is about as close to a Crowned Republic as one can get without actually becoming one. They are of the view that their Governor-General is the head of state, and the Queen their sovereign, which you have to hand it to them, is an admirable piece of monarchist sophistry. A national government or parliament deciding on its own to become a Crowned Republic would probably be vulnerable to multiple constitutional challenges. Incidentally, England became a Crowned Republic under Oliver Crowell in the 1650s and failed miserably. But hey, don't let that stop you.

CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC

4. Parliamentary Republic: You are what we call a "minimal change republican", who aimes to replace the monarch with an appointed head of state, but otherwise maintain the current system as unchanged as possible. Within this group in Australia, during the 1999 referendum, there were a small group of supporters of the ultra-minimalist McGarvie Model, but generally the favoured model of this group would be a non-executive president (probably) appointed by a two-thirds majority of a joint sitting of Parliament. In the 1999 referendum, it was the preferred choice of Australian republican politicians, earning the ridicule by monarchists as a "politician's republic". Alternatively, a parliamentary republic may have an elected ceremonial president such as that which exists in Ireland. (Added for the benefit of Lewis in the comments).

5. Semi-Presidential System: If your goal is to replace the monarch with a popularly elected head of state, who is more than just a ceremonial figurehead by virtue of the added democratic legitimacy conferred upon him by the electorate, then you are a progressive republican. This system is called co-habitation - probably the most feared option of every prime minister throughout the Commonwealth, the idea of sharing power and legitimacy with an elected president. France has a particularly powerful semi-presidential system, but the degree to which power would be shared in your particular country would be anyone's guess.

6. Presidential Republic: The choice of radical republicans, who see the minimal change option as purely cosmetic, and desire comprehensive revision to the current Westminister-based system. This would be the preferred option of people who admire the American congressional system, with its executive president and clear separation of powers between the judicial, legislative and executive branches.

In Sir Robert Menzies' words, "to get an affirmative vote from the Australian people on a referendum proposal is one of the labours of Hercules.", but it need not be if all six choices are truthfully laid out in a nation-wide referendum. I think you would find if you did that, the number of people voting for the constitutional monarchy options would be far greater than those voting for the republican choices. So monarchists and republicans, take the poll! The poll will stay up for the next year.

15 comments:

Beaverbrook said...

My apologies. I had to take down the poll as I belatedly realized it had a one week time limit. That has now been increased to one year.

Lewis said...

I disagree with your delineation between a parliamentary republic and the semi-presidential system. The difference isn't the method of election but the powers of the president. In a parliamentary republic, the president retains essentially the same powers as a Governor-General, although they have the ability to use them. Ireland is an example of a parliamentary republic whose President is directly elected. In a semi-presidential system, the President has more executive powers - e.g. the ability to directly put forward legislation.

Beaverbrook said...

You're right that a parliamentary republic can have either an appointed or an elected non-executive president. Unfortunately it's too late for me to add both scenarios to the poll, so consider either possibility for that system. I think a semi-presidential system can vary greatly, however - not all presidents would be as powerful as the French or Russian systems.

Anonymous said...

Would Patriating the Monarchy really happen? Is there any support for the creation of various new kingdoms around the commonwealth?

Theodore Harvey said...

I "love" the last choice! ;)

Americans don't have much of a choice in the matter, do we? I like to think of myself as an "honourary" subject of HM Queen Elizabeth II, whose portrait I proudly hang on my wall. At least I live in a city (Charlotte) named for a queen in a state (North Carolina) named for a king...

Beaverbrook said...

I have always said that it would be a wonderful guesture if the Americans joined the Commonwealth, symbolically recognizing the Queen as its head. A simple thing like that is all that would be needed to bring you into the family.

Beaverbrook said...

Anonymous: we are not talking about the creation of new kingdoms - they already exist. They just happen to be in personal union with each other under Elizabeth II. The only person precluding another Royal ascending the throne of a particular Commonwealth realm is Elizabeth herself.

redtown said...

My absolute preference is that there be no "demise of HM Queen Elizabeth II" at all !

It being unlikely that the Lord will grant us that, the question of a preferred constitutional system remains practically moot.
EACH and EVERY province would have to consent to abolish the Monarchy, and that will never happen.

Beaverbrook said...

Redtown, never underestimate the politician's ability to manipulate the process. Some would argue that a crowned republic does not require constitutional change since they are not dispensing with the Crown. The government or parliament of the day could go with their interpretation and hope nobody cares or notices.

Anonymous said...

You left one out: Restore the British Empire, piece by piece; kick those Labor Buggers out, penalize-them to the outback.
Time for 'balls' to drop.
Send those d--nable Mohamedans back to their beloved desert.
But alas, it is all a pipe-dream, the Empire is gone and the Commonwealth is fading thanks be to the Socialist/Commie nimnods infecting Whitehall and a sedated English People.
Churchill, where art thou??

Beaverbrook said...

I also left out absolutist monarchists and fanatical monarchists who dream of a Jacobite restoration, although conceivably that could still occur under the patriation option. I'm sure there are Royalist Scots who still dream of restoring the House of Stuart to the ancient throne.

redtown said...

Beaverbrook,

I don't doubt the willingness of some politicians and lawyers to manipulate and twist the Consititution to suit their purposes.

But let there be no doubt that that Section 41 is very clear that the approval of EACH province is required to amend the Constitution
in any way affecting "the office of the Queen". This would include any attempt to abolish the Monarchy.

"41. An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made by proclamation issued by the Governor General
under the Great Seal of Canada ONLY WHERE authorized by resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons and of the legislative assemblies of
EACH PROVINCE: (a) the office of the Queen, the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor of a province....."

Where reference is made to "the Queen" (and not the institution of "the Crown"), and where the Queen is personally granted
powers by the Constitution, cleaver lawyers would have a hard time arguing that the Canadian Crown can be separated from the
person of the Sovereign without unanimous provincial approval.

David Byers said...

Coming from Australia, I can tell you that the Governor-General was described by our High Court as the “Constitutional Head of State” as far back as 1907. It must be pointed out that that is a big difference from the actual “Head of State” who would be the Sovereign.

Yes I think it is very sad just how far some “Monarchist” in Australia have gone in down-playing the role of the Queen but it is very hard to explain to people outside Australia just how hard the pro-republic propaganda hits. The “Governor-General is Head of State” campaign came to counter the republicans mantra of “we want an Australian Head of State”. I always point out that the terms is only diplomatic to throw them off.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

I would prefer to maintain the personal union, but my second choice would be to patriate the monarchy, and invite one of the more bored members of the House of Windsor to become our Sovereign.

John said...

As an Australian I say: maintain the status quo. Retain the monarchy in Australia as it presently exists. Leave the hereditary head of the House of Windsor as the Head of State of Australia and other Commonwealth countries that maintain constitutional monarchies, if they so wish. The monarchy in Australia and under our Constitution works very well, and far better than many other 'republics' that are as politically unstable and fragmented as they are socially corrupt and disorderly. More information and knowledge could definitely be disseminated about monarchy and the Crown as a national legal and constitutional institution in Australia, as it was when I was in primary school in the early '60s. But with all the politically correct, republican-minded teachers and politicians trying to erase the memory of Australia's British origins and institutions and to rewrite our British origins and institutions out of our history and so deny their relevance to our present-day lives, it is unlikely to happen. The monarchy in Australia would have more support if more were learnt about it at school, as used to happen before this country went quite insane; indeed, Australia has over the last 35 years gone off the deep end in various attempts at social engineering to condition our young against their country's traditional allegiances and institutions and to turn them into self-hating, though selfish and self-centred, moronic automata.