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

Monday, 1 December 2008

A Team of Three

The Monarchist League of New Zealand has a wonderful new website: Monarchy New Zealand. One of their pages caught my attention, which I think should be used more often to bolster the argument that our countries are better constituted than all of the world's modern republican states.

All countries have a "head of state" and a "head of government". In some political systems the president is the head of state and the head of government. In other countries, the two roles are separated. Sometimes the head of state is a president, but in all constitutional monarchies, the head of state is the monarch. The head of government is the Prime Minister. He or she is elected by the people and controls day to day government operations. This separation of powers is designed to prevent one person from having too much power.
New Zealand is fortunate because, as a Commonwealth Realm, it has a Governor-General. The Governor-General is neither head of government nor head of state. Often he or she is referred to as the "de facto head of state" which means that he or she operates like a head of state, but isn't legally one. Because we have a Governor-General, we can divide political power between three people, instead of just two.

The Governor-General can keep watch over the Prime Minister to ensure he or she is not attempting anything illegal. The Queen can keep an eye on both to make sure they are doing their jobs. Fortunately, the system works so well that there have been very few cases where the Queen or a Governor-General needed to take action to stop a prime minister from abusing power. It has happened before in other countries, and if it happens here in the future, kiwis can be confident that their democracy is safer in the hands of three people than in the hands of one or two.

New Zealand and the other Commonwealth Realms (except Britain) are the only countries in the world which divide their highest political powers between three people. This arrangement has made our democracy much stronger. To concentrate the powers of three people into the hands of two would be a fundamental change in our political system and would take us down a road that has not be very successful in many other countries.

One is good, two is better, three is best!


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Michael said...

One could argue that this three-part balancing act was what the writers of the US Constitution were aiming for: The President, Congress and the Judiciary counter-balancing each other.