British views on royalty?

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Post » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:54 am

On another forum I go to, this question kinda popped up, and since one smart Aussie political/legal obsessed guy answered it so well, I think I'll just post it for your perusal:

[quote:3l4rkmvw]
The British Monarchy is a curious institution, as it exists in the Commonwealth nations that still have her Majesty as Queen. Strictly speaking, your statement [that the Queen holds no real power in England] is flat wrong. The Queen holds immense official power and exercises it on a daily basis.

I'll discuss the British version first.

Britain has a governmental rule called Parliamentary Sovereignty. This means that it is not the people who have ultimate power, but Parliament. Since Parliament is elected, that means essentially that the people decide who makes up their Parliament, but the Parliament is the one in control.

The Queen is a part of Parliament. She is the font of all executive power in the United Kingdom. She has and holds terrifying powers of criminal sanction, administrative decision, justice, (The Queen cannot be charged with a criminal offence, as criminal sanctions are HER laws), war, and other prerogatives of Kings stretching back to William the Conqueror.

This is embodied in a concept called "The Crown." It's not so important for England and Wales but it gets messy in Australia, which is why it's called "The Crown" and not "The Queen."

"The Crown," along with "The Lords" (Who hold their power from the Magna Carta) and "The Commons" (Not Commoners, but the regions of England) make up the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In order for any law or any executive power to be exercised, PARLIAMENT must agree. That means for the Queen to exercise any power she holds as "The Crown," she has to get Parliament's permission.

Since it is an inviolate rule of the British body politic that the Government is the group of people who control the House of Commons, combined with the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty, means that, in essence, The Queen holds total executive power in the United Kingdom but cannot exercise it without the approval of the democratically elected representatives in the Commons.

Why do they do things like this? So Prime Ministers don't get ideas that they can, themselves, usurp executive power for the sake of some idea that they've been "popularly mandated" to do so. David Cameron can't do whatever the hell he likes, but he's not restricted by a constitution in the way Pres. Obama is; he's restricted by the fact that as First Lord of the Treasury he has no right and no powers to do anything other than through Parliament. He officially has no powers. Neither can her Majesty, because she needs Parliament's permission to do anything. That's why she appears powerless. Because we, the people, elect our Parliamentary Representatives, who are the legislature, and are the only people who allow the executive (The Queen) to exercise her executive powers, it just so happens that we "tap into" the power of the Queen and use her executive powers through our elected legislators in Parliament whenever we want to do anything executive.

Australia and Canada have slightly different situations, because in Australia and Canada, the Queen gave her "The Crown" powers to the Governors-General, and further, split the executive and legislative powers of the British Parliament amongst a Federal and "provincial" Parliaments in each country. As a result the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia can't pass certain laws because they don't have "The Crown" power to do so because the Queen didn't give the Federal Government those powers. The States hold those.

In my personal opinion it's the best liberal constitutional system in the world- supreme power is vaguely rested in a person who cannot use those powers without the people's consent. And they're not written down like in the Constitution; each time the executive wants to do something, it has to ask Parliament, because they don't have a right to do ANYTHING otherwise. You know how Obama can make Presidential decrees or directives? Direct the forces of the United States without Congressional Approval? Make Recess Appointments? Doesn't have to answer to anybody except every 4 years?

Yeah, Queen can't do that. She has the power to do it, but she needs Parliamentary approval for each individual action because she has no powers she can unilaterally exercise.[/quote:3l4rkmvw]
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Post » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:03 pm

I wasn't the biggest fan of the wedding, but after seeing how many people were enjoying it and having fun, why not I guess.
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Post » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:23 pm

I saw on the Daily Show that something like 80% of Brits didn't give a toss about the wedding. That was apparently quoted from an Australian newspaper though.

The video in question:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-a ... -in-london
Favorite quote -
Man on Street: *long string of curses*
John Oliver: "Having said that, it's a magical day and we're all looking forward to it, right mate?"
Man on Street: "No."

Anyway I've just realized I myself have become mired in this royal obsession through the simple act of trying not to be... perhaps it's best if I just go back to ignoring it :P
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Post » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:38 pm

I tried to watch it but apparently it's not avaible to view in britain.
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Post » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:53 pm

[quote="deadeye":20rzhwke]the Daily Show[/quote:20rzhwke]
that was awesome. I love that show
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Post » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:59 pm

[quote="megatronx":2w2qts2k]I tried to watch it but apparently it's not avaible to view in britain.[/quote:2w2qts2k]

Oh, the irony :P

I thought they showed the Daily Show in Narnia... weird that they wouldn't allow you to see the videos for it.
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Post » Sun May 01, 2011 10:41 am

I am from the UK and to be honest i don't care about the royal family. A lot of other countries seem to think everyone here loves the queen and drinks tea, it ok but i prefer coffee. I didn't celebrate but it was nice to have a extra day off work, a lot of people had celebrations and like them here though.

They are just celebrity's like you say, what a lot of people are not aware of is that the royal family is actually of German ancestry anyway, it's says on wiki and is talked about in documentary's also.
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Post » Sun May 01, 2011 3:25 pm

Just because they are of German ancestry doesn't mean they are of English ancestry as well. The Windsors still in fact find themselves descended from William I. I'd assume anyone with a grasp on English history would know the entire story, but then again who reads these days.

And the problem with that Daily Show clip is that it looked a lot more for sound-bytes than anything, mainly because that's what the DS does and does best, but still it's a shame they paint an overly negative picture of the whole affair.

Considering the fact that they really emphasized that the taxpayers were paying for the wedding, when at most, taxpayers each gave 10 cents each towards the wedding (to pay for the guards or something), which was not a state event, and most of the cost was shored up by the Middletons.
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