Sunday, May 06, 2007

What happens when King Tony the First finally abdicates?

Apologies first of all. I said in my last post that there would be a second progress report on MyTelegraph. That has been delayed for another day or two while I sought an OK from the Telegraph, and gave extra time for thoughts to crystallize.
Here's what I posted to MyTelegraph this morning, prompted by the headline in this morning's Telegraph "Brown to inherit Blair's surrender to Brussels"
(In case you were wondering, it's not the only paper we read. Sunday is the day that one or other of us trudges out to buy the "dead tree" version of the Sunday Times. Old habits die hard.)
Our Constitutional Mockery
Posted by ColinB at 07:56 on 06 May 2007

We are now just weeks away from Gordon Brown's "coronation".

Those of us who consider it absurd have been told to shut up. It's the British way of doing things: we just vote for candidates at General Elections with certain party political labels.

Parliament and political parties do the rest, like decide who is to occupy No.10, and be on our TV screens every night, acting for all the world like a (directly elected) US President.
Even mad George III would have been jealous of the power wielded by a modern British PM, accountable to virtually no-one except his own lackeys, such being his powers of patronage.

To rub salt in the wound, we read today that His Toniness is determined to leave us with a permanent legacy of his 10 year reign at No.10.

In his twilight weeks in office, he is to surrender more powers to Brussels, and do so in a way that makes it impossible for Brown to undo those 11th hour changes.

I will spare you the details - they are the subject of this morning's headline article in the Sunday Telegraph. Here are few key words. Revived European consitution, EU law, EU President. I leave you to join up the dots.

How democratic is that ? How democratic is our entire system that allows Parliament to foist on us leaders about whom we, the public , initially know next to nothing ? We then learn the hard way what these people really stand for, which, as often as not, is self-advancement, pure and simple.

Where are the powers that prevent these same individuals turning into virtually omnipotent rulers, who lead us into wars we don't want, who sign away our rights to outside powers, and who, to "secure their legacy", attempt to tie the hands of their successors.

Our British so-called democracy is nothing of the sort. It's basically dual monarchy: a figurehead sovereign who opens Parliament, who recites the speech of the real Monarch in waiting.

Keep reading your Samuel Pepys's diary if you really want to understand how Britain works. Constitutional monarchy ? Constitutional mockery more like it!
Updated Sunday pm:
Added this to the Comments section, in response to a question about how Brown is designated as Blair's successor:
Effectively disenfranchised

ColinB06 May 2007 10:16

"Brown succeeds Blair because of that infamous arrangement made over the crème brûlée in Granita shortly after John Smith died.
It's a case of Buggins' turn. I would question whether "Blair was voted as Prime Minister".
In my own Bucks constituency the choice was between voting for the Conservative candidate, who could be a labrador, and would still get elected, and a motley collection of other candidates, none of whom had a hope of winning.
It follows that millions of voters up and down the country have had no way of registering their opinion on Tony Blair 's 10 years reign - except by abstaining or making a protest vote.
If we accept that Britain's PM should be the focus of a personality cult, then surely he or she should be elected directly, comparable to a US President.
Personally, I'd prefer that our PMs were more in the mould of Clement Atlee or Harold MacMillan - guiding discussion within Cabinet, delegating as much as possible to Ministers chosen for more than arse-licking propensities.
In other words the PM should see his/her role as just that : prime amongst ministers, and to foster a collegiate atmosphere at No.10 rather than this present narcissistic Louise XIV gilded sofa-style of government."
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