If The Queen Saves Boris, Will God Save The Queen?

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THE SUPREME COURT of the United Kingdom has struck down Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament and some people are cheering. The chances of those people being well-educated, well-housed and well-paid metropolitans are high. In their eyes, the British constitution, in all its unwritten mysteriousness, has been upheld. By eleven votes to nil, the judges have legally obliterated the British Prime Minister’s attempt to silence his opponents. The Houses of Parliament will reconvene, and the Executive – Johnson and his Cabinet – will be held to account.

Some people, however, are not cheering. For them, the Supreme Court’s judgement is a further confirmation (as if one was needed!) that the Anti-Brexit Establishment will stop at nothing to thwart the will of ordinary Englishmen and Englishwomen. These people will not read the judgement: they are not interested in a daft-looking old lady judge’s high-falutin notions of parliamentary sovereignty and executive accountability. All they know is that, in 2016, a majority of UK citizens voted to leave the European Union and, ever since then, the Powers-That-Be have done everything they possibly can to stop them.

If the Powers-That-Be succeed, will that be the end of the story? Will the people who “took back control” by voting to leave the EU simply return to their high-rise apartment buildings, their semi-detached units, and their bleak rows of cheaper-than-cheap housing: meekly accepting their appointed station in life – as the UK’s designated losers? The Powers-That-Be had better hope so. Because, if they don’t, then the UK will find itself teetering on the brink of civil war.

And what a topsy-turvy civil war it will be. This time ‘round, Parliament will not be embraced by the common people as the protector of free-born Englishmen’s rights and liberties – as it had been in the 1640s. This time it will be seen as the protector of the elites; the corrupt defender of an over-educated aristocracy of posh bastards. This time, the Executive will not play the role of the people’s enemy, but of their champion. King Boris, thwarted at every turn by his parliamentary enemies, will appeal over their heads to the people – and the people (half of them, anyway) will flock to his banner.

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Assuming, always, that his appeal reaches them. Much now hinges on whether or not the tabloid press decides to do what it did the last time the judiciary intervened in the Brexit saga – which was to brand the offending judges “enemies of the people”. If the so-called “red tops” decide to rouse the masses to revolt; if they call the people onto the streets; who will stop them? To whom will the Police and the armed forces answer? The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Berkow? Or, to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson?

It’s just possible that they will seek instruction from the person to whom they swore allegiance when they put on their uniforms: “Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law.” But, what does that mean? The UKs mysterious constitution insists that the Monarch can only act upon the advice of her ministers – her Executive. But, if her Executive is acting in defiance of, or to silence, Parliament, should its advice be heeded? According to this historic judgement of the UK Supreme Court, it should not. Poor old Liz: she’ll be damned if she instructs her Lord Lieutenants to uphold the law, and she’ll be damned if she doesn’t. The first civil war saw the monarchy abolished (albeit temporarily) can it survive a second?

All the UK prime ministers who have been summoned to the Palace since Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 have remarked upon her political canniness. The woman knows better than most how her kingdom’s politics are played. As this latest crisis unfolds, she will keep a watchful eye on the opinion polls. If the opponents of Brexit continue to refuse to allow a general election to be called to resolve the deepening constitutional impasse; and if the polls all indicate that the Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party would be returned to office by a landslide; then the Queen will have to think long and hard about when and how, if at all, she should wield her “reserve powers”.

The British monarchy has only survived as a serious institution by adapting itself to the needs and expectations of the British public. If it allows itself to be positioned as nothing more than a powerless adjunct of the political class; a rubber stamp to be wielded against the British public – or, at least, its more humble members – on behalf of the Powers-That-Be, then the love that has allowed it to endure for so long will evaporate, and the monarchy will find itself in the hands of those who hold it in thinly disguised contempt. If it loses the love of the ordinary people of England, the Monarchy will not be saved by a neoliberal establishment which has tolerated its existence only  because it was too popular to abolish.

Thanks to her Supreme Court justices, Elizabeth Windsor may soon be faced with a daunting choice: to become the “People’s Queen” – or their last.

 

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. I would have not voted to join in the first place, but having embedded itself in the world’s largest economy and killed off its own industry (other than a fraudulent banking industry) I wouldn’t have voted to leave.

    37% of the voting populace said that if they were to voice a non binding opinion (and that is what it was) they would like to leave the EU. By any measure that is not a political mandate and brexiters would be quick to point that out if the tables were turned. This is evidenced in the sham that has been the UK parliament’s attempt to come to an agreement. If the country had voted bindingly 70/30 (or even 60/40) there would be no problem.

    It was also a political campaign laden with lies on both sides. Political advertising in Britain is not covered by the rules governing normal advertising (lax as they are) are a free from the requirement to tell the truth. This further weakens the mandate.

    For us on the ‘left’ I would caution you against an anti Europe stance (for all it’s sins). Every right workers in the UK have is a result of EU law. Holidays, employment rights, max hours (I know there is an opt out), health and safety etc. It would be nice to imagine Jeremy ushering in a sustainable socialist society in the UK but it will only be a matter of time before the ruling classes kick him out (especially if he uses his power to go after the ‘middle’ classes – the modern day working class since all that is left is the super rich and the unemployed).

    • My brother. Why would we, we, who are so critical of Neoliberalism against New Zealand, why should we just accept Neoliberalism against the UK in the form of BREXIT against the European austerity that have smashed the lower classes since the bankers where bailed out for massive fraud in the 2008 financial meltdown. By having the costs of those bailouts take the form of reduced public employment, reduced provisions of public services. Basically making the lower classes pay for the breakdown of a capitalist system that we would be better off with out.

      This is true for the EU. The problem with BREXIT is that there is no reason to believe that the exit of Britain from the EU will do much to change the austerity measures. That is the consrervitive dominance of politics despite the remarkable growth of Sanders, Corbyn or even our own Jacinda, Neoliberal austerity; seems unable to break the mould, or perhaps it’s waiting for some British equivalent of Donald Trump to push it aside in an alternative way of saving capitalism in England.

      I guess you could sum up by saying I guess I understand why the British are against Neoliberal Austerity, as well the should be. And I understand they want to end that but leaving Europe is not the solution to that problem. The problem of the British people is an economic system that is being managed from in side the EU and outside of the EU in ways that create more problems. For me I understand the issues and the problems and if BREXIT is a way for Britons to confront there own economic system at home then I am with them.

  2. George Galloway has an interesting take on RT this morning. Along similar lines but minus the Queen references . Worth a read.
    I have been wondering what the Queen might be thinking. I can imagine that recovering Britain’s sovereignty, lost to a large extent to the EU, might appeal to her quite strongly. This “judgement ” is an extraordinary intervention into the running of the government. Boris is being widely accused of “breaking the law” by politicians , regrettably including Jeremy , who should to my mind be keeping quiet about it. There is no written law on the matter to be broken. There would have to have been legislation passed through the parliament setting out the precise timing and circumstances and duration that Prorogation can be called and there clearly is no such legislation.
    I think it is possible that the queen might have a role here. It would be equally unusual but in a sense overturning Prorogation has insulted her equally and together with her Prime Minister who is her contact in parliament. She is reported as being the most knowledgable person on earth about British government. She takes an interest and has extremely long experience. She would have expressed her opinion of prorogation to Boris if she had strongly disapproved . I suspect she fully approved.
    Wouldn’t it be fun if she comes out and adjudicates between the unclear authority the court seems to feel it has over government, and the government that clearly does not agree its subservience to, and restores the prorogation. Or I wonder if she has the power to order an election. Her strongly stated recommendation to the house to agree one would be hard to defy.
    The opposition (across the house) to Brexit are using their time very badly I think. They have forced a return to parliament and have no idea what to do with that time except to deny Boris a window to negotiate a better deal with the EU from a position of some strength, having a clear alternative of a no deal departure if a satisfactory transition can’t be agreed. The country can see that. As long as they can forestall that situation arising the EU’s most likely expectation is altimate cancelation of article 50. The country can see this too.
    The opposition’s prize they seek of forcing Boris to ask for an extension so that an election can take place is going to backfire spectacularly. He will resist to the last minute, but it will benefit him enormously . When the election does take place the remain vote will be split three or four ways and the leave vote will be all his but for some going to Nigel which will amount to the same thing in terms of Brexit. Boris will have the time he wants to get a better deal ,though no deal is still more likely, and a solid majority to govern.
    D J S

  3. You know Chris, I think that Boris Johnson fancies himself as a modern day Oliver Cromwell dissolving the Rump Parliament. “You are no parliament……..I will put an end to your sitting……” (paraphrased) because they were incapable of doing what he wanted.
    The Brits have well and truly got themselves into a mess with this Brexit, whoever coined the phrase “be careful what you wish for…” spoke the truth. They really didn’t know what they getting themselves into and a lot of the blame must go to the Tories for their apathetic hand washing attitude to such a vital question. They were officially “neutral” which only encouraged the back stabbing tactics of the radicals of both camps.
    It seems it must come down to another general election – very soon. The ones who stand to gain most by this are the Liberal Democrats because they are the largest party that is pretty much unified in the Remain Camp.
    Because Labour officially backed Remain but had a sizeable minority in the Leave camp, the right-wing media are echoing Johnson’s call that somehow it is all Labour’s fault that we are in this mess.
    Also, whoever wins the next election will probably be obliged (even if they don’t want it) to hold a second referendum, because there is a strong case for believing that the Leave campaign in particular told a lot of lies and people simply did not understand what they were voting for (for against).
    I actually have some sympathy for the Queen here. This was a constitutional crisis that she has never experienced before so, not wanting to rock the constitutional boat, she acted on the PM’s advice even when it was flawed.

  4. Parliament refuses to allow an election and the Queen’s Prime Minister has prorogued Parliament. So far the monarch appears to be on the side of the angels.
    The British Parliament has demonstrably failed and the armed forces could not follow the lead of parliament even if they wanted to, because parliament is going nowhere. The forces of the Crown will follow the Queen as duty bound.
    So, as would be the case in a constitutional crisis in the Realm of New Zealand, everything hinges on the political skills and insight of an elderly monarch.
    Except that the people remain, and it remains within their power to sweep away the corrupt, unrepresentative and unresponsive system of government that comes from the darkest reaches of British history.

  5. So the lumpen proletariat, or perhaps more accurately in current speak–neo liberal generated underclass–should be encouraged and acquiesced to? I don’t think so, given Boris’ open populism, invoking “Communist Dreams” in respect to Jeremy Corbyn in Parliament today.

    It is a nightmare scenario with no easy way out. Various of the pompous know alls that Bowalley Rd attracts for some reason, and other more casual commenters, have at least one good point! but none of them seems to have come up with one good strategy yet. The arguments about the timing of the General Election may be rather convoluted or obscure for some, but they are surely worth exploring, rather than handing democracy over to the likes of Johnson.

  6. There is no way for the peoples will to be expressed under the FPP parliamentary system.

    A referendum is the only way.

    The Tories want an election (having driven pro Remain Tories from their caucus) to prevent another referendum so it, a party with no expectations of receiving more than 35% of the vote, can then impose its will for a no deal Brexit.

    That is not a popular mandate, it is a fascist take-down of democracy and rule by consent.

    • What is going to be the choice in the referendum SPC? Corbyn is suggesting a choice between a negotiated deal that leaves UK in a credit union, same rule taking but no input, i.e. a clayton’s brexit against remain. No actual brexit option.
      The only referendum that would honestly canvas the wishes of the people would need to have a clean break no deal option. Which most of the voters last time thought they were voting for, and was the only option that really restored UK sovereignty . A clean break was what Cameron said at the announcement.
      Then a referendum would be a fair way of deciding the issue. But if there is a general election before Brexit (which is not at all certain) it will be entirely dominated by Brexit anyway and will in effect be a referendum anyway. If Farage and Boris dominate the remain parties (that includes labour) that will fairly represent the will of the public to leave.
      D J S

  7. Maybe the UK will now face times like Germany had after WW1 and its defeat? Total political and social and economic turmoil, ending in attempts of revolution from either side of the spectrum? Oh, how history works surprises and wonders, the once mighty Empire is in the midst of self destroying, for decades or even centuries to come, that is if humanity will ‘survive’ for that long.

    It is a highly entertaining show, I need no Hollywood movies and Bollywood crap to keep me entertained, best watching is the Brexit Drama, forget Coronation Street, we have it all, we have it all, in real time, in real motion and real momentum.

    Boris will either disgrace Parliament so that a land slide victory will bring in the Non Brexit Party, combined with remaining Johnson loyal Cons, into government, or we will have a repeat of unstable political arrangements as were common in the Weimar Republic.

    For those who do not know, go to Wikipedia and other sources to learn about history.

    • Whoar Marc. You really are quite butch aren’t you darling. Is there some sort of koha we could shower on you as a Marc of respect? Perhaps a uniform of some description – one that has a surplus of medals and medallions that’s show your true commitment to the common cause.
      I have only one problem darling. It’s that you have a rival in my life who so far seems t be considerably, CONSIDERABLY more revolutionary than yea, and its causing countless sleepless knights

  8. Part of the problem, is that the Brits were lied to in the 70s about what the EC/EU actually meant. They were told about free trade and cheap butter (which helped destroy farming in NZ btw). The reality was always that it was about political union – probably to help stand up against the USA and stave off yet another European war. I think much (some) of Europe’s citizens understood that, but that was never explained to the Brits.

    Britain finds itself in a position where it has essentially lost sovereignty without ever having ‘decided’to give it away. The highest court, international trade (and thus a large part of foreign policy) and taxation (mostly) are ultimately decided by the EU.

    Not that leaving will make much difference. The UK will become more like the US (with which it will have stronger and stronger ties) where the rich get richer and the poor get less. One wonders whether the whole Royal wedding was a deliberate manipulation of that aim…

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