Sunday, September 13, 2009

Her Majesty's Displeasure

I read an article by the Telegraph recently describing the Queen's displeasure with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown over the situation in Afghanistan regarding the funding of British troops. Her Majesty's specific concern involves her troops' lack of proper equipment. While it is not within the scope of this posting to delve into matters of this particular war, I wanted to comment on the situation.

Queen Elizabeth is the head of the British Armed Forces, but in practice British troops seem to go wherever Parliament sends them. It is entirely the Queen's prerogative to make her positions known regarding her troops, but this happens rarely rather than often. I understand that there is an established relationship between the British monarch and Parliament and that modern monarchs seldom make public statements regarding their views on matters of state, but I do wish the Queen was in a position of more power and was able to publicly voice her opinions regularly. Even more I wish the Queen was in a position where she was able to say yea or nay to sending her troops abroad rather than rubber stamping Parliament's military wishes; if Her Majesty did not believe British involvement in a particular war was in the best interests of her nation, she should be able to deny the wishes of Parliament and keep her troops out of involvement.

Before I get any comments on how my wishes would provoke a constitutional crisis and do damage to the monarchy, let me say that I understand the tenuous situation Her Majesty is in with her Parliament; I simply wish and look for the day when the British monarch has the ability to properly exercise his or her constitutional powers.

7 comments:

R said...

With all due respect, this brings us back around to the same old chestnut...What if you give the Queen the power to refuse to send her troops to war and she makes a terrible descision which is against overwelming public opinion and national interest. What if she makes a bad call during a period of insanity (which is frankly not unusual among the Syphilis ridden Royalty)
Where would we have been if the Nazi sympathizer Edward had taken the thrown and been permitted to let the Nazi waltz into Britian? Would you really like to see an irreligious, eccentric ruler like Prince Charles make big decisions like that? He is more interested in quackery than anything else. The Queen on the other hand has been described by David Starky, the brilliant Royal historian as "an un-educated housewife". Again, she is in no position to make such weighty descisions. The status quo works welll in the uk. This explains why we still have a reasonably popular royal family who God willing will continue to reign for many more years.
Regards
R

Crayshen said...

@R

To be fair, Edward simply admired the way the Germans had built themselves up, and expressed interest in the fact that fascism could be a defense against the Comintern. Once the truth came out about what the Nazis were actually doing, he pretty much disowned the notion.

And isn't the point of a monarch to act in interest of the nation in case the people themselves make a bad decision?

I'm not saying the status quo doesn't work, the model it's based on may the perfect compromise between both systems. The problem is, when does the Queen/King become nothing more than window dressing? If drumming them out of national affairs is the only way to maintain a monarchy, how can they represent their nation as leaders and protectors?

Quite frankly, and embarrassingly, I'm not sure I know the answer.

crusader88 said...

As I see it, the Queen's been on a roll since she and Prince Charles spoke favorably of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Overthrow the Hanoverian usurpers.

Restore the Stuarts!

Godfrey

Anonymous said...

From one of few remaining Catholic Monarchies: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1000822.htm

Richard said...

"What if you give the Queen the power to refuse to send her troops to war and she makes a terrible descision which is against overwelming public opinion and national interest?"

Public opinion in the UK is against the current Afghan and Iraq wars (up to 80% opposition, according to opinion polls), so going to war against public opinion is just as much a problem of Parliament as monarchy.

Richard said...

Constitutionally, British troops do not go "wherever Parliament sends them" but where the Government sends them.

Orders to the Armed Forces are given under the Royal Prerogative, in practice acting on the 'advice' of the government (i.e. the executive, not the legislature).

In reality that means it is the Prime Minister's decision, so long as he can persuade most of his senior colleagues not to publically oppose him and he doesn't think he would lose a 'no confidence' motion over it.

There was a debate and vote in the House of Commons just before the Iraq war began, but that was for political reasons; there is no constitutional need for it.