Tuesday, 15 January 2013

When is a Royal veto, not one's?

Alright, so a load of republicans have their arses in their hands right now in frustration about the "outrage" of the royal family members having a "veto" on laws of the land.

How terrible is this! The Queen and her offspring telling us what laws are adequate for one's country while a general conspiracy is afoot to subvert the population's awareness of this horrid and nefarious scheme!

Or, it's still as ceremonial as all functions have always been perhaps?

We know, for example, that the Queen has to swear in a new government (and that it is for parliament to decide on that government). It's all pomp and ceremony really since the Queen has no power.

Let me just repeat this again. The Queen has no power, at least no more than any other significant land owner in this country, the same goes for Charles.

So then, what are all these instances of veto's about?

Well the one cited prominently in the daring expose by the Guardian is that of the Queen vetoing any kind of move to take power from her to declare wars. The fiend!

Except the reality is that the bill that sparked such a thing was a backbench bill by some MPs that really didn't like the idea of going to war without having a say. The Prime Minister? Tony Blair, a man who would then go on to press on with an attack 4 years later based on dodgy evidence and shrouded in spin and dirty politics.

The Queen was not responsible for the veto of this bill, Tony Blair was.

Not convinced? Well how about the Palace of Westminster (Removal of Crown Immunity) Bill. I mean, look at that, removal of Crown Immunity! I guess the Queen must have vetoed that because, well, who would give up immunity?

Take a look at the debate...

Mr Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I listened carefully to what my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms. Walley) said about the Bill. Are we to understand that the dilatory behaviour of the Palace is preventing the House from debating an important measure to protect the conditions of staff employed in this building and to give them the conditions that they would enjoy anywhere else?

Miss Betty Boothroyd (West Bromwich West)
Let me help the hon. Gentleman if I can. It is no reflection on the Palace, as the hon. Lady knows. An application is made to a Minister, and the hon. Lady is perfectly entitled and right to take the action that she now proposes to take.

Ah...so an administration error then, just one that happens to have "The Queen did not give consent" labelled on it as if she gave an active answer in such a (priority wise, lowly) private members bill.

Then there is the case of when she callously vetoed Lords Reform in 1990. I mean, if she isn't for giving up her own powers as the above examples so amply demonstrate, then why would she want loads of Lords to lose their jobs?

Oh, wait, no...just another administrative issue that was rectified later that year. The politicians on the other hand...well, just try and find a reference to Lords reform in 1990.

Of course it's not just the Queen, it's the Prince of Wales, Charles too. However there is no evidence of the Prince's consent ever having presented itself in a way to "veto" any bill.

Does this mean that bills haven't been altered in order to favour the royal family?

Well for a start this would have to happen before any bills even went to parliament, where they are recorded at every stage. For the bill to change there has to be approval by the person putting the bill forward, or a vote. The stage at which the Prince or Queen's consent is sought is almost always (as far as I can see) AFTER the bill has been published, it's just a matter of protocol.

Yet without fail the Queen and Prince give their consent on everything that they are asked. This is because, ultimately, this isn't a secretive consultation to get the approval from the most well known family in the country, but a simple administrative process that is only one of many quaint and out-dated...but ultimately harmless...rituals that tradition requires.

So, let's ask this question again. How exactly is what we have in front of us a case of the monarchy interfering in democracy, hmm?