I don’t care what you say, we don’t need a monarchy. It’s one of the few areas, where I am arrogant enough not to accept a different point of view.
The one practical purpose she serves is to support with her authority the exercise of power by the Government, elected by us. She performs no constitutional safeguard as some people mistakenly believe – she cannot object to legislation. In short she is a waste of space and money.
The fact that the monarchy is part of our tradition as a nation should not deter us from seeking the demise of the institution, after all a brief look at the people that have occupied the throne should serve to prove that it is wide open to abuse and can become a vehicle for reactionary ideas. I have a far better way of how our new democracy should be organised.
Let us take a look at the Republic of Ireland. They have a President who is little more than a ribbon-cutter (much like our ‘Liz), and they serve a term of 7 years. The formal powers and functions of the President are prescribed in the Irish codified Constitution. The President, who does not have an executive or policy role, exercises his or her powers on the advice of the Government.
There are some specific instances where the President has an absolute discretion, such as in referring a Bill to the Supreme Court for a judgment on its constitutionality. The President appoints the Prime Minister on the recommendation of the Houses of Parliament. This is where my view of our new democracy differs, which would look like this:
The make up of the Commons would remain the same, a new upper-chamber, a Senate would be created. Senators will be elected on a regional basis, bringing their numbers down to about 350 or even fewer. Someone who has been a member of a political party may not stand for the Senate although former members of pressure groups may do so. We would need to give the Senate real powers, not to mention a good salary, for instance Senators, unlike Peers, will be allowed to introduce private members’ bills. To be nominated to stand, Senators would need approval of 5 regional MPs as well as a certain number of individuals, schools, churches and other local institutions. They would have to be over the age of 35 and would serve the same 7 year term as our new President.
A nomination for President will occur every 7 years, after the election of our new Senators. They will need nominations from 50% of the Upper-chamber and 50% of the Commons. They would have no political barriers as the Senators do, except a President should be over 45 years old. This would be ideal in that a former Prime Minister or MP could stand for the Presidency. A President’s term (they can only serve one) would overlap with Parliament’s and so you could have a former Tory MP or PM presiding over a Labour Government. Unlike monarchs the President will have freedom of speech and their expertise could come in handy when a Government faces tough decisions. That is perhaps their main purpose, to act as an advisory figure to new, young Governments. Remember how almost no one in the 1997 Government had any previous experience – how on Earth did they know how to manage the Civil Service?
It is at this moment that I should probably add, that this is in no way Labour Party policy lest I be expelled – or worse, censured by my comrades on the committee. (the author is currently sitting on two censures for his ludicrous views and would be booted off the committee under BULS “3 strikes and you’re out” rule – he is being considered for a commendation for this article, however – Ed)
Posted by Tom Guise, BULS Freshers Officer