Let's say the British Crown tried to exercise REAL power...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by TomCat84, May 7, 2010.

  1. TomCat84

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    With all this talk of the UK elections, and with me being a big fan of what ifs, let's say the Queen tried to exercise real power- like if she exercised those powers that are theoretically reserved for her, but havent been exercised in a long time. What would happen? I'm not too much of an expert on the UK system of governance, but from what I understand, the Queen still theoretically holds a lot of power- but in reality she has none, even though there's really nothing holding her back except long-time practice.
     
  2. D_Relentless Original

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    The Queen still has powers, but i would imagine its doubtful if she can use them -


    • the Queen alone may declare war at her pleasure;
    • as commander-in-chief, the Queen may choose and appoint all commanders and officers by land, sea, and air;
    • the Queen may convoke, adjourn, remove, and dissolve Parliament;
    • the Queen may dismiss the prime minister and choose whom she will as the replacement;
    • the Queen can choose and appoint all judges, councillors, officers of state, magistrates;
    • the Queen can choose and appoint all archbishops (including the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is primus inter pares in the Anglican Communion), bishops, and high ecclesiastical dignitaries;
    • as ``the Sovereign is first in honor, dignity and in power--and the seat and fountain of all three,'' the Queen may bestow all public honors, including creating a peerage for membership in the House of Lords or bestowing an order of chivalry;
    • the Queen alone may conclude treaties;
    • the Queen may initiate criminal proceedings, and she alone can bestow a pardon.
    Some of these powers are exercised on the advice of cabinet ministers or others, and the principal vehicle through which the Queen receives such advice--apart from weekly or more frequent meetings with the prime minister--is through a body known as the Privy Council.
     
  3. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    The constitution does place enormous hurdles in the way of her actually ever using those powers though. It would take a total breakdown in the british system of government for her to ever be able to use any power at all. If she did use those powers you could expect riots and massive civil disorder to already be happening, her exercise of power would only worsen things.
     
  4. TomCat84

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    I'll stick to my 3 co-equal branches of government here in the states, thank you very much! I can't make heads or tails of all this.
     
  5. D_Tim McGnaw

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    Again it's worth pointing out that the Queen only has those powers theoretically and because the parliament (which is sovereign) allows her to have them. If the parliamentary system collapsed theoretically she wouldn't have those powers anyway. She could try to exercise power as an autocrat in the absence of parliament but no one would take her seriously, and she would have only the thinest of legal arguments to justify herself, and in the event of a collapse of the parliamentary system legal rights would probably not have much currency anyway.
     
  6. Joll

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    It's kinda notional power...not really to be used, just as a backstop if ever needed, I think.

    She could've said no to some of the EU Treaties, but she would have been accused of interfering with what is seen as the job of politicians. However...she did present a petition to Tony Blair (that she'd been sent) demanding a referendum on the EU Constitution, which resulted in an immediate u-turn (which Labour then reneged on, lol).
     
  7. dandelion

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    The scenario for a power grab would be: dismiss the government ministers and replace them, starting with a friendly PM. The queen may not personally have handy powers, except perhaps controlling the army, but the ministers have enormous powers. The PM then immediately declares a national emergency (well it would be, wouldnt it?) which under new terrorist legislation allows him to do virtually anything. If the courts are a problem, maybe the queen would need to swap out a few judges? Not sure if the legislation includes the right to rule without parliament but i think it does. Parliament just recently has totally dismantled the legal safeguards which protect it from this sort of power grab.

    As to whether the beaurocracy would go along with this, theyre trained from birth to obey.
     
  8. superbot

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    Reuters has it that HM has sent for the Rt Hon.Ann Widdicombe MP.Three Cheers!!
     
  9. Joll

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    Tory page 3 pin-up, AW? Oh no! :redface:
     
  10. ColonialBoy

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    She could resign as Queen of Australia & declare us a republic :eek:
     
  11. swordfishME

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    She can't. If she abdicates as Queen of Australia, Charles would replace her. Only the Australian Parliament (through a national referendum) can abolish the Monarchy.
     
  12. Jason

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    At the outbreak of the Falklands War the Queen made the Requisitioning of Ships Order by which the Royal Navy could pinch cruise liners to move troops. It was done in this way (rather than through parliament) because it was quicker and secret. And of course it was with the agreement of the PM and the heads of the armed forces. As far as I know this is the only Royal Order of her reign.

    There was speculative talk that she might veto UK assent to the Lisbon Treaty as this transfer of power (arguably) conflicts with her coronation oath. On a more careful reading it probably doesn't, and certainly she didn't veto it.

    She can sack a Prime Minister. If Cameron and Clegg come up with an agreement then for the good of the country Brown should resign. However in law he could stay put for a few weeks and try to present a Queen's Speech (which in the face of a Cameron - Clegg alliance would fail). The country would be in uproar, the markets falling, and in these circumstances the Queen could sack him. Probably she would summon him, tell him this is what she is minded to do, and give him the chance to resign himself. But it is a scenario where she could act.

    The Queen meets the PM every week, in private. She advises and warns. She has done her job for decades, knows every world leader, knows all the secrets of the UK - she has knowledge which gives her real influence. As head of the Commonwealth and Queen of many lands she is a powerful international figurehead, with some powers in all her dominions.

    At some time presumably Charles will be king. His style may be different. An interesting scenario would be the monarch exerting power over an issue where there was overwhelming public support.
     
  13. Jason

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    Indeed. And it is not so long ago Australia voted to keep her.

    In Canada a vote would have to be unanimous from every province.

    There are real doubts about whether any legal process whatsoever can take away the powers of a king or queen of England. Queen Elizabeth was anointed in a religious ceremony. The sermon around it compares the action to that of Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet who anoited Solomon as King of Israel. The Queen rules "by the Grace of God".
     
  14. D_Cock_Hudson

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    A lot of people in the UK have lost so much faith in politicians they would prefer the Queen to be running the country, I expect. Not that it's going to happen.
     
  15. Jason

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    Curiously there is a Facebook group campaigning for the restoration of the monarchy in Greece, as a response to their crisis:

    RESTORE THE GREEK MONARCHY - BRING BACK KING CONSTANTINE TO GREECE | Facebook

    In the circumstance where Greece were to go bankrupt and fall into anarchic chaos it is possible that their king could offer a framework for rebuilding.
     
  16. TurkeyWithaSunburn

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    Really? Theoretically, she could be Queen of England (and the commonwealth) and Charles King of Australia and he'd still be next in line for King of England?

    Such curious possibilities in monarchies. :smile:
     
  17. Jason

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    Abdication is messy. There was discussion that Charles when he becomes king might abdicate in favour of his son, William. However there is certainly a view that abdication is for yourself and your heirs (the Edward VIII abdication solution) and that if Charles abdicated his brother Andrew would succeed. Easier would be a solution where William reigns as prince regent, but Charles remains king.

    There are of course different constitutional frameworks in every dominion for which the Queen is Queen. All very messy. Much easier if she keeps taking her vitamins and lives at least as long as her mother did.
     
  18. CumSwallower

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  19. swordfishME

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    That is a possibility. Elizabeth II cannot declare Australia a republic, only the Australian people through a referendum can. Even if she were to renounce the Australian throne for herself and ALL of her descendants, it would go to the next person in line (in this case, Viscount Linley, the eldest child of the Queen's deceased sister)
     
  20. swordfishME

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    That's incorrect. The line "and my decedents" was specifically inserted in Edward VIII's instrument of abdication to prevent his future heirs (with the Duchess of Windsor) from making a claim to the throne. If Charles were to renounce his rights (or abdicate upon accession) he would do so ONLY for himself. His sons are legal adults who would have to make their decision for themselves and sign separate instruments of renunciation (if they chose to do so)
     
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