Friday, November 13, 2009
The only power a constitutional monarch should have is as the backstop defence of the constitution having the power, in an absolute crisis, to dismiss the government & substitute a new one & having the innate obedience of the government officers & particularly soldiers, to make it stick. A well run state should be able to go for centuries without having to invoke that power but it is a vital ultimate power. They are likely also to have influence on some of the Prime Minister's lesser decisions & particularly appointments. The function is to maintain the constitution & look at the long term future of the country whereas few politicians do, or can, look much beyond the next election.
Examples of it being used are the Italian king's dismissal of Mussolini when Italy had clearly lost in WW2 & Hirohito's decision that Japan should surrender after Hiroshima & less unequivocally successful, the Australian Governor-General's 1975 dismissal of the Prime Minister. The Japanese history is the most interesting in that while all other constitutional monarchs have faced some form of democracy, for centuries they were run by a Shogun while power remained constitutionally in the Emperor's hands.
The said lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, do further pray that it may be enacted, that all and every person and persons that, on properly applied intelligence tests fails, on average, to match the IQ of their predecessor or shall marry somebody whose IQ is at least 2 standard deviations above that of the predecessor shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the crown and government of this realm, and the dominions belonging thereunto, or any part of the sameThe effect of this would be that we would develop a very smart bunch of royals, probably improving by one standard deviation (about 12 points) per inheritance. Whether Prince Charles would be able to match the IQ of his mother is an open question but I have no doubt that Prince Andrew, who has flown helicopters & fighters for the RAF could.
The wording for this is taken from the British Bill of Rights - the unprepossessing bit where, for perfectly valid reasons of the time, Catholics were excluded from the succession.