Harry and Megan: How long will it last?

How long


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ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Can the royal family be chosen by votes of DM readers? Should be an interesting experience.

They can call the show The Royal Factor.
Only if it is televised as a reality show again, and again, and . . . . .
 
I've often wondered that, why republics like France have a president and a prime minister?
France has a semi-presidential system. It's structured like a parliamentary republic (i.e., like our system but with a president instead of a monarch), but the president is a partisan decision-maker rather than a non-partisan decision-approver/denier, adviser & manager of the system of govt. The PM is 'chosen' by the president but the PM has to be acceptable to the lower house, which can constrain the range of candidates considerably. This is why Mitterand 'chose' Chirac as his PM despite Chirac's being his foremost political opponent. Other ministers are appointed by the president at the nomination of the PM. The president & ministers have to govern in co-operation with each other. A check-&-balance mechanism of sorts. A French-style system tends to lurch between functioning more like parliamentary systems when the president & the PM are of opposing parties ("cohabitation") & functioning more like presidential systems when the president & the PM are of the same party
 
Time to change to direct descendants of the Monarch in the prime line of succession being the only ones who are princes and princesses with appropriate duties? Sorry Andy, Eddie, just like your sister, your children are plain Miss and Mister.
That would be a lot more complicated in practice than it appears on the surface. You would need to be able to predict the future with perfect accuracy decades in advance in order to know who will have children and who will die childless, who will abdicate and who won't, when laws governing succession will change and when they won't, etc.

Consider for example the current line of succession. Until William and Kate had a child, Harry was next in direct line of succession after William. Once the first child was born, he wasn't. So under the proposal you outlined would he suddenly not become a prince as soon as George was born? What would happen if George had died a few months later? Would Harry have then become a prince again?

I believe there is currently a limit to the distance from the line of succession which at birth decides who is a prince or princess and who isn't. It is set to provide enough of a buffer that it would take an exceptional series of misfortunes to run out of legitimate successors while also keeping princes and princesses rare enough to still be "valuable" from a public perception standpoint.

Limiting the number of "legitimate" royals to a very small number is actually plays into republican strategy as sooner or later the odds would favour running out of direct successors through accident, assassination, childlessness, etc., and thus provide an excuse to extinguishing the monarchy on the grounds that they had died out.

I should point out that decisions of this nature are not solely at the discretion of the UK, as the Royal Family are the heads of state of a number of other countries. When the rules of succession were recently changed with respect to male and female heirs, this had to be coordinated between all of them (and Cameron made a pig's breakfast of things through his procrastination and provoked a very unwelcome minor constitutional crisis in Canada).

You may try to argue that the UK could just ignore everyone else and do whatever it wants, but given that the UK is currently going through Brexit I'm not sure that you can really afford to piss off the few friends you have left by landing a constitutional problem in their laps that they weren't interested in having.
 
But if you have a single person doing both (in a gov't) you can still have checks and balances thought congress, senate, courts etc.
The UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. don't do "checks and balances", they do "responsible government".

The former is a US concept and is typical late 18th century overly complex social engineering. The US system splits up responsibility between multiple different organizations (president, congress, senate, courts) so theoretically they can stop each other from doing anything bad. In practice what really happens is that they do bad things anyway and then stand around pointing fingers at each other and claiming it wasn't their own responsibility.

The latter, "responsible government", is very simple and relies on having clear lines of responsibility with the responsible persons being directly accountable to the electorate. The monarch is a figurehead, and the House of Lords (Senate in Canada) have little real power except in very narrow circumstances. If something doesn't get done or gets done badly, the PM, cabinet, and governing party are held as being entirely to blame by the electorate.

So to use "checks and balances" you would not only have to create a whole new constitutional system, you would have to create a whole new political culture with no real idea how it would evolve in practice.

This however is why there is no simple one for one correspondence between US political offices and those in the UK (or Canada, etc.). The same goes for speakers, cabinet ministers, and heads of committees. The relative power wielded by each under the two systems is very different because power is split up differently in the US.
 
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The UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. don't do "checks and balances", they do "responsible government".

The former is a US concept and is typical late 18th century overly complex social engineering. The US system splits up responsibility between multiple different organizations (president, congress, senate, courts) so theoretically they can stop each other from doing anything bad. In practice what really happens is that they do bad things anyway and then stand around pointing fingers at each other and claiming it wasn't their won responsibility.

The latter, "responsible government", is very simple and relies on having clear lines of responsibility with the responsible persons being directly accountable to the electorate. The monarch is a figurehead, and the House of Lords (Senate in Canada) have little real power except in very narrow circumstances. If something doesn't get done or gets done badly, the PM, cabinet, and governing party are held as being entirely to blame by the electorate.

So to use "checks and balances" you would not only have to create a whole new constitutional system, you would have to create a whole new political culture with no real idea how it would evolve in practice.

This however is why there is no simple one for one correspondence between US political offices and those in the UK (or Canada, etc.). The same goes for speakers, cabinet ministers, and heads of committees. The relative power wielded by each under the two systems is very different because power is split up differently in the US.

Perhaps this could be construed as overstating the differences, especially between parliamentary & presidential systems in a purely general sense. Checks & balances aren't absent, though parliamentary systems are at an advantage in that they tend to be more 'built in' rather than 'tacked on'. Westminster was both Montesquieu's model for the separation of powers doctrine & the primary inspiration of the Fabulous Founder Freak Brothers.

Legislative power is vested in a parliament (or congress). Judicial power is vested in a hierarchy of courts. Executive power is vested in a monarch (or president). The executive is bound by the law, a court can rule that a law or executive action is invalid, the executive can refuse assent to (i.e., veto) a bill (though in the UK's case Queen Anne was last to do so), & so on.

Nor are powerful elected upper houses incompatible with parliamentary systems (see Australia, especially at state level). They do need to be less powerful than the lower house in certain ways, but no more than is commensurate with their being less representative than lower houses. As long as their prevention of the passage of bills doesn't extend to preventing the operation of the executive govt (so the govt 'shutdown' crises that occur so frequently in the US can be avoided).

Ours has an extra check on the executive authority in the form of ministers requiring the support of the most representative chamber of parliament (responsible govt), so MPs serve simultaneously as ministers (note: separation of powers doesn't mean separation of people) &, what with democracy being a thing an' all, the monarch concerns herself with being a non-partisan umpire. This has a number of advantages including diffusion of power, the electorate knows exactly who to blame for things they don't like, less obstruction, an executive govt that can't do whatever it likes, & it's more responsive to the popular will because of aforementioned & that ministers - including the PM - can be given the boot when they become desperately unpopular, rather than serving until the expiration of a term.

From time to time I come across someone who has never lived anywhere with a parliamentary system who claims that the downside of all this is that (1) parliamentary systems are inherently unstable & (2) we don't get to elect our head of govt, both of which are bad arguments.

(1) stems largely from 2 fictions. The 1st results from the conflation of the system of govt with an electoral system. Proportional representation is a bloody awful system for a lower house as it tends to result in no 1 party or permanent coalition gaining a majority, which results in disunited, short-lived cabinets. Which is not to say that hung parliaments don't occur with a better electoral system, as the DUP's baleful presence at Westminster reminds us. But it's much rarer & the problems more limited (& it can be a useful exception in that overdue reforms may be a price for supporting one of the major parties). (PR & hung parliaments cause problems in presidential systems too, as the same disunity results in weakness that the powerful independent executive can exploit.) The 2nd is that a change of PM by itself has a much greater effect than it actually has. A different chairman of the board is not the same thing as a different board. Weirdly, Japan (which goes through PMs the way Ciggie goes through booze) is often cited in making this argument despite being one of the most stable democracies ever, producing a seemingly endless succession of PMs distinguishable only by their slightly different wives.

(2) stems from the fiction that head of govt in a parliamentary system is the same job as head of govt in a presidential system. Long story short, I'd rather someone who can lead only by consent & co-operation, & who is subject to an elected parliament every day than someone (maybe even a demogogue too ignorant, incompetent & unhinged to ever be chosen by the lower house) who is in sole command of the executive govt & is subject to a popularity contest held on 1 day every 4 (or more) years.
 
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