Article by Sean Gabb.
Because it is unwritten, and because its various conventions are in continual flux, the English Constitution can be rather opaque to foreign observers. Some of these fail to understand the nature of convention, and assume that the Queen of England is an absolute monarch—though more genteel than the King of Saudi Arabia. Others see the conventions as the only reality, and regard England as an odd sort of republic.
Both are wrong. Our Constitution is based on an implied contract between people and Monarch. This is that, in public, we regard whoever wears the Crown as the Lord’s Anointed. In return, the Monarch acts on the advice of a Prime Minister, who is accountable to us.
But this implied contract has one important limiting term. It holds only so long as politics is other than a cartel of tyrants and traitors. But just such a cartel is exactly what has emerged in Britain as the 1960s radical generation completed its Gramscian “Long March through the institutions”, as I have documented in my pamphlet Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back (free PDF download here).And once the politicians make themselves, as a class, irremovable, and once they begin to abolish the rights of the people, it is the duty of the Monarch to step in and rebalance the Constitution.
The need for this duty to be performed has been apparent since at least 1972, when we were lied into the European Union. The Conservatives did not fight the 1970 general election on any promise that they would take us in. When they did take us in, and when Labour kept us in, we were told that it was nothing more than a trade agreement. It turned out very soon to be a device for the politicians to exercise unaccountable power. The Queen could and should have acted then, beginning by insisting on a General Election after the terms of Britain’s entry were settled.
There have been many times since when she should have acted. At all times, she could have sacked the Government and dissolved Parliament without provoking riots in the street.
But so far as I can tell, the Queen has acted only twice in my lifetime to force changes of policy—typically, on behalf of the emerging Politically Correct consensus. In 1979, she bullied Margaret Thatcher to go back on her election promise not to hand Rhodesia over to a bunch of black Marxists. In 1987, she bullied Margaret Thatcher again to give in to calls for sanctions against South Africa.
And that was it.