I have always been a staunch supporter of the Royal family and consider that a constitutional Monarchy is the best system of government.
The Monarch realistically exercises no real political power; it is the people, through the ballot box which forms the government through the processes we are all familiar with. What passes between the Queen and the PM of the day (14 so far) at their weekly audiences is never aired but I am sure it is within these meetings that the stabilising influence is exercised, advice, and as necessary, annoyance, is candidly expressed.
Governments may change but the stability of our system keeps us strong. A constitutional Monarchy is far from unique but it is more commonplace internationally to have a President either elected by the people for a fixed term or appointed by the Political Parties.
If elected, as in the USA or France, the President has extensive political powers. If merely selected by the ruling Party or elected by political leaders as in Hungary or Germany, the powers are limited and they often become the mouthpiece of the political flavour of the day.
What is without question is that Heads of State selected under presidential systems of a republic rarely command popular support because of the politics involved. There was an interesting poll in a Republic of Ireland newspaper that suggested that our Queen, obviously having no status at all in that country, is more popular than any current political leader in Southern Ireland.
Our system, strange but not unique, simply works. The amazing Jubilee weekend showed a country unified in support, respect, affection and great thanks to our Queen for her tireless devotion and service to us over 70 years. A role that landed through dint of historical outcomes, a role over which she had little choice but taken up flawlessly out of duty to the nation, the then Empire, Dominions and Commonwealth.
The depth of that affection was evident across the street parties, civic events and services held across every corner of the UK. Without doubt the glue of Monarchy linking past, present and future was evident and inspiring. I am sure many around the world look in awe and with some jealousy at the constitution we have, the centuries old traditions and stability we enjoy. Long live her Majesty.
I write my regular article on a Monday morning as a turbulent week unfolds. As I write, the threshold causing a vote in the Prime Minister has been reached. The media have managed, very effectively, to keep ‘Partygate’ alive across many months with, in my view, the purpose of deposing a Prime Minister. Putin must be laughing into his breakfast.
I had felt that the matter of our EU membership and Brexit would no longer be an issue that brought another Prime Minister down as we saw across Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron. The issue should have been settled at the 2016 referendum and by the 80 majority delivered at the 2019 general election. There will be a mixed weave as to why colleagues do what they do.
An analysis, if it were possible, would show a variety of grievances – some will be re-fighting the Brexit battle hoping a new leader might soften our stance; others will be aggrieved because they were re-shuffled out of government; there’ll be those who have their eye on the main chance. My South Thanet constituents are not short of advice to me. I’m receiving opposition to Boris from those who hate Brexit, are Labour supporters or those who write to me about all and everything and some from Conservative voters angry about the social gatherings in Downing Street.
There are similarly those who wish Boris to continue because of his record of getting the UK out of a constitutional mess, managing the Covid period in as good a way as was possible and putting the UK back on the international stage particularly over the Ukraine war. Be careful what you wish for: winning elections is key. If we were to lose there’s likely be a grand coalition of the left, even higher taxes, the break-up of the UK, changes to the voting system and a slow inexorable return into the orbit of the EU.
I have been critical of many aspects of current policies. I’m not at all happy at what went on in Downing Street but more so at many initiatives that to me are not particularly Conservative – on tax policy, and most notably on energy policy. That’s the way of the world, that’s my right as a backbench constituency MP, that’s the broad church of the Conservative Party.
Whilst I was at the forefront of activity to remove Theresa May as Prime Minister, that threshold has in no way been reached. We need a return to steady and effective government and to consider again the impeccable service offered by the Queen over these past 70 years and get on with the job.