06/05/2012

Queen Elizabeth diamond jubilee

Britain is currently having four days of celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. Some may disapprove of her inheriting the Head of State position, but what other countries can do better?

How many other countries have a head of state who, before actually being in that position, could have made the following declaration on her 21st birthday (on the 21st April 1947, when in Cape Town) and then have stuck to it

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service

Although I have been in Geneva a very long time, I did all my schooling in England. I was not (quite) a teenager when my family watched her coronation on the black and white television of our neighbours. Even at my age, I could understand what a great occasion I was witnessing as it was happening. Later on, of course, we could see it in colour on Pathe News in the local cinema.

The debate on a Royal as head of State is often heated, but loses sight of the fact that, unlike other heads of State, Queen Elizabeth's rôle is mainly symbolic. However, no bills passed by the two houses of Parliament can be law until she has signed them. As such, she has to read and approve Government papers on all but about two days per year: no statutory right to any limitation on the number of hours per week, nor weeks of paid holiday.

So what might the anti-royalists propose instead? Election by the people (such as is being suggested even for Switzerland!) sounds fine, but the recent election in France showed us two snarling dogs of war shouting insults at each other: when that happens can whoever is elected be a popular choice for everyone?

How about election by politicians? Well, we all know that politics is too often a dirty game, with back-stabbing and secret quid pro quo agreements. Germany's Angela Merkel forced in her choice as president of Germany a few years ago, despite a body of opinion that the choice was wrong. They seem to have been proved right, since he had to resign!

OK, maybe we should let religious people choose their head of State: a theocracy? The problem is firstly that many countries have multiple religions, with the monority religions then risking ostracism (or worse). Also, of course, you cannot argue logically against religious beliefs!

Maybe we can keep thinks in the family without calling them Royals: I could call this a kinocracy! It does not take much thought to find numerous counter-examples, North Korea being one which might spring to mind.

So, no system is guaranteed as "the best": it all depends on the persons concerned. I remember once, at school, having to debate which was better: a corrupt democracy or a benevolent dictatorship. Whatever argument I thought of could be countered pretty easily.

 

17:09 Posted in Special days and notable incidents | Permalink | Comments (2) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

Comments

I was in London in 1950 - 51, when the Queen was still Princess Elizabeth. Many times I went to Buckingham watching the Queen (Mother) and Elizabeth or Margaret leaving the palace for official representations.
I remember "Trooping the colour", etc. I returned to Switzerland two weeks before the death of King George VI. I loved London and in my heart I still feel a little bit british.

The Diamond Celebration helps me to remember and I enjoyed it.
I have noted something important Saturday and more on Monday during the concert. Without saying anything, the Queen has placed Prince Charles at the right place he should be, first beside her.
Now with the all crowd who was at Buckingham on Monday, I say "God save the Queen".

Posted by: cybermamy | 06/06/2012

P.S. Sorry for my poor english but the time I used to practice your language is so far ago.

Posted by: cybermamy | 06/06/2012

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