A Constitutional Daydream


by DJ Webb

My thoughts wandered for a while after I read that Boris Johnson had taken part in discussions to find him a safe seat by means of which he could be propelled into Parliament. Mr Johnson has made a name for himself as a eurosceptic, although I fancy this is just clever positioning. I doubt he really gives two figs for our ancient constitution—and as Mayor of London, he has made clear his support for mass immigration to displace the majority population of England. For various reasons, therefore, I doubt his true political convictions are much more conservative than David Cameron’s, although he might be able to promise a little bit more “true blue water” between the Conservatives and Labour, although not so much as to restore our country’s constitution. Nevertheless, my subconscious filled in the blanks in my rêverie and this is what I dreamt of as I suspended belief for a few minutes:


Having been elected leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Johnson immediately made it clear he would not enter into a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, demanding to be appointed as head of a minority government. This gave the Queen a headache, and the cabinet secretary also sought to manoeuvre behind the scenes for a coalition government. But Mr Johnson held firm: he would negotiate only with the Palace; the constitution gave no role to civil servants in cobbling together governments in the way a midwife delivers a baby. Ed Miliband was in two minds: a minority coalition with the Lib Dems would be an even more creative step, and one that could kill off his chances of an absolute majority in the next general election. In the end, Mr Miliband ruled himself out too, and the Queen had no choice but to appoint Mr Johnson prime minister, first Lord of the Treasury and minister for the civil service.

But before he knelt to kiss the Queen’s hand—she tried to say that that had all been dispensed with years ago, but he insisted that constitutional proprieties be adhered to—he indicated he would not accept the post of prime minister without a restoration of the constitution. The Queen had no other choice but to agree to announce in a televised speech outside Buckingham Palace the contours of the agreement with Mr Johnson. Her words stunned and divided the nation:

When I took my Coronation Oath years ago, I was given to believe it was an unbreakable agreement: I was elected monarch by those present during the Coronation Service, and in return for their submission, I agreed to govern this nation by its ancient Common Law.

Clearly, legal views on the importance of the Coronation Oath shifted considerably during my long reign, and although I was privately advised in 1972 that I had no legal authority to give Royal Assent to the European Communities Bill, I was left with a difficult choice whether to strike out alone, without the support of any of the political parties, in attempting to defeat a bill that I knew would prevent the Crown in Parliament from governing this nation, which is, ultimately, the intention of English Common Law.

My protestations were not listened to by Mr Heath’s government, and I am sorry to tell you now that I put the continuance of the monarchy ahead of the promises I made to the country in my Coronation Oath and gave my assent to the bill. It is now a key plank of my agreement with Mr Johnson that the European dispensation be fully unpicked. I have indicated that I will give my assent to legislation removing us from the European Union at an early date. It would be sensible to allow some period for negotiations—negotiations that I will not allow to draw us into a continuing obligation to implement any European directives—but we will be an independent nation in months.

I am afraid that when a number of peers of the realm asked me to restore the constitution a few years ago, I lacked the courage to do so. Magna Carta in 1215 provided that a committee of barons could compel the monarch to restore the constitution in 40 days, and yet once again I faced the difficult decision of acting in a way that would fly in the face of the entire political establishment, although the legal case was cut and dried that I had to respond to the barons’ request.

Some of my advisers have claimed that Magna Carta has been substantially repealed, but it is plain to me that Magna Carta, signed in 1215, predated Parliament, and was not an Act of Parliament. Later Acts that “confirmed the Charter” created a statute-law equivalent of Magna Carta—and those have been substantially repealed—but the 1215 Magna Carta itself has not been repealed and could not be repealed. It could only be challenged if it could be shown not to have correctly embodied the principles of the Common Law in the first place.

The point made most forcefully by Mr Johnson in our private discussions is that English Common Law is the fundamental law of the land: the Royal motto Dieu et mon droit translates as “God and my right”, but that “right” of mine to be sovereign of this country derives entirely from English Common Law. In other words, the origins of kingship in this country are lost in the mists of time before the Conquest, but at any rate the English have always had the right to acclaim and elect their sovereign during the Coronation Service, and the various deviations from strict primogeniture, the latest of which was the 1688/89 Glorious Revolution, are ultimately grounded in this pre-Conquest view of kingship.

Similarly, Parliament’s right to sit is given in the Common Law. For Parliament to proclaim its own powers—as do legislative bodies in other states, where the legislature passes the text of the constitution that will bind it—would suffer objections that a body was simply declaring it had powers, without showing its prior right to make such a declaration. The powers of Parliament are therefore not what parliamentarians would like them to be, but what the Common Law, since time immemorial, has held them to be.

Statute laws abolishing the Common Law are therefore null and void—a point long accepted in the Royal Courts of Justice. We know that modern conditions often require a modernisation or an updating of the ancient law, but not in such a way as to fundamentally abolish the age-old rights of the English people. For this reason, any statute to abolish the view of kingship indicated in Magna Carta could not be lawful. Consequently, I now propose to co-operate with the efforts of the government to restore our constitution, as the committee of barons asked me to do.

A number of specific points have been raised with me by Mr Johnson. First, the composition of the House of Lords has changed out of all recognition. A few life peers—which after all were created occasionally in the Middle Ages—would be acceptable, but a wholesale abuse of the peerage system in order to create a house of cronies has fundamentally subverted the Common Law, which requires threefold assent of Crown, Commons—and the House of Lords. I intend to restore the House of Lords as a house of hereditary peers and the bishops of the Church of England by Order in Council. My agreement with Mr Johnson is that life peerages will only be created for law lords and former prime ministers, with no exceptions. All other life peerages will be quashed.

Second, there is the problem of the Supreme Court. In law, the Crown in Parliament is supreme, and the highest court in the land is only so in so far as it is subordinate to the Crown in Parliament. For the former House of Lords to turn itself into a Supreme Court that is not a judicial committee of the upper house of Parliament removes that subordination to the Crown in Parliament in a way that implies that the members of the Supreme Court are now super-sovereign, that their views override those of the Crown in Parliament.

I intend to reverse the damage I did by giving my assent to the purported statute accomplishing this piece of constitutional damage. The current judges of the Supreme Court will be dismissed by Order in Council and their pensions will be cancelled, for lack of interest. A new judicial House of Lords will be formed of twelve members of the upper house of Parliament, with a new statute specifically stating what was implicit in the Common Law all along, that the entire House of Lords retains the right to dismiss the law lords and take important cases over into the whole house, thereby reinforcing the sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament, which the members of the so-called Supreme Court have sought to subvert.

Mr Johnson has impressed on me the difficulty my subjects—who look to me to uphold the law of the land—are facing in convincing the courts to hand down lawful judgements. The Bill of Rights, which is a constitutional statute dating back to 1688, has not been repealed, and much more importantly, it is also states many of the fundamental rights given in English Common Law, which cannot be repealed. Apparently, although there has never been any legal authority for it, my judges have consistently refused to rule that my subjects have the right to bear arms and use them in their self-defence, a right mentioned in the Bill of Rights. It is profoundly illegal for judges to make up constitutional law in this way. It is right that there be some restrictions, as convicted criminals and the insane should not be permitted to buy firearms, but any restrictions cannot be implemented in such a way as to substantially cancel out a fundamental Common Law right.

Similarly, the provision of the Bill of Rights that no fines or forfeitures be handed out without a court case merely reflects the older provision of the Common Law in this respect. My courts have regularly refused to uphold the law on this point. The situation where smirking judges substitute their own views for the law of the land will now stop. If, as seems to be the case, many millions are subject to arbitrary fines, this shows that no real offences are being committed to justify the levying of the fines. For example, only dangerous driving should be penalised (by a court case and not an administrative fine), and not the violation of a multitude of minor traffic regulations. Fines for leaving rubbish out in the wrong way are also inappropriate in a free country. Where the actions giving rise to administrative fines are of a very serious nature, then a proper court of law can examine them; in other cases, we must organise our affairs without imposing arbitrary fines.

Finally, I would like to express my regret that I have been so willing to allow myself to be used to nullify the rights and freedoms of my subjects, the upholding of which is the only purpose of the monarchy. The numerous rights of officialdom to invade homes where no offence has been committed will be drastically scaled back over the next year, and the scandalous legislation allowing social workers to seize children for no good reason will be abolished.

Having been convinced that a restoration of the constitution is my duty, I intend to see the task through with Mr Johnson’s support. Mr Johnson has suggested a new charter, Nova Carta, be signed by me at Runnymede, where Magna Carta was signed. This charter will also not be an Act of Parliament and unrepealable in so far as it correctly states the Common Law. I also intend to renew my Coronation Oath every year from now on in an annual ceremony that will remind both Queen and people of the bilateral obligations we have entered into. Thank you all, and God bless England!

I snapped out of my daydream with a start: Boris supports the destruction of our culture, I realised, as he is the main propagandist for a non-British London, so why believe he would like to see the rest of our culture restored either? Even so, I suspected that he would be an improvement on Mr Cameron—not a very high bar of differentiation, the reader will admit! We might be able to slow our decline, but I cannot disguise the fact that the general direction in which we are headed is unlikely to change.

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13 responses to “A Constitutional Daydream

  1. This is a wonderful piece.

    If only we could make it a reality…..

    CR.

  2. Oh golly, I wish I could write like that. You should turn it into a novelette. It might get a few people thinkiing about this problem, outside the few dozen classical-Liberals who read and write minimal-statist blogs.

  3. I agree with a lot of this article. Sadly the people in charge of the law (and the universities) would not.

    The idea that Parliament can do anything it likes has been the mainsteam view since at least Blackstone’s time – which is why the American Founding Fathers detested Blackstone so much (althougth that did not stop them quoting him when it was useful to do so).

    Of course it would be amusing (in a bitter sort of way) to take any of the American Founding Fathers (including even Hamilton) forward in time to today – where the Supreme Court declares (and has done for many decades) that Congress can spend money on anything it likes – as long as it declares that such spending is for the “general welfare”.

    “But” (the Founding Father would say after they got over the shock) “the common defence and general welfare” is the purpose of the specific spending powers granted in Article One, Section Eight – there is no catch all general welfare spending power”.

    “And” (he would go on) “if there is any doubt, the Tenth Amendment settles the matter”.

    I agree with you (one would sadly respond) – but try telling that to the courts, or the academics in the universities.

    “But I have got you” DJ Webb might respond.

    “If Parliament can do anything it likes surely that implies it is sovereign – and if that is so then no other body (including the E.U.) can overrule it, regardless of what it has said in the past”.

    I agree with that as well – but (again) the courts and the academics would laugh it to scorn (you know about scorn Mr Webb – you use it your self when you can not think of an argument against me, I assure you that the big people are no different).

    Presently they at least admit that Parliament could pass an an Act getting us out of the bleeping European Union.

    Bu the rest?

    Yes, sadly, it is a daydream.

    As is the idea of a monarch acting against the adivice of her (or his) ministers, or (let us be blunt) of the establishment.

    After all the Queen (almost as a matter of course) undercut Mrs Thatcher over Z-R.

    You see “the Commonwealth” (i.e. the advisers saying the view of X.Y, Z) said that the internal settlement should not be recognised – and that nice Comrade Bob Mugabe………

    It would be very difficult for a monarch to act any differently – they are surrounded by establshtment flunkies their whole lives (so even the opinions of their own husband are dismissed if they contradict the opinions of the establishment.

    But then you know all this – which is why it is a daydream.

    As for the Great Charter of 1215.

    And the Charter of 1100 – people forget about Henry the First promise (to get the English on his side against his older brother).

    And the Bill of Rights.

    And……

    Not worth the parchment they are written on I am afraid.

    Most Amercans still know they have a Constitution (including a Bill of Rights) – even if they are only dimly aware of the contents of this document (a document that only takes a few minutes to read).

    Most British people do not even know of the existance of such things as the British Bill of Rights.

    And nor is (sadly) much reason that they should know – as all the key constitutional documents of Britain are dead letters (without legal force).

    Truely we are damned,

  4. I think the defining moment for Johnson was when he used his personal veto to block ads on buses for a group claiming to cure homosexuality. If you still place any trust in him after that, you’re clinically insane.

  5. Come on Ian and Sean, I’m interested to hear your comments! A novelette be blowed Mr Davies, here’s the outline of a full-blown novel that’s just waiting to be written. Only needs a little sex adding… and a murder or two, followed, maybe, by an assassination with Royal assent. Oh and dump the Corgis – a best seller needs the gripping strength of a Staffy.

  6. The Queen can do that any time she likes. She does not need a new PM with slightly more (but not much more) backbone than Cleggeron. The fact that she does not, seems to point to the sad realisation that she’s also on the Enemy’s side: the English have always tended to get rid of unsatisfactory monarchs and appoint new ones where needed.

  7. I think saying the Queen is “on the Enemy’s side” is going to far.

    The Queen acts on advice (the lady is not a political philosopher) and the advice comes from the “liberal” left establishment.

    I am not exactly a tolerant person – but I would never blame a someone for just being (in effect) a puppet.

    It is the string pullers that I hate.

    As for getting another monarch.

    I am not sure what David means by this.

    I very much doubt he wants to cut off the Queen’s head (or send her into exile) – so why say “the English have always tended to get rid of unsatisfactory monarchs and appoint new ones where needed”.

    There is no point in saying this – as you do not actually mean anything against the Queen (it is just frustration talking – not that I ever let frustration take control of course……).

    Still – if we are engaging in fantasy…….

    Liechtenstein (I felt like putting an X and a Y in that – just to annoy the people who complain about by bad typing) is one of the few countries in the world where the monarch still takes an active part in politics – and relies on their own reasoning (not the “advice” of the “liberal” establishment).

    The Prince of Liechtenstein recently withstood a storm of attacks on this from the “international community” (E.U., Council of Europe and so on) – he went to the people and said (in effect) “either I will carry on taking an active role in politics, vetoing stuff I regard as evil, or I will leave the country – but I will not stay here as a f…… puppet” (the sort of stand that Prince Philip might make).

    The people voted in favour of the Prince of Liechtenstein – by an overwhelming majority.

    Well, it just so happens, that the son of the Prince of Liechtenstein is (or will be) the Stuart claiment to the thrones of England (and Wales), Scotland, and Ireland.

    So if you really do want a different monarch – there is a candidate available.

    By the way Liechtenstein has the same tune as its national anthem that we do.

  8. Actually everything the “Queen” allegedly said is true and factual, all that is required is for Her Maj to actually say it. It is all there ready and waiting. Having read Barroso’s recent Speech-not made up or read by anyone else, it is obvious that this Country and its people can no longer remain in the European Union. If this Government does not act, then the people may, for in no way can the people contribute in any way, even financially to what is proposed by Borroso, and the cat is at last out of the bag.

    I just hope that DJ Webb’s excellent “Constitutional Day Dream” does not turn in to everyone’s elses Nightmare.

  9. Then, Paul, in these dangerous times, when creeping socialist statism has got out of the bag, or even the bottle, it’s even more important for an English (or even a British) Head of State to understand political philosophy rather deeply and well. His/her life also might even depend upon it, although I would never suggest that we go back to the older remedies.

    English monarchs “effectively removed” or otherwise sacked, since 1066 are as follows:-
    Stephen
    John (functionally, he was removed – he happened to die of food poisining in un-suspicious circumstances a year later
    Henry III
    Edward II
    Richard II
    Henry VI (twice actually)
    Charles I
    James II

    That’s eight, for doing no more than upsetting the ruling class or the mass of the people. (I don’t count Lady Jane Grey, whose proclamation was never fully authorised.) I also wouldn’t add in Edward VIII for his problem was more of a churchy one. So, all in all, the probability of being and English monarch and falling into political misfortune leading to your sacking, is rather high.

  10. I’ve always thought Lady Jane Grey is one of the most tragic figures in English history. Always brings a lump to my throat to think of her brave, dignified, but so utterly unnecessary end.

  11. David your history is accurate – I can not argue with it.

    Ian – agreed.

  12. Will Wolverhampton

    Cameron is reminding me more and more of a brighter version of Blair. Johnson is reminding me more and more of a cross between Cameron and Blair.

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