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June 01, 2012

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Chris Williams

I suspect that the missing link between UKIP and Hattersley is not sexual orientation, but race: specifically the fact that his seat had a large Muslim minority, whom he neglected to bash as much as the right would consider reasonable. So stick an iman on the flag n'all.

I am softening in my old age. I'd vote for Princess Anne, to be honest. Then she can have a right old cackle with Millibandimus about the pleasures of brother-shafting.

Igor Belanov

I've never heard Hattersley's name, though some nutcase did use Prescott's somewhere on the blogosphere today.

I just tell people that you don't actually NEED a president. If some fools deem it necessary to have a head of state then maybe they should rotate it every six weeks at random from willing members of the public.

chris y

Igor is correct; we don't need a president. Last time we had a republic in this country we did without a head of state for four years (the Act abolishing the monarchy specifically situated sovereignty in the House of Commons), until Cromwell's coup d'etat.

Chris Williams

I sent my lad to the school party today with a cake with the Commonwealth's coat of arms (very easy to do compared to the Protectorate) on it. Not sure anyone else apart from us got the joke, but hey.

bert

When winding up a 'kipper you start with the purple blotchy nose. Your job's done when the blotches join up at the back of the neck. Have to say though that Hattersley on Rushdie always struck me as self-interest rather than forebearance, Chris.

john b

The point of having a head of state is so that we don't have to respect the head of government, who otherwise assumes the "personification of nation" role de facto even if there isn't one de jure.

They don't have to be a monarch, but for obvious reasons, someone with no claim to actual power and no political leanings is preferable to someone else.

As with my preferred solution for the House of Lords, I'm completely neutral on whether they're chosen by birth or by lot, as long as they aren't elected or appointed by politicians.

Igor Belanov

A Second Chamber is something else we don't actually NEED.

And why does law need to be personified? European law isn't personified in the shape of the head of the Commission.

a3t

But it's personified in the shape of the heads of state of all the countries that implement it, no?

Igor Belanov

If it is, why does it need to be?

chris y

As I understand it, in the United States the Law is personified by the "People", whereas the State is personified by the Prez. If I were as subtle a thinker as Jefferson or Madison, no doubt I'd understand how this works.

ajay

The Law's the true embodiment
Of everything that's excellent
It has no kind of fault or flaw -
And I, my Lords, embody the Law.

-- an explanation from an even more subtle and radical political thinker.

skidmarx

We need a second chamber to stop democracy getting out of control.

nick s

If some fools deem it necessary to have a head of state then maybe they should rotate it every six weeks at random from willing members of the public.

Like the fourth plinth? Actually, that's an idea: you get to be head of state, but you also have to sit on the plinth for six weeks.

As I understand it, in the United States the Law is personified by the "People", whereas the State is personified by the Prez.

That's funny, because I look at the American constitutional settlement and see, basically, a late 18th-century Anglo-republican model that retains a lot of the rule-by-aristocracy bollocks that Britain has gradually replaced with pageantry and tat.

Strategist

I loved this one from Ken Livingstone's autobiography, which forms the second sentence of Derek Draper's Wikipedia entry:

While at the university, Draper provided hospitality for Ken Livingstone, who had missed his train after a Labour Club meeting. Livingstone was reportedly astonished to find displayed in Draper's student room an improbably large poster of Labour Party deputy leader, Roy Hattersley.

Meanwhile:

why is it always Roy Hattersley in these arguments...? ...The 'kippers, like the decents, seem to have a collective demonology in which minor or absurdly inappropriate figures loom ridiculously large

I agree, but I'm struggling to think of a killer example - help, B&Ters...

redpesto

Hattersley? I always thought it was 'President' Blair/Thatcher (delete according to levels of personal hatred), to which a somewhat mischievous retort was to suggest former Speaker (and ex-Tiller Girl) Betty Boothroyd.*

*This does of course conjure up the possibility of 'President Bercow' and his ex-Big Brother contestant First Lady.

john b

Like the fourth plinth? Actually, that's an idea: you get to be head of state, but you also have to sit on the plinth for six weeks.

Problem solved. Like it.

skidmarx
there has been some discussion of the idea of a Selective-Service Congress in our “Comments” feature, mostly by friends who seem to have overlooked the existence of a really fine sf novel, by one of my favorite authors, The Years of the City, which discusses the possibilities involved in such a scheme.

The author sums them up, if I remember correctly, by saying something like, “True, legislators and other high government officials chosen by lot might not be any more honest or intelligent than the ones we have now, but they would not be likely to be much less so, and they would certainly have one invaluable advantage over the present lot: They would not have to pay off benefactors who helped them get elected by providing them with large sums of money or political favors. Thus the system would remove at a stroke most of the tyranny of ‘special interests.’”


http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/2012/05/some-comments-on-the-comments-selective-service/

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