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January 18, 2005



Hmm, I always say that the power of Blair, that you hate so much, for good reason, are actually derived from the weakness of the monarchy, and our lack of a decent constitution. All the power of the Monarch (to declare war for example) is devolved to the Prime Minister, while she walks her Corgis. The tabloid hounding of the inbreds is really secondary and marginal, in my mind.

BTW there's an article by Julian Baggini about consumers being sick of consuming, and the post-materialist society, like your post from the other day. You might be on to something... Let's hope!


Having lived outside for the UK for a while I have had plenty of experience trying to explain the advantage of the system to bemused outsiders. As I tell it, it works because it makes the PM number 2 in the pecking order. (Well, he's actually lower than that according to ceremonial rules - but that's often a tad bit too complicated for most outsiders to understand readily and experience has taught me that it tends to detracts from my important point!) Anyway, politically powerful, they are always nothing more than the Prime Minister of His/Her Majesty's Government. It is not even their government! It is the ultimate poke in the eye for politicians. Meanwhile, sitting at the top is someone who has no political power and is not there through any political patronage. They owe no one anything. It is a perfect balance. Funnily enough, it has become a lot easier for people to see the logic of this system since Blair took over. Major was just weak. As for Thatcher, even with all her faults you never felt like she was trying to be a president in waiting.


Well, it's been pointed out that Blair's style is monarchical rather than presidential - above the fray,. and all that - and the apparat around him seem to be trying to establish themselves as a kind of new overclass, rather than absorbing themselves into the aristocracy as people on the make have traditonally sought to do.

What's at issue I think is the monarchy's actual rather than formal role, and this does seem to be increasingly a part of showbiz. Maybe that's it. Monarchy is showbiz fopr dysfunctional people.

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