Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another unconstitutional intervention

Earlier this year, the queen unconstitutionally intervened in the Scottish independence referendum debate, telling Scottish voters to "think carefully about future". And now with the UK on the verge of another referendum, this time on EU membership, she's done it again, warning of the dangers of the UK leaving the EU:

The Queen has warned of the dangers of division in Europe at a state banquet in Berlin, urging Britons and Germans not to take the benefits of a peaceful continent for granted.

Her speech, weaving historical events with present crises, was replete with some subtle and other not so subtle hints that she believed Britain belonged in the European Union – her most public stance yet that she wished to avoid Britain voting to leave in a referendum.

“The United Kingdom has always been closely involved in its continent. Even when our main focus was elsewhere in the world, our people played a key part in Europe,” she told an audience of 700 dignitaries.

This is not acceptable. If it was her own view, then she violated the central rule of the Westminster system, that the monarch acts only on advice. If OTOH she was acting on advice (as she apparently was on Scotland) then she has violated the principle of political neutrality by effectively lending her status to the government of the day. And either way, it is unconstitutional. The monarch simply has no constitutional role in political debate - none whatsoever. If she thinks she does, then its time to end the charade.