Wednesday, May 26, 2010

British Woes

In the traditional display of pomp and ceremony that monarchists like me thrive on, HM Queen Elizabeth II opened Parliament with her (government-issued) speech from the throne. It all looked as magnificent as usual but this was a speech for hard times, dominated by plans for cost-cutting, budget clean-ups and getting rid of waste. In other words, it was the message of a government that knows it is out of money but cannot bring itself to actually get rid of the vast social welfare-state that is at the heart of all the financial woes. It would be political suicide to say so openly, but it seems to me an unavoidable truth that when you have a government-run healthcare system that employs more people than any other organization on earth save the Indian national railway system and the People's Liberation Army no amount of fat you might trim from here or there will be sufficient to save the British economy.

It also does not help having the Duchess of York in a money-grabbing scandal days before such a speech when everyone in the UK is being forced to cut back. On that score, let me say that I have never been a fan of the Duchess of York, I have never really liked the woman, I didn't like her cheating on her husband, I didn't like her fostering the "me against the monarchy" mentality and I didn't like her selling herself for advertisements and I certainly didn't like this latest low behavior which I can only hope will shock her to her senses. That being said, I also don't like entrapment and the targeting of members of a certain family (notice it is always the wives) by these "journalists" who are out to embarass the Royal Family in any way possible (and contrary to many reports the Duchess is *not* a royal or member of the RF but they are the ultimate target). What she did may not be a crime but is was despicable, but it was also pretty low to set up this whole sting operation to entrap someone who is not a royal, not a government official, not on the public payroll etc. There are plenty of legitimate targets out there to go after.

Getting back to the throne speech though, one bit of at least somewhat good news was the promise by the government (via the Queen) that the British public will at least be consulted before any more of their sovereignty is shipped overseas to the EU. As regular readers will know I am certainly no fan of unfettered democracy nor rule by referendum, however, when it comes to putting any brakes at all on the power-grabbing bureaucrats at the EU, I will take whatever I can get and call it at least a step in the right direction. Now, if only they would get out of the EU altogether, look to their sovereign for their sovereignty (what a novel thought), restore the House of Lords and end this "senate" nonsense and slash the welfare state to death we would really be moving things in the right direction. At least from where I am sitting.


  1. I may agree with many things you write on this blog, but as a British citizen I have to disagree with your opinion on our health service. Sure it is not perfect, and is in desperate need of a bit of a revamp, but the idea of a free, public health service is brilliant. I can say with complete certainty that it has saved the lives of various loved ones who would not have otherwise been able to afford the care provided nor would they be able to attain health insurance.

    As for the House of Lords I have (again as a voter in Britain) been agitating against the creation of a Senate. A copy of the letter which is making its way to various MPs and Peers can be found at . I would value your opinion on the presentation and contents of the letter.

  2. "but the idea of a free, public health service is brilliant" -yes it would be, if that were the case, but the fly in the ointment is the fact that there is no such thing as "free" when it comes to government. All the money the government has they have to take from someone else. I absolutely object to the idea that one person is entitled to any amount of wealth from another person simply by virtue of the penury. I'm sure it has saved lives but there are others who have lost their lives waiting for needed proceedures, waiting in ER's, waiting for ambulances etc. But that is not my final standard of judgement. Lives might be saved if the government had to provide everyone with a house, with food, with clothes, with a car etc, etc. It might save lives in some cases but as with all such programs it just makes everyone more dependent on the government and adds to an economic imbalance that cannot be sustained. The fact that people are dependent on such systems can be easily seen by the outcry whenever anyone talks of taking away these programs which most countries got along fine without since time immemorial.

    As for the House of Lords -I agree with your letter 100% (though I would say the only 'reform' needed would be doing away with the watering-down that's already been done). It is difficult to impossible for any politician to be an expert in anything save the art of being reelected. IMHO this also relates to the issue above insofar as one reason why it was once considered a good thing to have people in government not subject to the whims of popular opinion was because they could not be influenced to do something that might be popular but which would be harmful to the country. Today, that idea has been pretty universally thrown out the window.

  3. The idea of an Elected Senate is mainly all about advancign ghe ever-popular theory of Democracy, which seems ot be a Political Fad. Besides, it gives Politicians mroe Power, so who cares abotu soem idiot like Martin Rees. (YEs this is Sarcasm.)

    But I agree that the hole mess cant be csolved by currenthtinking, but they shant relinquish current hinkign any time soon.

  4. only in the united states, is government run services tied to political positions.

    for hundreds of years, numerous royal governments have monopolized various industries. Roman emperors provided "Bread and circus" for the people.

    i don't see how government run service should be in opposition to monarchy. Only in the united states, such petty disputes get caught up with "left" or "right" wing views.

  5. Wrong -it is only in the US in such cases as have not already been introduced. Any party in the US run on a platform of cutting medicare? No, that is used only as an attack method just as in the UK the Labour party attacks the Tories by accusing them of wanting to cut the NHS -neither party has the courage to actually do a thing. As for the Romans, their bread was not free and most monopolies granted by monarchs were granted to private companies -not the state. However, regardless of that, just because a monarchy did something does not automatically mean every monarchist will consider it a good idea nor have all their policies always worked out well for the monarchy itself. The Czar of Russia allowed labor unions -that didn't work out very well for him certainly.

    These things do have an impact on monarchy in general though because they promote the effort (though always futile and never successful) to make everyone equal and promote the idea that one group of people is entitled to the property of another based on no right but simply on "fairness". It is not a great leap to go from thinking it unfair that some have more wealth than others or enjoy more benefits than others to thinking that simply having a monarchy in which some are born to a higher status than others is also "unfair".

    However, I am willing to be proven wrong. Show me a monarchy in the world today that has gone down the socialist, welfare-state road in which the monarchy has been strengthened as a result, grown more traditional and more central to national life. I've seen royal powers reduced, royal roles removed entirely, succession laws changed, royals marrying commoners, being educated like commoners, monarchs having to pay taxes (technically to themselves) and the connection between religion and monarchy reduced or eliminated. Show me where the reverse of this has happened.

  6. If I may present Australia as the example you so desire. We have a curious balance of private and puclic health, education and welfare; our governments are in surplus, and the republicans have a very, very hard road ahead of them if they want their republic here (I'll post more on that on your post regarding the Succession and the Senate/Lords "reform").

    Also, with regards to monarchs paying taxes (you're right to say they pay it to themselves), it's a matter of appearance, and in this modern, media-driven world, that's what matters - appearance. People don't go out of their way to research these things. There is an economy of truth in the modern MSM, and therefore, it is very easy for them, with their historical dominance of news presentation. As the internet erodes that dominance, public opinion becomes harder to shape, but we're not quite there yet.

    Still, the British have committed the same mistake as virtually every other nation - they've gone so hard at redistribution that they can't maintain it. Ultimately, you go too far down the road of wealth distribution and you will find only bankruptcy. It seems that people are forgetting that things are generally best had in moderation (and yes, that includes democracy).

  7. Contrary to popular opinion, the USA, as well, has long had a private/public combination. The odd part is that the public systems are going bankrupt while the left argues for expanding it to include everyone. Other factors play into this, in Europe especially, not all of which can be reduced to figures (immigration, the decline in authentic pride -national and personal etc). However, just because things are not 'as bad' in the mixed system does not give me much comfort. Government programs are near impossible to get rid of -no one wants to be the bad guy who takes away the "free" stuff. So, you always have one side wanting more and another that doesn't but no one EVER wants to cut back.

  8. Democracy in action. I wonder when we'll get to say "Told you so".

  9. Law, you need to get ot work. I need to shop for my food, clothing, and a new supply of Cocaine.


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