Saturday, 19 January 2013

Democracy? What democracy?

There has been a deafening silence over the revelation in the inside pages of the Guardian earlier this week. Thanks to a Freedom of Information action we now know just how much influence our constitutional monarchy has behind the scenes. The FOI action was fought by the Cabinet Office for 15 months. Can’t have the plebs finding out that the tip of the toffs still hold the reins. 

It took a similar amount of time to unearth just how often Prince Charles contacts Ministers in ‘off the record’ letters or private briefings. Fair enough some said, he is the heir to the throne and he should keep abreast of events. But why the secrecy? And why should the business interests of the Duchy of Lancaster get special treatment, with the right to veto bills which may adversely effect his commercial interests? Have the poor had similar treatment over benefit cuts? 

“Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers show that overall at least 39 bills have been subject to the most senior royals' little-known power to consent to or block new laws. They also reveal the power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation relating to decisions about the country going to war.

The internal Whitehall pamphlet was only released following a court order and shows ministers and civil servants are obliged to consult the Queen and Prince Charles in greater detail and over more areas of legislation than was previously understood.
The new laws that were required to receive the seal of approval from the Queen or Prince Charles cover issues from higher education and paternity pay to identity cards and child maintenance.

In one instance the Queen completely vetoed the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999, a private member's bill that sought to transfer the power to authorise military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament.” Guardian 15/1/13

Quite staggering and an insight into what really goes on. The interests of the Crown come before the interests of the people.

Several days have passed. Have you heard any reaction or discussion or follow-up? The Westminster Bubble encompasses far more than politicians. Our compliant media who occupy back-scratching space with the political class has been remarkable in its silence.
It wouldn’t do to abandon deference and allow transparency to become the norm would it? The plebs may get ideas above their station.  

Talking of plebs, Christopher Chope, a tory toff MP, let slip what they really think about the great unwashed. He was  speaking about the cost of meals in the House of Commons when he said, "The service was absolutely fantastic, because there was three-to-one service – three servants for each person sitting down."

The posh-boy Etonians will not have welcomed that revelation. Chope can expect  a damn good thrashing any time now.

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