Archive for January, 2023

And What Do You Do? Written by Norman Baker, a review

And What Do You Do? by Norman Baker

I have been for as long as I can remember unconvinced about the value of the British monarchy, for me the institution had about it a great negativity. Why is the best choice for part of our government; the head of state, an accident of birth?

My view of the monarchy was and still is that it is a thoroughly rotten institution, I had however reserved judgement on the individuals that comprise the sprawling costly entity that is the royal family. They seemed to be more like a group of soap opera celebrities and as time has gone on with their seemingly petty squabbles, (the ones I am aware of that is,) making headline news, more so. As I paid little heed to the individuals concerned most of the mindless tittle tattle has passed me by.

 Norman Baker forensically destroys not only the institution itself but the reputations of much of the large and sprawling monarchy. He highlights tax dodging, a scandalous waste of taxpayer funds, dishonesty and hypocrisy. The idea that a part of our government can hide its activities behind a wall of secrecy, denied to other branches of the government is in itself a scandal. The Royal Family’s connections with Hitler and the far right during the thirties is something we ought to know more about, a full disclosure would be useful.

The only Royal to come out unscathed from Normal Lamb’s book is Princess Anne, although the late Queen’s reputation hasn’t suffered too badly.

However, probably one of the most unsettling things in terms of our governance, highlighted by Baker, is the Royal Consent. We are led to believe that our constitutional monarch has no influence over what legislation is debated and the royal assent, a rubber stamping exercise is proof of that. What I was not aware of together with probably most of the British public, is that before any legislation is able to be debated, it first has to receive Royal Consent. This isn’t a rubber stamping exercise; the monarch has to approve any legislation to be debated.

Consent is and has been withheld, if things included in the proposed legislation are thought to be at odds with the interests of the monarchy. There are times when legislation has been sent back to be changed before it receives royal consent if at all.

This book is well researched and referenced. It is one I recommend everyone to read whether Republican or Monarchist.

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