|According to the front-page of Friday’s Daily Mail, “one is not amused!” And you can see what they mean – there’s not much in the news at the moment to inspire pride in the country. Being Britain’s monarch probably isn’t what it used to be.
The question that occurred to me is, if the Queen really were that unhappy with the state of British politics, could she dissolve parliament and call a general election without having to await the advice of the Prime Minister? There’s no doubt that such a move would defy convention, but legally I don’t think there’s anything to stop it happening.
It’s probably what I’d do. And I might say something like,
“Naturally, it is up to the political parties to determine which candidates they field and how they are selected, and then it is up to the electorate to decide who will represent them. But I would expect voters to take a very dim view of any candidate guilty of parliamentary corruption, and of any party which selected them.”
In other words, let the purge begin.
Now, I suspect readers might think it odd that a libertarian would write about what an unelected monarch could or should do. I can see their point. But there is actually an interesting libertarian case for monarchy, which Hans-Hermann Hoppe makes in his book Democracy: The God That Failed.
His argument is that democracy, by its very nature, produces bad leaders. To rise to the top in a democracy, you have to be a skilled demagogue. To stay there, you have to value immediate advantage over long-term considerations. A monarch, by contrast, is like a property owner – their incentive is to preserve the long-term value of the country. Of course, Hoppe doesn’t advocate monarchy as an ideal – he is a proponent of a ‘private law society’ – but rather as the lesser of two evils.
It’s certainly an intriguing perspective.