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right pointer The American pledge of allegiance
right pointer A pledge fit for a kingdom

 

The Constitution

Let's Pretend

"I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God."
The oath required of British legislators in a country where an unwritten constitution puts the people in second place.

The United Kingdom has an "unwritten" constitution. That's a constitution that has never been approved by the people and that cannot easily be examined. It's a pretend constitution, good enough for a people who tolerate queens and lords.

This pretend constitution allows the Windsor family to appoint our head of state and for other families to own seats in the legislature. Those families are not alone. The Church of England also has its own seats in Parliament. But the constitution bars republicans from sitting in that legislature, as well as from holding many other civil and military offices.

Freedom of speech is not guaranteed and is sometimes denied. It is against the law to watch TV without state permission and the BBC monitors every household for violations. Police have openly declared support for monarchy and have arrested citizens who have tried to protest against it. The main political parties are allowed to advertise on TV and the BBC also uses television to promote its beliefs. But citizens are not allowed to buy TV time for political advertisements. The Racial and Religious Hatred Act limits the right to free speech on religion.

Image of Union flag

A royal anthem that divides the nation

In the Queen's kingdom citizens may be severely rebuked for refusing to sing "God save the Queen", the so called national anthem. But that anthem is really a partisan one, a royal anthem, that excludes democrats who do not support the feudal institution.
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Freedom of information logo

The Rights of the People v The Privileges of the Prince

The kingdom has a freedom of information law. It also has, of course, a monarchy. The foi law is a product of democracy. The monarchy is a survival of feudalism. What happens when the collide?
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Photo of President Obama

USA - Yes We Can
UK - No You Can't

In Ireland the President visited the humble home of a relative in a small Irish town. In Britain he spent the night in the home of one of the richest people in the world. She is paid £12m a year as ceremonial and hereditary head of state. Obama is paid just $400,000 for one of the most onerous jobs there is.

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Photo of police officer

Taking Liberties

When the British police stop and search citizens at random or because of a gut feeling of wrong-doing they are usually faulted, not for doing so without a reasonable suspicion of law-breaking, but because a disproportionate number of non-white citizens may be the victims.
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Image of Magna Carta

A Real Constitution

A democratic constitution that establishes the sovereignty of the people requires debate and agreement by the people. Here is our contribution to that process, a draft written constitution.
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Section of Bring Home the Revolution book cover

Bring Home the Revolution

"Thus, it is no accident that American products and modes have made the least profound impact on the country in which upper-and lower-class manners have survived most markedly, the United Kingdom."
Larry Siedentop, Democracy In Europe
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Image of serfs in old England

The Church of England
A Feudal Master

If you are a house owner in England you may find the Church of England demanding that you make a financial contribution to the maintenance of its churches. For the state church is not ashamed to use feudal rights to pick the pockets of the people.

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Nameplate outside Local Government Association offices in London

Local Government
Central Power

New York City keeps 50 per cent of the tax revenue it generates. London keeps 7 per cent of its taxes. In the UK there is local government but the power is central.
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