The alternative remains Pandora’s Box opening and all manner of ills flowing out for the Monarchy!
The passage of Queen Elizabeth II at 96 years, after reigning like forever but for 70 years, was like a bolt from the blue for the English Monarchy.
She granted an audience separately to outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and successor Liz Truss, on Tues 6 Sept 2022. She cancelled an online event on Wed because of a “slight cold”. The Queen breathed her last on Thurs 8 Sept 2022 at 4.30pm after doctors expressed concerns since Wed over her health. It was only announced at 6.30pm. Her death, we are told, was peaceful.
The Queen was already looking very frail before she met Johnson and Truss and probably for even a month before that. There were personal testimonies on British TV. Incredibly, those who come down with prolonged critical illness — read nothing specific but no cure — are usually confined to bed for a month to six weeks, may become bed-ridden, fall in and out of consciousness, enter into coma, or even become comatose.
The fact that the Queen went so quickly after Wed suggests that she may not have been eating well for quite some time, perhaps even from the time that Prince Phillip, 99, passed away in April last year. That accounts for her looking quite frail in the picture with Liz Truss on Tues. Elderly people tend to lack nutrients when they lose the appetite, the teeth and/or spouse and succumb to anemia. The electricity flow through the body becomes disrupted.
For starters, there are not that many people who know that the Queen was instrumental in forging the Special Relationship between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America shortly after the loss of India, the crown jewel of the British Empire. She has also been credited with breathing new life into the Commonwealth of Nations which was initiated in 1931 and formally constituted in 1949.
The Special Relationship began with the US Treasury taking over the responsibility for Pakistan from the British Treasury which had been depleted by World War II. Pakistan, created in 1947 on land the British stole from India, was a failed state from the beginning, and with good reasons. The creation of Pakistan saw all the institutions of state and nation building in the new India. Pakistan had only its share of the old colonial British Indian Army gathered from earlier versions of the Indian Army under various Emperors, local and foreign. Pakistan, to this day, is directly or indirectly ruled by the Army. It was the Army in cahoots with the court and the US that threw out Imran Khan through Parliament. Khan was blamed for cosying up to China and emulating India on the civil war in eastern Ukraine.
The Special Relationship degenerated into war-mongering dominated by the US Military Industrial Complex. Indeed, as the civil war in eastern Ukraine has shown, America has come under Military Administration run indirectly by the US Military Industrial Complex in cahoots with the media, an unthinking animal which can be manipulated.
Trump saw no reason for the Special Relationship and ended it before 2020 after cutting off US Treasury Funds for Pakistan. The Pakistanis turned to China for help in balancing the national Budget. Therein the matter lies.
Biden and Johnson tried to resurrect the Special Relationship but Trump’s rhetoric dominates the Debate. Trump said on Mon 19 Sept 2022, in conjunction with the Queen’s burial and Putin’s threatened use of tactical nuclear weapons for ending the civil war in eastern Ukraine, that Washington should be looking at the 3rd World for Allies. He reiterated that NATO should focus on internal security in Europe without meddling in the former Soviet Socialist Republics — read USSR — which re-emerged in 1991 as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) led by Russia.
Trump recognised the global security framework as one led by America, and including India, China, Russia and Japan in that order of importance, while keeping out the US-led NATO. He recognised that India — protected by geography, weather and control of its own waters — was the only nation on Earth which can keep China in its place.
He also engineered the US-led Quad Partnership in the Indo-Pacific Theatre with India, Japan and Australia.
India isn’t happy with the Quad covering the Indian Ocean but does not want to be seen as breaking ranks with America. However, India does not want to be seen as being party to illegalities like pitting one country against another.
Since India’s economy is 80 per cent internal, it probably does not need the rest of the world or the global security framework. The rest of the world needs India since they can plug into the economy.
Now that the long-reigning Queen has moved on, and British Prime Ministers and US Presidents move on every few years, the Special Relationship may be at risk. It’s not known whether King Charles III will have the same vision as his mother and can display the same level of extraordinary leadership which will inspire the Commonwealth. It’s also not known whether the British Royal Family has invested in the US Military Industrial Complex.
No account of the death of Queen Elizabeth II will be complete without first examining executive authority in the unwritten/uncodified British Constitution. So, here goes!
There are not that many questions that arise in law exams from the unwritten/uncodified British Constitution. One perennial favourite for law students in England: “Can the Queen (in future the King) dismiss the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and wield executive authority herself?
The popular and “winning” answer: Yes!
However, there can only be a big BUT in the answer.
If the Queen wields executive authority herself, the British people would no doubt rise up and demand that she abdicate. Alternatively, they may bundle her off into exile, never to return except perhaps in a coffin. If she sneaks back into the country, the other possibilities that remain may be institutionalisation for life to keep the public from harm or even beheading in public, if push comes to shove. It has happened before in English history. King Charles I was beheaded in 1649.
Read the follow extract from wikipedia: King Charles I was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649. The monarchy was abolished and the Commonwealth of England was established as a republic. The monarchy was restored to Charles’s son Charles II in 1660. The rest of the text can be seen here.
It would probably be even more difficult to justify an answer in the negative on executive authority although there are no right and no wrong answers in law exams. The examiner first looks for mastery of the English language and ability to write like a journalist while thinking like a lawyer, next looks for evidence of wide reading, followed by the ability to cite at least even partial aspects of statute and/or case law.
The English Monarchy was brought to heel by the Magna Carta Libertatum (Medieval Latin for ‘Great Charter of Freedoms’), commonly called Magna Carta (also Magna Charta; ‘Great Charter’). The royal charter of rights with King John of England was signed at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215 where the Nobles restrained him. The Magna Carta, like the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA’63), exists.
Law schools have noted that Queen Elizabeth II once said, “when our time comes, we will go quietly”.
This may not happen unless the Monarchy becomes unpopular. If a particular Monarch becomes unpopular, it’s more likely the King or Queen will be persuaded to abdicate and replaced by another Monarch. In Malaysia for example, the Agong and Sultan of Kelantan had to step down not long after GE14 on Wed 9 May 2020. His personal affairs had become controversial. Anyway, let’s not go there. It’s an open secret.
Again, this refers to the Monarch giving up executive authority, which may then rest in a new head of state either elected by the people or appointed by Parliament. In India for example, the President as head of state is appointed by Parliament. In the US, the President as both head of state and head of government, is picked by the electoral college based on popular votes. The people’s votes make up the electoral college. In short, the US President isn’t directly elected by the people.
Constitutional Monarchy & Parliamentary Democracy
Executive authority, under the unwritten/uncodified British Constitution, resides in the nation-state and rests in the English Monarch as head of state. The Monarch, under the Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy, delegates executive authority by Administration to a Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. Interestingly, the Monarch does this by Convention — the working of the Constitution — as there’s no mention of a Prime Minister and Council of Ministers in the Constitution.
Hence, the perennial question in law exams on whether the Queen (in future the King) can dismiss the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and wield executive authority herself.
In Malaysia, to digress a little, the written/codified Federal Constitution mentions Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers but no Deputy Prime Minister. The DPM is appointed by Convention and need not be a Member of the lower house of Parliament or the Senate, the upper house. Article 39 mentions executive authority.
William The Conqueror
The English Monarch has played an important role in world history ever since William the Conqueror from Normandy in France took the English crown in 1066 after the Battle of Hastings. It was a fight for the family property among cousins in England and Europe. The history books tells us that the English aristocracy fled to Turkey and later tried to seek their fortune in the Biblical Holy Land.
The Norman French aristocracy replaced the English aristocracy. The Common Law of Normandy entered the Common Law of England. Thirty per cent of the English language consists of loanwords from French. Latin loanwords form 50 per cent of English. Greek loanwords make up 10 per cent. The original Germanic dialects, i.e. Angles and Saxon, was reduced to 10 per cent but also including words from other languages and dialects.
The intelligence services and the development of the justice system began in the King’s Palace. The King sent out men throughout the Kingdom to dispense “the King’s justice” based on English Common Law.
Interestingly, England had only 10m people when it set out in the 1600s to build an Empire which covered a quarter of the globe and Britannia ruled the waves. Between William the Conqueror and the 1600s, England brought Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland under its control.
Indian students, for example, came to England, learnt about the rule of law, consent of the governed, legitimacy, and sovereignty. They went home and demanded that the British leave India. The British told Spiritual Leader Mahatma Gandhi in the 1930s that the latter cannot expect the colonialists to simply walk out of India when it belonged to “his Majesty”. Gandhi pointed out that there was “no way that 100K Englishmen can keep down 350m Indian on the march”. – NMH
About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He is not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.
The points expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the NMH.