Whoever Next?

Whoever next?

Commonwealth is in secret talks to decide whether Prince Charles should take over when Queen, 92, dies

Commonwealth not hereditary and unclear who will take over when Queen dies
Set up a ‘high level group’ of top figures to discuss ‘governance considerations’
Queen wants Prince Charles to take over but fears this will not seem democratic…

The Queen, who turns 92 in April, was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth at her coronation when she was head of state in seven of its eight members, and wants Prince Charles to succeed her.

But it is not a hereditary position that will pass automatically to the Prince of Wales, who will be head of state in only 15 of the 53 member nations that now make up the Commonwealth.

I believe that the crown of England is in fact a hereditary position, even if the Head of the Commonwealth is not. So here in Britain we’ll have Charlie as our king, whether we like it or not.

I think that the death of the Queen is going to be a terrific shock for us Brits. There’s going to be real grief. She’s been a constant in our national life for over 65 years. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t Queen.

Charlie’s probably perfectly capable of doing the job, but he’ll never manage to fill her shoes. And he’s a rather divisive figure, because he’s a bit of an environmentalist tree-hugger. And he believes in Global Warming. So he’s likely to be a monarch who intervenes in matters on which he has some sort of personal opinion. The Queen usually keeps her own counsel. She doesn’t say what she really thinks, although it’s possible to guess.

Her death will also raise the question of whether we should have a monarch at all. Isn’t it a bit of an outdated institution? Isn’t it all a bit silly?

For myself I’m a royalist, because I think that, if nothing else, a monarch is able to in some sense personify a nation or state, and provide a centre to it. And if the centre is lost, it bodes ill for the nation.

Is it particularly surprising that the period of time between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the death of his usurper, Oliver Cromwell, in 1658 is not remembered as a happy time in the nation’s history? And did not the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, not long after the French revolution of 1789, inaugurate a Reign of Terror in France? And did not the murder of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1918, not long after the Russian revolution, inaugurate an equivalent Terror in Russia?

At the end of WW2, the Japanese insisted on keeping their emperor, as a condition for their surrender. Was that rather silly of them? Perhaps not. Hirohito was the 124th emperor of Japan. There have only been about 66 British monarchs, by comparison.

In the USA, the role of head of state is held by the President of the United States. And in Donald Trump they currently have a rather divisive President, whom half the country loves, and the other half hates. And in many ways this can’t be helped, because as elected officials they are people who have been accepted by one set of voters, and rejected by the rest. And so US presidents are always likely to be divisive figures in their own country. It may be one reason why quite a few of them have been assassinated.

But in Britain, where the role of head of state is fulfilled by the Queen, the Prime Minister doesn’t have to perform that task. So life is rather easier for British prime ministers. They can get on with the job of running the country. And they’re also less likely to be assassinated.

The founding fathers of the US constitution did not see fit to replace George III with their own American king, after they had successfully defeated his forces. And that was perhaps in part because they’d just been fighting against the English crown, and had no wish to replace one despot with another. The American colonists had been subjected to any number of high-handed interventions by a British government in which they had no representatives, and they perhaps wanted above all to have a representative government, because they had none. They seem to have therefore seen George III as not just a king, but also a tyrant, and had no wish to replace him with any other sovereign.

But the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has not been one of tyranny or despotism. Hers has been one of the kindest and gentlest of reigns. There is no need for kings to be despots, even if some of them are.

And it can’t be too long now before she’s gone. Personally I hope she lasts another 100 years. But that’s just wishful thinking, of course. All too soon I think us Brits are going to find out what happens when the centre of national life is lost.

In other news:

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a tool that purports to detect and block jihadist content online, and tech companies may end up being legally required to use it.

London-based firm ASI Data Science was handed £600,000 by government to develop the unnamed algorithm, which uses machine learning to analyse Daesh propaganda videos.
According to the Home Office, tests have shown the tool automatically detects 94 per cent of Daesh propaganda with 99.995 per cent accuracy.

The department claimed the algorithm has an “extremely high degree of accuracy”, with only 50 out of a million randomly selected videos requiring additional human review.

How long before they detect and block climate sceptic content, or pro-smoking content?

 

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About Frank Davis

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9 Responses to Whoever Next?

  1. nisakiman says:

    I also see the monarchy as a positive aspect of the UK. However, when Elizabeth dies and Charles takes the throne, I believe that will mark the beginning of the end for the Royal Family, for much the same reasons as you’ve outlined above. Charles is a divisive character, and holds a lot of opinions that don’t resonate with the general public. If Elizabeth wants the monarchy to continue in its current form, she would do well to skip Charles entirely, and abdicate in William’s favour. William is a popular figure, and a lot more aware than his father, so would be embraced by the British public. Plus his wife is well thought of, unlike Charles’ other half, Camilla, who is roundly despised by many.

    Re the censorship algorithm, it will be a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ it is applied to other ideologies / choices the government wishes to suppress. However, algorithms notwithstanding, the ingenuity of man is boundless, and it won’t take long before some clever IT bod finds a way to circumvent the attempt at censorship.

    • Frank Davis says:

      skip Charles entirely, and abdicate in William’s favour

      I’ve heard that suggestion several times. But can she actually do that?

      • nisakiman says:

        A good point, and one I had to Google.

        It is a well established fact that Parliament controls the succession to the crown and that Parliament can legislate for anything under a doctrine known as Parliamentary supremacy. It is, therefore, not The Queen who determines who succeeds her but Parliament.

        http://royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/insight/can-prince-charles-be-skipped-in-the-line-of-succession-22445

        Quite an interesting article, actually. Surprisingly, it claims that there is currently more support for Charles to succeed than William, which I wouldn’t have expected.

        • Jay says:

          Ah, well, certainly among Daily Wail readers, Wills has developed a reputation for laziness and wanting to live a private -ish life whilst spending from the public purse, so his popularity has waned except among the Di fans who appear to continue to loath Camilla whilst continuing to adore Wills as “Diana’s boy” (despite him being a father in his thirties!)
          I’ll read the article you linked to, nisakiman – I thought that it was written in stone that Charles would take the crown.
          More serious damage to the continuation of the monarchy seems to lie in Meghan Markle with a large contingent considering her not to be fit to join the RF and questioning why the taxpayer should pay for a third-rate actress to enjoy a life of privilege!
          As someone (might have been the Queen Mum) said, it doesn’t do to let too much light in on the magic…..
          I think that Charles will make an adequate king if he’s given the chance but he can never live up to the Queen who, I think, is a shrewd woman with a matchless sense of duty. I think I’ll actually shed a tear and feel a sense of loss when she goes.

  2. Peter Carter says:

    Might I recommend the BBC’s version of King Charles III if you can find it anywhere?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04z0n7s
    This really was a terrific drama and deals with exactly the things you are talking about.

  3. smokingscot says:

    Certain amount of ambiguity about the Emperor of Japan.

    The bottom line is General McArthur showed a level of understanding that’s all too rare these days. He chose to override his superiors, refused to hold the man acountable for he actions of the Japanese military and allowed him to remain as Emperor.

    https://www.quora.com/Why-did-the-Allies-let-the-Japanese-emperor-Michinomiya-Hirohito-escape-with-his-crimes-against-humanity-during-World-War-II-and-let-him-live-for-the-rest-of-his-life-Wasnt-he-suppose-to-be-executed-just-like-the-other-commanders

    That sort of pragmatism would have helped so very much following the invasion of Iraq, where the powers that b decided to put every man jack on trial and pretty well sacked everyone in the military and civil service.

    And a history of doing the right thing would, IMO, have been far more palatable to those in power in Libya and Syria.

  4. Fredrik Eich says:

    “According to the Home Office, tests have shown the tool automatically detects 94 per cent of Daesh propaganda with 99.995 per cent accuracy.”
    This does not make sense to me. Don’t they mean the tool detects 94% of Daesh propaganda? Wouldn’t the false positives and false negatives be in the remaining 6%?

  5. Clicky says:

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