The Crown Imperial

by Elias Blum

A guest post by Andy Myles:

I find myself contrasting, once again, the Tory constitutional arguments on Europe and on the UK itself. In relationship to the EU they want a Union – but not one that grows “ever closer”. They think the integration has gone too far, and are setting up the phrase “ever closer union” as the bogeyman to be knocked over in their negotiations.

On the other hand, in the UK their half-baked rhetoric says they want a “family of nations” who are “equal partners” in the Union – but they fight to retain current levels of integration at every opportunity – and on the issue of EU membership, the choice of the four nations must be joint and not several.

All this reminds me of Thatcher’s Bruges speech, which contained elements of the same Orwellian double-think. In either case though, the ideal Tory position appears to be that the Crown in Parliament at Westminster is the apogee of constitutional perfection and should not be undermined in any way. In doing so, I fear that they are still the servants of the pernicious doctrine of the Crown Imperial, used by Thomas Cromwell to justify Henry VIII’s divorce – and fine-tuned by the English and British states ever since.

When will they realise that it is an absurdity to base any democratic constitutional argument on the foundation of the of an hereditary monarchy, unless it is one that is prepared to accept that sovereignty lies with the people and not the “Sovereign”, however nice she seems. We really do seem to live in Ruritania!