Monday, 9 March 2009

Draft Letter to Her Majesty

Draft Letter follows. Please offer criticism in the comments.

This would need to be one of a series of requests; I doubt that my opinion alone would be enough to persuade her. It would also need to be one of a series of letters to The Times with a view to sparking a debate there. Please let me know whether you'd be willing to write as well, either by comment or by email; if I'm alone on this then it really isn't worth the effort, or the MI5 file....


Your Majesty,

It is after long and careful deliberation that I write to ask that you consider whether it would be appropriate to exercise one of your constitutional powers.

We, as a nation, have a belief in democracy; one that we have seen fit to impose by force on others. I am not a constitutional lawyer, and I do not claim to have anything more than a general knowledge as to how our system works. As I understand, we have a set of rules, steeped in history, which date from a time before this country was democratic. Whilst those rules permit democracy, they do not guarantee it. Democracy has generally been achieved in recent times (despite this) through the use of conventions and accepted practices. A trivial example of this is that we (i.e. the people) do not choose the Prime Minister; you do so at your discretion. By convention, you have consistently chosen the leader of the largest party in the Commons and thereby achieved democracy for us. That achievement is not however a function of the rules per se; it is the result of the way that you (and others) have applied and exercised those rules to the benefit of all of us.

I am concerned that whilst there has been no breach of the rules in the appointment of our current Prime Minister, Mr Brown, the outcome has been undemocratic, contrary to previous precedent.

Mr Brown was not elected to his current position. In fact, he has never faced a serious electoral challenge; he represents a safe Scottish Labour seat in which his election as an MP was never seriously in doubt. He did not stand for election to the leadership of the Labour Party; instead he operated behind the scenes within his party and persuaded others from standing against him. He cannot therefore seriously claim a democratic path to his current position.

Worse, there is no personal mandate that he can claim. Mr Blair won the last election in 2005; Gordon was not formally presented to the electorate as his deputy and therefore inherits no actual "deputy's mandate" from Blair. Of course, it was generally known that Brown was the most likely successor to Blair, but in the face of questions on this subject Mr Blair promised to serve a full term. The implication of that was crystal clear; he would not stand down mid-term in favour of Mr Brown. Mr Blair’s party was elected on that basis and therefore Brown cannot claim an effective "deputy's mandate" from Blair.

In the Autumn of 2007, an opportunity arose for Mr Brown to call a General Election to establish his mandate. However, he declined. The reason for his not doing so are private to him, but the prevailing belief is that he did so because he feared that the electorate would refuse him a mandate.

So, thinking back over his career, Mr Brown has no electoral history that he can call on. He has no democratic support from elected MPs. He has no form of inherited mandate. He has declined to seek his own mandate.

His only claim to his current position is that the rules say he is entitled. He has done nothing (so far as I am aware) that is outside those rules. However, as noted above, those rules do not guarantee democracy; to do so requires the honest application of discretion by the holders of various senior positions. Mr Brown has side-stepped this and, in my opinion, has thereby avoided the application of democratic principles.

The nearest precedent of which I am aware is, of course, John Major. He, however, arrived at the Prime Ministership after a resignation for which he was not responsible. He was elected by other MPs in a contested leadership election. Within a reasonable time, he submitted to a General Election. The 1992 election was (admittedly) held only when it became absolutely necessary, but this was still within a reasonable period after his succession at the end of 1990.

More significantly, the period between the end of 1990 and April 1992 was one in which UK domestic politics was, generally, "business as usual". Mr Major could therefore reasonably claim that the general policy outlook on which his party was elected in 1987 was being continued. Given this, and given the nature of his arrival at No: 10, he could credibly claim an inherited mandate to govern in the way that he did.

We are now facing a wholly different political and economic outlook to that of 2005, and the policies that are being applied are wholly different to those on which Mr Blair was elected. A clear example is that a party which was elected after it explicitly and publicly abandoned its commitment to public ownership has now nationalized a number of banks. Regardless of whether one takes the view this is the right thing to do in the circumstances or not, there is no legitimate authority to do so granted by the people.

Thus, it seems to me

- that Mr Brown has no personal mandate
- that there is no recent precedent for a stand-in PM remaining in post for so long
- that Mr Blair's mandate was for a full parliamentary term, and hence Brown has no democratic mandate
- that we face a situation that is very different to 2005 in which new and very dramatic policies are being put into effect, and therefore there is no mandate for the use of those policies
that the various political parties have different opinions as to how the current economic crisis should be handled, and that the final choice between them should be made by the people

I should clarify that my personal political opinions are opposed to those of Mr Brown. I believe that many of the policies that he is pursuing now (and that he pursued as Chancellor) are wrong. The view expressed in this letter is however entirely independent of that, and would apply even if I agreed with everything he did.

For these reasons, I ask that you dissolve Parliament to allow for a General Election, so that normal democracy can be assured.

Yours sincerely,


  1. I would try and reduce the word-count first - Her Majesty's eyes aren't what they used to be, after all.

    To be honest, the idea of actually writing a letter to The Queen is one that had never occured to me before. I mean, doesn't she have Twitter?

    ...or Email at the very least!

  2. Fewer words? - perhaps

    "Yo Liz - Is, like, well unfair innit?"

    Hmm. Seriously, this is already the result of me operating in concise mode! And I think her eyes might be old, but her comprehension is fine. I also have a few points to develop in order to avoid the obvious rebuttal. Thanks though.

    I'll email The Times if this goes ahead, but if someone is thinking something over then a letter has something that an email does not.

  3. Ooh we could be the 58354 economists who wrote to Thatch in 1983 except we could be right! As I said elsewhere I think this is an excellent addition to what I had been thinking.

  4. The house of Winsor is an active part of the enemy class working for the counter-enlightenment.

    The English Environmental Elite, Global Warming, and The Anglican Church

  5. Oh the irony of writing to a hereditary monarch asking them to stand up against an unelected leader.

  6. Well, yes - quite!

    But if you have any other ideas, I'm all ears...?

  7. The irony of writing to a hereditary monarch asking them to stand up against an unelected leader

    Not really - The Monarch exerts no genuine power over the nation, so she hardly needs to be elected. Gordon Brown holds a position of authority which ought to stem from a democratic mandate. Therefore there's no contradiction.

  8. Oh Queen eh? Very nice. You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart throws a sword at you at some farcical aquatic ceremony. Get real.

  9. Ah! I love that scene. Classic.

    Until we are an anarcho-syndicalist commune, however, there are only two people who can bring about the election I want to see. Gordon is unlikely to vote for an early Christmas, so I'm asking HM to truss him and stuff him instead.

    Pointless it may be, but it keeps me off the streets :-P

  10. In light of Jeff Randall's comments, perhaps a new letter should be drafted. What we want is not so much a General Election, as a fraud trial.