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  • Why do we need a Head of State?
  • Cougar
    Full Member

    the Head of state should be doing that job properly. A properly functioning head of state should be backing up the speaker of the HoC to make them answer questions properly, get rid of those who break the rules [etc]

    It’s an interesting point.

    There’s complaints on this thread and elsewhere about the royals “interfering” and “meddling” in politics. But isn’t that exactly what they’re supposed to be doing? Isn’t that the point of a head of state? Do we complain that the House of Lords meddles with the House of Commons?

    This is increasingly feeling a bit like Daily Mail cherry-picking, we object when they interfere with things we like and also object when they don’t interfere with things we don’t like.

    poly
    Free Member

    IHN – I think it is a really interesting question.  I thought there were more countries who’s HoS and HoG was one and the same person, but I googled: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_heads_of_state_and_government and it looks like almost all of them are not countries that could really describe themselves as strong democracies.  So I suspect that giving too much power to one person works out bad, or has the risk of working out badly.  The secondary question then is, if the HoS actually does something useful as balance why do we insist that our monarchy are neutral and it was unthinkable that HRH might refuse to prorogue parliament etc; and under what circumstance would HRH actually intervene to stop the PM acting like a dictator?

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    But isn’t that exactly what they’re supposed to be doing? Isn’t that the point of a head of state? Do we complain that the House of Lords meddles with the House of Commons?

    1) No, not in the present system, because they’re unelected.

    2) No.

    3) Sometimes, and the HoL’s ability to block legislation from the HoC is limited by convention and statute, because they’re unelected.

    if the HoS actually does something useful as balance why do we insist that our monarchy are neutral

    The HoS in our current system is not supposed to balance anything. The monarchy is required to be neutral because it is unelected.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    This is increasingly feeling a bit like Daily Mail cherry-picking,

    Odd you mention that given your previous comment about who you are in bed with and their liking for the monarchy.

    we object when they interfere with things we like and also object when they don’t interfere with things we don’t like.

    If you put it like this its so simple. However like most simple things its wrong.
    The obvious flaw is that we might disagree with them interfering at all even if, in some cases, we would agree with their actions.
    That people point out the failure to deal with Johnson doesnt mean they actually would have been happy if they had interfered them but just that it undermines one of the claims about them keeping politicians in check. They didnt, we had to rely on the courts.
    I would prefer for them not to interfere at all regardless of whether it is something I agreed with.

    The house of lords has its own set of problems.

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    Exactly right. It would have to be a radically bad existential situation for me to be in favour of the monarchy intervening in government in a practical sense.

    They didnt, we had to rely on the courts.

    …which is exactly what is supposed to happen!

    edhornby
    Full Member

    In a properly functioning model, the president should be making sure that parliament is operating, the replacement for the HoL should be approving or throwing out legislation as it goes through.

    Example being the law to limit protest, the HoL should be able to block stuff like that – any argument between HOC and HOL is the job of the president to adjudicate on.

    Too much is expected of the speaker of HOL at the moment because the structure and the rules are badly defined, and all those standards committees would be more powerful for having a President because that is the day-to-day mechanism for their role

    {EDIT} I see what you mean Cougar – to me the ‘royal interference’ argument is the fact that Brenda, and now Charlie, got advance view of all the laws and are able to write their own personal exemption like land laws, IHT etc. A president wouldn’t be able to do that.

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    In a properly functioning model, the president should be making sure that parliament is operating…

    You’re saying this like there’s only one way of arranging a country. It depends what you want from a president: do you want one that has an active role in government or do you want one that’s ceremonial?

    edhornby
    Full Member

    Good point – If the system worked then the president should be basically ceremonial other than a breakglass option for exceptional circumstances. I agree that there’s different models like RoI vs France vs US, my view is that UK should design a system that works for us – and to a wider point; get rid of FPTP, a better regional model, chuck out the HOL and start again are all more important than the royal vs president argument (although we should be getting rid of the royals too)

    moimoifan
    Free Member

    Presumably the real answer is twofold.

    1. We can’t be arsed to do anything meaningful about it.

    2. Any move to do anything about it stokes the gammons up to the point of forming an armed wing.

    🤦‍♂️

    alric
    Free Member

    Why do we need a head of state?
    Is it because, if we divide the world up into us and them, then we need to be on top, but, if we are all equal, then we cant divide the world into us and them. Therefore a head of state is required. So you can have a pecking order.
    If there were no poor people, who would keep the rich rich?

    Why do we need a state?

    copa
    Free Member

    It’s a meaningless symbolic role.
    And if you’re going to have one, an air fryer, or a lettuce would make a better head of state than what we have. Anything would be preferable to a hereditary aristocrat who acts as a symbol of social inequality that we’re taught to celebrate and worship.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    I don’t recall Queen Worship being on the curriculum when I was at school. Must’ve been brought in after I left.

    Odd you mention that given your previous comment about who you are in bed with and their liking for the monarchy.

    I don’t particularly “like” the monarchy, if that’s what you’re implying. I just don’t carry the frothing hatred that some here seem to. I am broadly ambivalent, they stir about the same degree of emotion in me as Elton John does.

    to me the ‘royal interference’ argument is the fact that Brenda, and now Charlie, got advance view of all the laws and are able to write their own personal exemption

    Sure. But if the argument is that they only interfere when it’s in their own interests, you’ve pretty much just described parliament.

    anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    It’s a meaningless symbolic role.
    And if you’re going to have one, an air fryer, or a lettuce would make a better head of state than what we have. Anything would be preferable to a hereditary aristocrat who acts as a symbol of social inequality that we’re taught to celebrate and worship.

    Got to say I do pretty much agree with this.

    Sure. But if the argument is that they only interfere when it’s in their own interests, you’ve pretty much just described parliament.

    Argh the classic “yeah but something else is bad too” defence…like it, good foruming

    thols2
    Full Member

    Anything would be preferable to a hereditary aristocrat who acts as a symbol of social inequality that we’re taught to celebrate and worship.

    North Korea is worse. Russia is worse. China is worse. In fact, most countries in the world are worse. A few are better, but the U.K. does actually have one of the better systems of government.

    greyspoke
    Free Member

    It’s a meaningless symbolic role.

    Symbolism is important and has meaning. “Representing” the UK at home and broad influences people, and the fact that the person doing the representing isn’t tarred with a political history can be important to that. OK it is soft power, but it is power.

    ernielynch
    Full Member

    Anything would be preferable to a hereditary aristocrat who acts as a symbol of social inequality that we’re taught to celebrate and worship.

    North Korea is worse.

    Isn’t the first quote Kim Jong Un in a nutshell?

    seadog101
    Full Member

    politecameraaction
    Free Member
    USA
    President – directed elected by populace

    That’s not correct. In 2000 and 2016, the less popular candidate was elected, and it was a fairly rubbish outcome: Bush and Trump.

    Ah yes, my mistake and technically correct. Due to the bonkers electoral college vote, their system allows for certain votes to be worth more than others. But I think my point stands, there’s actually very few people in our parliamentary system who are elected.
    China is the only country in the world that has more unelected parliamentary members than Britain.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    Argh the classic “yeah but something else is bad too” defence…like it, good foruming

    Spectacularly missing the point is even better foruming.

    thols2
    Full Member

    Isn’t the first quote Kim Jong Un in a nutshell?

    He’s not a hereditary aristocrat, he’s a great person, born of heaven, the father and savior of the nation.

    ernielynch
    Full Member

    I reckon it is quite reasonable to describe the Kim Dynasty and Mount Paektu bloodline as a hereditary aristocracy.

    thols2
    Full Member

    I reckon it is quite reasonable to describe the Kim Dynasty and Mount Paektu bloodline as a hereditary aristocracy.

    This is cultural imperialism, projecting the values of your culture onto others. North Koreans say that he’s descended from heaven. Surely they would know.

    anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    Spectacularly missing the point is even better foruming.

    And then blame everyone else for not understanding you…….it’s like foruming top trumps, well done sir.

    Who was that guy who kept telling us that the adults were going to sort out Brexit, he was the best at telling anyone who thought he was talking bollocks that they just didn’t understand him.

    easily
    Free Member

    So can we have a simple answer, maybe in bullet points? Why do we need a head of state? What would happen if we didn’t have one?

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    Why do we need a head of state

    They’re totally useless OR they stop Boris Johnson becoming Hitler

    What would happen if we didn’t have one?

    The Pope doesn’t get met at the airport OR the downfall of civilisation

    We haven’t reached consensus yet, but it’s definitely one of the two options

    Cougar
    Full Member

    And then blame everyone else for not understanding you…….it’s like foruming top trumps, well done sir.

    Well, it’s hard to argue with that.

    Did you have something you actually wanted to say about the thread subject or are you just having a pop at me because the sun’s out?

    easily
    Free Member

    Maybe we could start off every thread by messaging one or two posters to tell them they’ve won the argument and we are all in awe of them, then the rest of the board could get on with actually discussing the subject.

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