Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tory TV ad and the Queen's power

Joe Schottland who teaches at one of California's Acalanes Union High School District schools, pointed me to the New York Times Lede blog from Tuesday.

There is a link to a fine example of political advertising from the UK's Conservative Party warning of the dangers of a "hung parliament." If we weren't sure already, the final image reminds us what David Cameron fears most.

TheLede also offers an example of one of the few real powers of the monarch.

If Parliament Hangs, Queen Could Veto Fresh Election
She makes no speeches on the hustings; she remains aloof from the political fray. She admits no party affiliation and is not permitted to vote or stand for office. Yet, she addresses Parliament with bejeweled and regular fanfare; for more than half a century, she has held  secret conversations with a cavalcade of 11 prime ministers; and, in a peculiarly British way, she could be cast in a central, yet largely powerless, role if Britain’s elections on Thursday stray into the gray zone known as a hung Parliament…

Since 1950, senior civil servants have concluded that the Queen is not constitutionally bound to accept an incumbent Prime Minister’s request for a dissolution of Parliament very soon after an election providing she can see an alternative way forward.

In the convoluted calculations emerging from a hung Parliament, that could mean that Mr. Brown — currently tipped to lose — might seek a second chance to cling to power by asking for a second ballot to overcome a stalemate. And the Queen — to the probable delight of her campaigned-out subjects — could simply say: “No.”

What You Need to Know

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