A key aim of the CDP is to establish a system of direct democracy in the UK. This will require constitutional and electoral reform. It also requires a strict separation of the powers vested in the Head of State, the Head of Government and Executive body, the Legislature of the people’s representatives, and the Judiciary. The Head of State, whether a president or monarch, must not be a rubber stamp for the Executive. They must ‘rule’ in the interests of the people and be able to block or delay legislation that has no mandate from the people until such time as a mandate is given by referendum or at a general election. In return they must have a democratic legitimacy in order to withstand intimidation by politicians. They should also be above and remote from party-politics.
We have detailed, over many years, how this could be achieved with a preference for an acclaimed monarch over an elected president. The US system of a combined head of state and government, selected by party primary conventions and then by a general election, where the power to appoint a president is actually vested in a constitutional college, is peculiar to the US. It derives from the federal nature of the nation and the notion that the states have primacy. The primacy of the states has been eroded and they are trying to prise power back from Washington. The current spectacle in the US where candidates rip each other apart in an attempt to gain their party’s nomination is unedifying and destructive. Any show of then uniting around the successful candidate has a whiff of hypocrisy. The process also requires the candidates to raise vast amounts of money to fund their campaigns and then become beholding to the big donors. Evidenced by the financial support provided by Planned Parenthood to Hillary Clinton, and previously to Barack Obama, so that the Democratic Party has become the pro-abortion party. The other extreme is evident with the Republican Party where a millionaire and outsider like Donald Trump can buy his way to the presidency. Both examples result in genuine and honest people of principle being excluded from the process. This is detrimental to democracy and the common weal of the people. It is diabolical.
Closer to home we have an example that is much nearer to the UK system, but is just as diabolical. The political system in the Republic of Ireland is corrupted. Sometimes when looking for an alternative version of democracy it is easier to identify systems that should be avoided, rather than a version that might be a prototype. The Irish have a separate head of state and head of government just like the UK. There the similarity ends. Of course only in Ireland could a leprechaun be elected to the position of president. Michael D. Higgins was a nominee of the minority Irish Labour Party and is an out-and-out socialist. The process of nomination is restrictive and requires the support of county councils with all the party-political implications arising. This really narrows the field and makes it near impossible for an independent candidate to succeed. The previous president, Mary McAlees, was nominated by the Fianna Fail government for her first term, but then stood as an independent for her second term to avoid the need for an election. Independent candidates do well in Ireland because there is so much distrust of the main political parties. After two terms a new president is required to be elected and the very process of election politicised the candidates. After election the incumbent is supposed to be above party politics and impartial. Michael D. has stretched that obligation to the limit by making statements and publicising his own views to an extent that no previous president has gone.
A feature of the presidential election campaign was the televised candidates debates where they were all asked about their policies, in the style of the US debates. This was wrong because the president does not have any executive powers. The questions that should have been asked were 1) will you uphold the constitution?, 2) will you be impartial?, 3) will you order a referendum in the event the government introduces legislation that contravenes the constitution?, with the last point being pertinent. Especially so for Michael D. because the Irish Labour Party are the abortion party. With the passing of the Fine Gael/Labour Party abortion legislation, which was clearly in conflict with the Eighth Amendment that affords equal protection to both mother and unborn child, a referendum was required but Michael D. did not order one to take place. Another candidate, Rosemary Scanlon (Dana), had indicated that she would be prepared to take that necessary action. The fact that she withdrew her candidacy due to family circumstances, and this resulted in the abortion legislation being implemented, has resulted in many people suspecting a contrived situation to clear the way for the legislation.
In the UK, during the reign of the present monarch, much damaging social legislation has been enacted that has not been mandated by the people. This has been a direct assault on our Christian culture and was/is extremely divisive up to the present day. The Abortion Act of 1967 is the prime example and still vigorously opposed. The list is long, such as homosexuality, the family and child, divorce, same-sex partnerships, human genetics and fertilisation. The question often asked is why was the Royal Assent given to these pieces of legislation? Especially, given the Coronation Oath of the Queen. Queen Anne was the last monarch to withhold Assent. It is a power still held by the monarch but never used. Why? Because of a fear that it would mean the end of the monarchy?
These are some of the reasons why we are determined to have a head of state for life who is endorsed by the people in an acclamation referendum. The hereditary monarchy provides for continuity and a stable list of candidates; and we would also provide for a removal referendum in certain prescribed circumstances. There would be no competing candidates and it would be a simple question to accept them as head of state, or not. If not, by choice of the people, the next in succession would be put before the people. However, it has to be accepted that if the people kept rejecting the next in the line to the throne the whole future of the monarchy would be brought in to question.
In many ways Prince Charles has the qualities to be an able head of state and has the strength of character to stand up for the people and against scheming politicians, when this is being reinforced by the authority bestowed by the people’s referendum endorsement. The problem is that he his not overwhelmingly popular due to his matrimonial situation. There are grave concerns about the legitimacy of his second marriage to a divorcee. In those circumstances, and based on a sounding of public opinion, he might prefer to defer to his son, Prince William.
Previous conventions in this respect have been dismissed as no longer relevant, but they are and derive from a constitutional basis rooted in the fact that the UK is a Christian Democracy. While our proposal might be seen as radical, it is founded on ancient tradition and the Anglo-Saxon practice of acclaiming the new monarch. A practice that is still symbolically played out in the Coronation religious ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
The symbol would become a modern reality and more relevant for a constitutional monarchy in the third millennium. The CDP is the only political party making this proposal. We have the vision.