Thursday, December 15, 2011

Monarchy is no safeguard

One of the myths of monarchy is that it is the ultimate constitutional safeguard, with the monarch able to step in and sort out any constitutional crisis. The current crisis in Papua New Guinea is a perfect disproof of that. Thanks to the refusal of the previous Prime Minister to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court, they now have two parallel governments: two Prime Ministers, two cabinets, and two Governor-Generals. As for the Queen "sorting out" the crisis, she doesn't want a bar of it:

While either of the two sides could seek the royal assent to their choice as governor-general, the Queen is likely to try to avoid a decision until the turmoil resolves internally.

Experts said Buckingham Palace will be very unlikely to put phone calls from the Pacific nation through to the Queen.


"She would most likely not act until it became absolutely clear who was the prime minister and comprised the national executive council. While there was any doubt on that question, she would be unlikely to act ... Buckingham Palace will make sure that whoever answers the phone will give a placatory answer but they will be canny in not getting the Queen involved. If I were her, I would become rather hard to contact."

So much for the "ultimate safeguard". If Papua New Guineans want a solution, they'll have to find it themselves. As for the Queen, she'll just rubberstamp the eventual outcome, no matter what. Which makes you wonder why anyone bothers with her.