Those were the days
We received many eloquent and often passionate emalls supporting the belief that The Queen should have refused Her Royal Assent to the Lisbon Treaty, which is a dagger at the heart of Britain's freedom and sovereignty.
However, one person wrote -
The Queen CANNOT interfere with laws passed by parliament. To do so would bring about a constitutional crisis.
This is a statement with the most serious implications for those who love Britain, but is it true?
Previous sovereigns have refused Royal Assent to acts of Parliament. Sometimes this was highly frustrating to Parliament. But the right to give or withhold Royal Assent means that the sovereign, who is in covenant with the people, can protect their laws and liberties from Parliament.
Britain's constitutional system has a Parliament, a Judiciary and a Monarch. Each one is intended to balance the power of the others, and to control attempts at power-grabbing and lawlessness.
In the American system - which was inspired by the British - the President is the executive and is responsible for signing bills or vetoing them. In the same way, the Constitutional Monarch is responsible for rejecting or approving Acts of Parliament.
It will be argued that the US President is elected, and that the British Monarch is not. However, a hereditary, constitutional monarch is not necessarily undemocratic. A democratic people can decide they want a non-partisan, unelected person in covenant with them to protect their laws and customs of liberty and sovereignty.
Further, if the the monarch breaks his or her covenant with the people, he may be deposed, and many kings have been. Some people will call deposing a monarch in order to protect the constitution and the monarchy a constitutional crisis. It might equally be called a necessity, like a kidney transplant to preserve the life of a patient.
One person has spoken very clearly about the role of the constitutional monarch - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In Canada in 1964, she made unequivocally clear what the people expect from their constitutional sovereign -
“The role of a Constitutional Monarch is to personify the democratic state, to legitimate authority, to assure the legality of its measures and to guarantee the execution of its popular will.”
Tragically the Queen has not assured the legality of her government's measures, nor has she defended the popular will when she allowed her government to break its promise to hold a referendum that the people wanted on the EU constitution aka Lisbon Treaty.
Today there is no check on the power of Parliament, in part because modern British monarchs no longer seem to understand their constitutional responsibilities.
An unchecked Parliament will become a tyrant.