Down with the "People's Monarchy"
January 29, 1998 (11:55)
Brendan O'Neill argues that the exclusion of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness from the House of Commons represents a "brazen atack on the democratic process".
This amounts to repudiation of the doctrine of the "Crown in Parliament", the agreement between Parliament and the Monarchy that is the foundation stone of the British Constitution. Of course the people of Britain were not parties to this agreement and are not bound by its provisions. They are free to be disloyal to either Parliament or monarchy as they wish and to campaign for the abolition of either or both of these institutions.
But "the people of Britain", "civil society" etc. are not politically constituted entities. This is an important difference between them and the parliament or the monarchy.
Nobody has a mandate to speak in their name. If the people of Britain do not wish to be represented by a parliament whose representatives are under oath to the monarchy, they have two choices: they can elect disloyal parliamentarians to the existing parliament or they can constitute their own disloyal parliament.
So far they have elected only frankly and principledly disloyal parliamentarians, Adams and McGuiness, who owe their election to the fact that they represent an electorate which is loyal to another state. Until such times as the House of Commons has a majority of openly and principledly disloyal parliamentarians it is right that Adams and McGuiness should be prevented from taking their seats in it. To wish otherwise is to desire that hundreds of parliamentarians blatantly or covertly repudiate their vows of loyalty to the monarchy without having a mandate to do so.
If Brendan O'Neill would like this to happen, can he please explain why. It would mean total breakdown of any kind of democratic process, bourgeois, proletarian or otherwise.
It would set a terrible precedent.
I think it would be more logical for O'Neill to follow through the spirit of his own article and admit frankly that his opposition to "the people's monarchy" has to do with the parliamentary more than with the monarchic elements in it. What he is against is a monarchy which is at the mercy of the parliamentary-media complex which really governs Britain. Why not admit that if it comes to an open break between these two elements in the British polity there would be greater margins for independent self-organisation on the side that sought to re-negotiate a new constitution with the monarchy than there would be on the side that supported the parliament. In other words it would be nice for O'Neill to have the guts not just to write abstract moral homilies about "victim culture" but frankly repudiate parliamentary republicanism.