The mother and child reunion

I am working my way through Quigley’s tome, Tragedy and Hope, as we travel and in our spare time. I’m on page 504, about 700 to go. It’s a pleasurable reading experience, hardly a beach book but written in such a readable style that it flows smoothly.

Part of what I picked up, and this was quite a few pages back (in a book written in 1965), is the notion Americans have that our political system is similar to Britain’s. Nothing could be further from the truth, says Quigley.

For one thing, very little is codified in Britain – there is no constitution, but rather a tangle of conventions and power centers. “Conventions” are not laws that can be enforced or interpreted. The centers of power ebb and flow. At times, corporations that invested overseas during the zenith of empire have run the show, while at other times, such as now, London banks have an upper hand. The monarchy has power, but has to stay within its bounds, as they can just as easily be dispensed with. However, the other centers can resort to the monarchy to achieve some goals, perhaps just as political cover. That’s not clear to me – I don’t know if her majesty is really any more than a pretty nice girl.

The most stable governing force is the aristocracy, a few hundred families. The most important of these send their children to Eton or Harrow, while others settle for Cambridge or Oxford. Those credentials are necessary to enter the church, legal profession, judiciary, House of Lords of course, but even the House of Commons. Very few enter the lower house without credentials.

The “education” they received is not at all as we perceive it – it is not vocational, a training of intelligence nor a pursuit of truth. It merely reinforces a moral outlook, class structure, leadership, and the British idea of sportsmanship.

I was looking for similarities in our system, and have always assumed the our Senate was derived from the House of Lords. Not so. The House of Lords has veto power over everything, and can interpret anything to its own liking. They are not subject to ballots. This is far more similar to our Supreme Court than a legislative branch.

The most powerful legislative force is the Cabinet, always comprised of the aristocrats. It is there that laws are written. The House of Commons is a rubber stamp. The cabinet can override anything it wants. However, certain matters are referred to the lower house for public discussion to gauge public reaction. So the recent vote to not attack Syria was not binding. However, the Commons determined that the public mood would not tolerate another war, and so were allowed to vote against it. They really cannot make their own decisions. That’s all for show. That vote had no legal power.

It appears that there is no “legal” authority there. Technically anyone can access the courts for redress. In reality, everyone knows better. Technically the members of the House of Commons appoint the cabinet. In reality, that is predetermined by the leaders of the parties in power, and there is no ballots cast for leadership. There is no free press or speech, no Bill of Rights. It’s a system that relies on tradition for its sustainability, as there are no formal public contracts.

Quite a mess, but it seems to work. As we dispense with our own constitution and Bill of rights, people often invoke fascism or Hitler. More likely we are drifting back to the ways of our mother country.

4 thoughts on “The mother and child reunion

  1. From what I understand, they have kept money out of politics, at least from the advertising/consultant angle.

    Is there even an England anymore to consider? It’s been socialized to the point of non-performance; its military is a joke (Basra, anyone?); its best real estate is being bought by wealthy foreigners; soon to be under defacto Sharia law.

    Another object lesson from the introduction of phenoxy herbicides and their estrogenic effects circa the 1940s in the industrialized nations: feminize the males, masculinize the females; and society trends into political correctness in the vain hope of not hurting anyone’s feelings.


    1. Pretty fancy stuff you got going there. Britain realized after the war that it was second fiddle and accepted that role. They could not sustain the empire, lost the colonies, and so relied on the US to step in and take over, which we did. Do not mistake British manners as effeminate behavior – they can be bloody butchers. As [Bertrand] Russell said, the British aristocracy was as brutal and did as much carnage as Stalin.

      They are still running M5 and M6 all over the planet, inciting terrorism, planting bombs – I suspect, but of course cannot know, that much of the unrest in Iraq right now is fueled by the Brits, and of course they are all over Syria aiding and abetting the terrorists and death squads trying to overthrow Assad.


    2. Pre 1940 Brits were bad-ass. Not so much since then.

      I partly joke about the estrogenic effects of modern civ, but only partly. Maybe there is something there. But the Vikings were bad back in the day, Their descendants are pretty whipped. Maybe it’s paragenetic.

      I suspect, but of course cannot know, that much of the unrest in Iraq right now is fueled by the Brits, and of course they are all over Syria aiding and abetting the terrorists and death squads trying to overthrow Assad

      This amounts to five guys with a credit card. Psssh. There is a whole lot more involved, but this little explanation fits the template that gives you emotional satisfaction.

      They are still running MI5 and MI6 all over the planet

      By the same culture that gave us Kim Philby et al. The wheels might still turn a little bit, but on a toy wagon


  2. And Mother taught her children well. As George Orwell once wrote: “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to
    be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and
    ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed.
    In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of
    starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its
    object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very
    structure of society intact.”


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