Wednesday, May 16, 2007
HOT OFF THE SHOW! The Queen, Blair, Brown & the U.S. - What's Ahead?
Did you see the movie, "The Queen"? - I recommend that you do, especially in light of Queen Elizabeth's recent visit to the U.S. and Tony Blair's announcement of his resignation.
Some interesting information from my notes for yesterday's LIVE! show about the effects of Blair's resignation and France's new pro-America President will have on the U.S.:
Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926 in London. She was not in line to the throne until her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936. Her father then became George VI and she became heir after her father died in 1952, while Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya. She came home immediately, was crowned at Westminster Abbey, and for more than 50 years has carried out her duties as head of state. She is now 80 years old.
What's interesting is that the Queen is not only the head of State, but also a symbol of national unity. Her complete official royal title is: 'Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith', but she is usually referred to as Her Royal Highness or Queen Elizabeth. According to the law the Queen is head of the executive branch of the government, an integral part of the legislature, head of the judiciary, the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of the Crown and the 'supreme governor' of the established Church of England. WHEW!
British System of Government
The Parliament, Britain's legislature, is made up of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Queen.
The Commons has 651 elected Members and the House of Lords is made up of 1,185 hereditary and life 'peers and peeresses', two archbishops and the 24 most senior bishops of the established Church of England.
As you know, Tony Blair, strongest ally of Pres. Bush, has resigned and will step down by the end of June handing over the prime ministership to what looks like Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. After ten years in power, three victories at general elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005, most agreed that Blair achieved the most in the economy. (The lowest-income British families now receive 11% more benefits).
The British media nicknamed Blair Pres. Bush's 'poodle' because he supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq. That swept Britain into a rash of anti-war marches; the Labour Party rating took a nose dive; and thus the pressure for Blair to step down.
ONE CORE ISSUE OF NOTE ABOUT BLAIR:
In "post-Christian Britain" Blair upfront about his Christianity. Known as a "muscular Christian" (someone who believes that his faith requires him to act), he is in the minority of British prime ministers in the past century who have been Christian believers. Winston Churchill, for instance, was an agnostic. Those who were devout felt that religion should remain a private matter. Blair was under strict instructions not to speak in public about his faith. Alastair Campbell once put it: "We don't do God". But Blair did "do God."
The Independent reported: "In some ways (Blair) is more innately American than British. Blair may not have prayed with the born-again George Bush, but their shared faith was certainly a bond, and (Blair's) wearing his faith on his sleeve would not have seemed too odd or embarrassing in the U.S., where more than half the population goes to church and where supposedly grown-up politicians can say they approach difficult problems by asking: 'What would Jesus do'?"
Only seven per cent of the population of Britain regularly attend church.
Who is Gordon Brown?
The one most likely to replace Tony Blair, Gordon Brown is the son of a Church of Scotland preacher; lost the sight in one eye while playing rugby at age 16; and was Rector of Edinburgh University.
When Blair supported the US invasion of Iraq, Brown gave his approval as well. But according to Reuters, Brown said that he would "learn from mistakes" made in Iraq. And on the issue of troop withdrawal, he said: "I don't think at this stage you pre-set a date. From a situation where we had 44,000 troops in Iraq, it is now down to 7,000 and it will go down to 6,000 and it is coming down."
Of note: he plans to relinquish the prime minister's right to take the nation to war under an ancient royal decree and allow parliament to decide rather.
And: he is also mulling over the introduction of a constitution and bill of rights, similar to those of the US.