The Corner

The Queen Stops Tyranny

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday tomorrow. Inspired by the occasion, Andrew Gimson penned an essay with the following interesting argument.

The monarchy is one of the greatest, though least observed, checks on arbitrary power. It occupies the space a dictator would need to occupy.

Because it is unthinkable in Britain to push the monarch aside, tyranny itself becomes unthinkable. In countries where for understandable reasons the monarchy was overthrown — France in 1789, Russia in 1917, Germany in 1918 — tyranny was not unthinkable. […]

In modern times, our monarchs have served the public by going above politics, and becoming instead a kind of hereditary umpire.

The Queen plays this role with exceptional and unwearying conscientiousness. She does not have to declare any Prime Minister out: the public elect MPs who do that for her.

But she stops the politicians, few if any of whom remain popular for long, from getting above themselves, and obliges even a convinced republican such as Jeremy Corbyn to play by the rules.

The Queen, Mr. Gimson writes of the U.K., “upholds our constitution.”

Most Popular

PC Culture

America Is Intolerably Intolerant

When you think of the sheer vindictiveness of what happened to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, it takes your breath away. On the very night of his greatest career triumph, a reporter dug up his old tweets (composed when he was a young teenager), reported on the most offensive insults, and immediately and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

How Democrats Can Blow It in 2020

Donald Trump probably can’t win the 2020 presidential election, but the Democrats can lose it. What I mean is that in a contest between Trump and a generic Democrat, Trump would almost surely lose if the current political climate holds through 2020. According to a Fox News poll this week, 38 percent of ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Unforgettable Curtain Call

At 88, Clint Eastwood seldom appears on screen anymore and last acted in a movie in 2012’s mediocre Trouble with the Curve. So the final images of The Mule may be the last we see of him at the movies. If so, what an exit: understated perfection, with a playful hint of subverting his screen image. The Mule is ... Read More