By Patrick Dunleavy, Andrew Gamble, Richard Heffernan, Gillian Peele
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Additional info for Developments in British Politics 7: Seventh Edition (Bk.7)
This is upheld by elaborate charades, such as the State Opening of Parliament, in which all the participants act as though all power still resides with the Monarch and the MPs are her lowly and dutiful servants, and the preamble of Acts of Parliament, which suggests that all legislation emanates from the will of the Sovereign. The primacy of the people and its representatives, something which has long been a political reality, continues to be denied by the traditional protocols of Her Majesty’s Government, still devoted to the pretence of monarchical absolutism.
There has been considerable comment about ‘anachronistic’ features of the monarchy, such as the Acts of Parliament which require the Head of State to be a Protestant, prevents him or her from marrying a Catholic or divorcee, and enforces male primogeniture. A modest reform agenda for the Monarchy has emerged, much of which appears to be embraced by the circles around Prince Charles, and some of these restrictions may therefore change in the years ahead, although the initiative for them is likely to come from the Palace rather than from Downing Street.
After 1999, when Labour did start increasing public spending, department allocations were regularly underspent, partly because of the time it took to negotiate agreement on changes to working practices before extra resources were released. By 2001 Labour ministers began publicly acknowledging that the pace of change had been very slow, and that very few citizens had experienced any substantial improvements in public services. 4). Labour’s holding rhetoric at the general election stressed that its first priority in government had been to rectify the public finances, and that only now was it able to plan incremental and sustainable investment in the resources devoted to public services.