11 January 2011

Belgium under Royal rule

Great news from Belgium: after three months without the country managing to elect a government, King Albert has started making policy. Possibly an actual crisis isn't necessary, and a mere mechanical hiccup is enough to start the transition from democracy to responsible government.

More likely not: at some point the politicians of Belgium will presumably manage to cobble together a democratic government, and he will be expected to hand over. However, if that takes a while longer, the idea will start to implant itself in some minds, that there is an alternative. He is in charge now, and the reason really is that it might as well be him as anybody else, and at least it solves arguments. And that is the whole reason for monarchy. As people come to realise that the problems caused by competition for power, even when mediated through an electoral process, are inevitable and finally catastrophic, any reminders of how to settle on an easy choice will be useful.

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