13 September 2012

Kingdom 2037


(see previous article for commentary)

It is 2037

William V is King and Ruler of England. He lives in Buckingham Palace and is guarded by soldiers in fancy uniforms.

He has 5 children, the eldest is heir apparent.

The old Parliament Building houses his personal art collection. It is not open to the public. The House of Commons is abolished. The House of Lords no longer meets regularly, but is summonned to a 1-day meeting every two years at a Royal residence, and ad-hoc committees are appointed, usually meeting by videoconference.

Adminstration

Downing Street is demolished. Government offices are in Whitehall. Essentially the entire central government fits in a few office complexes near Green Park.

The Lord Chancellor is chief administrator of the government. He is answerable to the King. It is not clear to outsiders what are his positions that are approved by the King, and what are the King's positions represented by him. He has a peerage, which like all peerages is hereditary. He has been rewarded for his service with the peerage, if he did not already have it, and with an estate to go with it. His heirs will probably tend towards the King's service themselves. Government service is open to all classes, but those with familial ties have a significant advantage.

The official salary of the Lord Chancellor is high but not spectacular: in 2012 terms, maybe GBP250,000.

Defence

The King is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He has a Chief of General Staff — a personal appointment. In peacetime, the Lord Chancellor has no detailed responsibility for the armed services or for foreign policy. The army is possibly a bit bigger than strictly necessary, and is directly associated with the monarchy. That said, there will not be a large army if there is no foreign threat that requires it.

Economy

Government can intervene in the economy, but will do so either tentatively or on a small scale. Poor relief will not officially be from government, but via "Royal charity" funded mainly or partly from the King's personal revenues. Any government employment schemes would be on the same basis, as private business owned by the King.

Justice and Police are government functions funded from the government budget. The distinction between government spending and the King's personal spending and expenses isn't fundamentally meaningful, but it distinguishes areas that are run according to publicly defined rules from those which are essentially under personal supervision.

Health and Education would be largely private with some charity. Both would be nearly unregulated. Customers without assets could contract to supply labour via a hospital or school, if that can be made profitable.

If England is one of the first countries to move in this direction, it would become a magnet for the global rich. If the world economy moves in the direction of greater automation and few productive jobs for low-IQ/low-skilled workers, then personal service is likely to be a growth area.

(Personal service is currently depressed due to the low status which results from the present-day "system"-oriented theory, and also due to high taxes and a general culture which admires rebellion).

Taxation runs at about 25% of GNP. About half of this is raised from taxes on land, and there are also sales taxes on a selection of goods, and turnover taxes on a selection of businesses. The government runs to a budget, which is paid for out of the tax revenue, and the surplus goes to the King. The King accumulates land and financial assets, and spends a substantial amount on the welfare charities.

Immigration is not tightly restricted, but the King's charities prefer to support citizens than foreigners, and would help with resettlement abroad in preference to supporting immigrants. Foreigners can live and work freely, but are subject to an income tax.

Law

The legal system and trial by jury is retained, but formalities are reduced and the discretion of judges enhanced. PACE is abolished. All reporting restrictions on court procedings are abolished, including those relating to family law. The highest court is a royal audience.

Legislation is passed by royal decree. An advisory committee of Lords and senior lawyers is appointed by the King.

Marriage is not legally recognised, but adults can publicly take responsibility for children. It is a crime to maltreat the children in one's care. If poverty is used as a defence for such maltreatment, forced adoption can be ordered by the court. If necessary, there may be state orphanages, but they would be run cheaply and the expectation is that family or a charity would do a better job.

Private citizens are permitted to use force to keep the peace. They are allowed to carry weapons, but this is not a fundamental right, and individuals can be ordered not to go armed by competent authorities. Organised armed bodies are required to have a Royal charter, which can be withdrawn. Some private security companies have such charters and provide armed guards. The guards have no special legal powers beyond those of independent citizens, though.

Communications

There is a small state-run media consisting mostly of official announcements. The ceremonial of monarchy is maintained.

Private media are not subject to any special regulation, but it is a serious criminal offense to oppose the King's rule. Criticism of government policy is allowed and individuals or groups may publicly petition the King, but criticism of the system of government is sedition. Also, to combine any crime, such as vandalism or obstruction, with complaints about policy, thereby constitutes sedition.

Foreign content which breaches these rules can be transmitted and indexed, but not specifically promoted.

Police officers are organised along similar lines to today, with each officer holding a Royal Warrant. Their role is to preserve the King's Peace and protect the realm from internal enemies.

Authorities may only demand information or other cooperation from private parties via a limited system of court warrants. However, state investigators are not restricted from using whatever non-intrusive methods of intelligence and evidence-gathering they can find. Rules of evidence are oriented only towards the reliability of the evidence in question.

Local Administration

The government is mostly centralised, but each county has a local office which organises roads, planning, water & sewerage, and anything else that remains a locally-provided service. These offices report to the Lord Chancellor and are centrally funded, but consult locally.

Succession

The King will probably abdicate in old age, though it is up to him. His eldest child will succeed, and is brought up to do so. The younger children know that there is a risk of being called upon.

Long Live The King!

(comments please on the related commentary post)

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