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  •  Blair is not the Head of State. (none)
    He's a working politician. He's not entitled to any patriotic loyalty or reverence. He's the head of one particular political party that just happens to be a majority in Parliament at the moment. More like Dennis Hastert, say, if Hastert actually had some real power. Nobody ever puts their hand over their heart and with a tear in their eye shouts, "Hail to Dennis Hastert!"... right? It would be totally ridiculous.

    The Head of State for Britain (and for most Commonwealth countries, too) is Queen Elizabeth II.

    Blair's power is the power of the House of Commons. Of Parliament, in other words.

    See, Britain stumbled backwards into a wonderful, accidental discovery: you really honestly don't want your Head of State to have any power. You need someone to fill a ritual role, some human being who can personify all the emotions of patriotism and proud nationalism that people naturally feel towards their native land. But it is extremely dangerous for that person to be permitted to use those emotions politically.

    This separation evolved as a protection against the Divine Right of Kings. It turns out to protect quite well, also, against the emergence of "strong man" dictators like Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini.

    Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

    by Canadian Reader on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 07:35:20 AM PST

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