Brit explains… the British constitution (A Guest Post by Blogger Extraordinaire Brit)
Ah, America, America, God Bless America! We British invented America, of course, back in medieval times. But, as with so many of our inventions, we couldn’t work out how to make any money out of it and in the end we got bored and let it loose to fend for itself.
When I meet Americans for the first time, they invariably ask me two questions. The first is: “What did you just say? I can’t understand your accent.” To which I always reply: “I don’t have an accent, sir. You do. Now please listen more carefully.”
The second invariable question is: “Can you explain to me, as briefly but clearly as possible, how the British political system works, and is it anything to do with the Sword in the Stone?”
To which my answer is “Yes, and Yes.” However, one of the most common misconceptions about the British constitution is that the Monarchy is hereditary. Not so. Certainly it’s true that our current Queen, Elizabeth II, can trace her ancestral line directly back to King Arthur, but so can all the rest of us, nothing special about that (Arthur was notoriously promiscuous and sired many bastards).
The little-known truth is that ever since 1066, the Monarch has been decided by a tough multi-discipline contest, known as the ‘Commonwealth Games’. Held every fifty years or whenever we fancy it, the Games follow strict rules laid down by Oliver Cromwell in the Magna Carta.
Events in the competition include Jousting, Archery, Rhetoric, KerPlunk, Horsemanship and All-In Fighting. This last event is particularly revered. Rare footage of Queen Victoria defending her sovereignty against Lambert ‘The Young Pretender’ Simnel in the 1901 Games has recently been unearthed, while Elizabeth herself claimed the throne in 1928 in an epic 22-round fight against her mother – a proper scrap that really gripped the nation.
In more recent times, here’s Her Majesty in action against the Duchess of Yarmouth in 1997:
I hope that clears up at least a few of the questions you might have about the constitution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you have any more queries on any matters British, just ask and I will do my best to answer them. Or if you happen to be British yourself, ask me something about the USA because I know all about that too, plus loads of other stuff.