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Letter to America: Constitutional On:2022-10-19 05:30:15

My Dear Americans,
    since I returned to the [ʌk] (and saying UK that way reminds me of what I'm sure must be the most delightful URL in the Universe, that of the University of Oxford, ""—we are very economical with our domain names) ... anyway... returning from the [yoosa] reminded me that yousa guys love to have things, especially official-ish things in 'black and white' wa-a-a-ay more than us [ʌkites] do over here in the UK.

This is, no doubt, because the United States was designed, whereas the United Kingdom just... sort of... happened. And, of course, two of the most important events in that designed creation were the writing of documents—the Declaration and the Constitution1.
And from that designed parting of the ways you developed, literally from birth, that characteristic "look at the fine print" attitude. It runs through everything from downloading software to uploading the government2. This is not to say that the US electoral system is perfect, it has its defects from gerrymandering to discouraging the 'wrong' sort of person3 from voting but compared to our ....'system' (for want of a better word) over here...
Well, for example, look at our recent de-Boris-izing and his replacement with Liz Truss, or as many of us like to call her 'In-Truss-we-don't-trust' Truss.4
She was voted in as Prime Minister, not as a President is, by all those who care to cast their vote, but by members of her Conservative party—basically you join, you pay your membership dues and.... which actually means by approximately 0.11837862% of the votable population with a margin over her rival, Rishi Sunak, of 0.03046147%. Basically 141,725 people elected her out of the 46,560,452 who are registered to vote (as of December last year). Certainly makes me bite my tongue when the topic of the US Electoral College comes up.
Of course the Mother of Parliaments (as we like to call it) isn't quite that un-democratic, or is it?? Apart from local council type stuff we only get to vote for one person to be our MP. They almost all belong to a party (of which there are a surprising 11, though only about two and five eighths of them are in parliament and actually matter). Whichever party has the most MPs (or can cobble up a coalition) forms the government and whoever they've chosen as their leader goes to the queen and asks "Please, please Miss, can I be the milk monitor", sorry I mean "Ma'am can I be the Prime Minister", though nowadays I suppose it would be more effective to go to the king with the same question.
Anyway, since this IS the UK, apart from being First Lord of the Treasury (largely so they can move into Ten Downing St) PMs don't officially exist or rather they sort of do but only by long-established convention, I suspect that in the topsy-turvy world of UK politics through the last three hundred or so years like Topsy they "just growed." They are there, as the phrase has it because the queen (or nowadays more effectively the king) thinks they can "command the confidence" of the House of Commons. And, since this is the UK she (nowadays more effectively he) only has a THEORETICAL choice in the matter. It's all so ...I want to say quaint... but I'll also go with vague.
Of course it has improved during our history. What's the old joke? In olden days it's not your vote that counts, it's your Count that votes.
And talking of the ignoble Nobility, we do have the House of Lords 757 guys (well 28% of them are gals) of whom a mere 92 are currently there simply because they inherited a title and 25 because they are bishops. And before the American Religious Right gets all excited, I should point out that British bishops aren't necessarily terribly religious: as evidenced by the Book 'Honest to God' by John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich. He didn't seem to believe that religion was necessary nor, if I'm remembering aright, that there was even a God to any noticeable extent.
And so we muddle on, And, following Liz's weird tax desires and the U-turns thereof, I don't know if by the time you hear this she's still doing whatever it is that she does, or if she's gone, leaving behind nothing but a vague lack of confidence and the fingernail grooves in the top of the Cabinet table in the Cabinet room of Number Ten, and just possibly an odd inability for the Number Ten butler to find the best cutlery.
I must end this exposition of constitutions or their lack-of now, 'cause it's time to take my morning constitutional, a couple of mile walk down the Waveney bank and back.
Kindest regards,
Richard Howland-Bolton
and, of course,
Cheerio for now
from me!


1 Oh! I just remembered its amendments, though I won't bother to amend the essay.

2 Well I am a nerd, how else would you expect me to think of it?

3 And do note that my 'wrong' sort of person may not be the same as yours, and on reflection is quite possibly its diametrical opposite.

4 Things might change, you never know:

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