Saturday 31 July 2010

No - the Queen did not have power to veto the Abortion Act 1967

The Queen had no power to veto the Abortion Bill 1967.

Her vetoing power, by refusing royal assent, is only permitted by law in the rarest of circumstances such as a constitutional crisis.

It is true that the Queen meticulously keeps up with the business of Parliament so that, in theory, if there ever were a constitutional crisis, she would be ready and properly advised to act, if necessary.

The Queen usually signs Letters Patent which allow the Speakers of the two Houses to announce the royal assent. However, she signs them for a whole lot of bills in one go, and is only given a list of the names of the Bills, not the texts or even the long titles.

She thus does not know the details of the Bills she is "assenting" to and is not expected to. That is because the process of assent, save in the rarest of situations such as a constitutional crisis, is now not much more than a ceremonial ritual.

The Queen is not even given a copy of the Bills and neither is the Palace. That is not just because she knows that both Houses of Parliament will already have considered the Bill very carefully but rather because she has no power to veto any of the Bills, save in constitutional emergency.

Sir Thomas Erskine May, 1st Baron Farnborough, the original author of Parliamentary Practice

The proper constitutional authorities are the courts and Parliament and the authoritative text is Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice.

The procedure is set out here:

and here

You will see that Francis Bennion describes the most common procedure (i.e. by notification under the Royal Assent Act 1967) at page 5 of 11. The Queen signs a general assent for a whole series of Bills at one time.

But says, Bennion:

"It is a striking illustration of the extent to which Royal Assent has become a mere formality that Her Majesty does not have before her the texts, or even the long titles, of the Bills to which she signifies assent. Indeed these are not even communicated to officials of the Queen's Household (colloquially known as the Palace)".

Bennion also confirms what is now the law:

"There is no power to withhold a Bill from Assent, whether on the instructions of the Government or anyone else.{See Erskine May Parliamentary Practice (19th edn.) p. 562: "from that sanction they cannot be legally withheld"}. Nor, under the modern constitutional convention, may the Queen refuse Assent. {The last time Assent was refused was by Queen Anne in 1707, in relation to a Scottish militia Bill (Lords' Journals (1705 1709) p.506).}...One of the strengths of Britain's unwritten constitution is the reserve power it contains. In a near revolutionary situation the occasion might still arise for the withholding of Royal Assent, if only by way of delaying tactics". [emphasis added]

Thus, in a dire emergency, the Queen's reserve power to refuse assent is permitted by law to save the Constitution and country and in a few other very rare situations, but not otherwise.

Professor Vernon Bogdanor, leading constitutional expert from Oxford University

Professor Vernon Bogdanor's, The Monarchy and the Constitution, 1995, pp 131-132, gives an interesting insight into the discussions regarding the Home Rule Bill which King George V was very much opposed to:

"There is, then, no doubt that the king believed that he could veto legislation, and that he contemplated doing so in the case of Home Rule...the first parliamentary counsel, Sir Granville Ram...cited Dicey, who had declared of the refusal of assent: ‘Its repose may be the preservation of its existence, and its existence may be the means of saving the Constitution itself on an occasion worthy of bringing it forth’. The Home Rule crisis of 1914 proved that the sovereign retained the prerogative of veto, and that this prerogative might come into play on extreme occasions." [emphasis added]

The position adumbrated by Dicey is more or less the position today, as the authorities like Erskine May and Francis Bennion QC state.

We might call this "Dicey's exception".

Albert Venn Dicey (1835-1922)
was a leading constitutional lawyer
and Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University from 1882 to 1909

Now, if the Queen were to refuse letters patent then she would be attempting to usurp to herself the power to veto a Bill - a power which the law and Constitution do not allow her.

And attempting to usurp or seize power unlawfully is a sin and we may not do evil that good may come of it, as St Paul teaches us (Rom 3:8), no matter how great the intended good may be.

It is not simply a matter of the Queen refusing to obey an unjust law. It is far more.

Any attempt by her to veto a Bill would be an attempted seizure of power by the Monarch, like the US President giving himself power to sack pro-abortion US Justices, a power he does not have under the US Constitution.

Once the US Senate confirms the nomination of a US Justice by an affirmative vote, the President must prepare and sign a commission, and have the Seal of the Department of Justice affixed to the document before the new justice can take office (see 5 USC § 2902).

The seniority of an Associate Justice is based on the date of commissioning, not the date of confirmation or swearing-in (see 28 USC § 4).

No-one would ever realistically suggest that the US President should refuse to sign the commission for any duly confirmed Justice, break the law, breach the Constitution which he is pledged to defend, and seize powers that he does not have (a coup d'etat), on the entirely spurious basis that he, the President, is morally compelled to do so in the name of over-turning Roe v Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that liberalised abortion law in the USA, and to stage a revolution in the name of the pro-life cause.

The US Supreme Court

Revolution in the name of the pro-life, or any just, cause cannot be justified, and the whole weight of Catholic tradition and teaching on the subject is against it.

The position is summarised by St Thomas in De Regimine Principum, Ch. 6, 45-52, when he writes of the opinion that the unjust ruler may be overthrown by private force:

"But this opinion is not in accord with apostolic teaching, for Peter [1 Pet 2:18-19] admonishes us to be reverently subject to our masters, not only the good and gentle but also the proceed against the cruelty of tyrants is an action to be undertaken not through the private presumption of a few..."

Revolution and revolt against legitimate authority is never permissible and always wrong

In the British Constitution the true sovereign power lies with Parliament.

Even though the Queen is called the Sovereign, in truth, most of the time, she isn't, save for Dicey's exception.

To attempt to give herself the sovereign power to veto a Bill would be the act of a private citizen, Elizabeth Windsor-Mountbatten, attempting to seize power and overthrow the sovereign power of Parliament.

That would be the sin condemned by St Peter and St Thomas and one may not sin in order to achieve good, as St Paul teaches (Rom 3:8).

We should blame the real villains for the Abortion Act 1967: the politicians, not the Queen!

St Thomas Aquinas, jurist, philosopher, theologian, scholar, saint and Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church


Thursday 29 July 2010

Mr Southwood (who he?) goes blah...

Some person called "Southwood" has bust a gut because I pointed out that it was the Protestant areas of Germany that voted for Hitler and not the Catholic areas and that it was the Protestant "German Christian" movement and the Protestant Reich Bishop, Ludwig Muller, who supported Hitler and not the Roman Catholic Church.

The German Catholic bishops condemned Nazism time and again.

Mr Southwood can't face this.

The truth upsets him.

Where does Mr Southwood get his information?

You guessed it folks - from books that are written by anti-Catholics and fanatics.

But just to give you a flavour of where Mr Southwood is coming from, here are some of his views:

- the SS were Roman Catholics (yep, really!);

- Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Heydrich, Hess were all fully paid-up, practising and devout Roman Catholics, apparently (hmm, excuse me, Mr Himmler, I don't think I saw you at mass last Sunday...oh, I see, you were in the garden worshipping Wotan, were you? That famous Christian god....).

- Not one Protestant nation became Nazi (err, right, Germany would be a Catholic nation, then, would it? Tell that to Martin Luther!).

- Do not include Germany because it was "in the hands of the RCs" (oh, right. So anything bad is, by definition, RC, is it? Even when it isn't? Oh, of course, logical, logical...)

- But this was because "Lutheranism in Germany was an apostate body in large part" (oh, well then of course it must have been RC, by definition - see above: everything bad = RC.)

- Austria was a Fascist nation under Dollfuss (oh, right. Err... then why did the Nazis murder him, I wonder...?)

- Cornwell says that Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope" so therefore he must have been (no possibility that Cornwell was wrong, of course. But hang on...Cornwell was brought up RC, wasn't he? So he must be bad and so cannot be believed, right? Oh, I see. RCs who agree with Mr Southwood are OK but not those that don't? Yes, of course, logical, logical...)

- Serbs were massacred in RC Croatia (but let's just forget about Croats murdered by Orthodox Serbs. That would be inconvenient to our thesis that only RCs are the bad guys).

And so on and so on, with more ill-informed bigotry.

Norweigan Nazi collaborationist Minister-President, Vidkun Quisling, was the son of a Protestant pastor

Where, one might suppose, does Vidkun Quisling fit into this picture, the son of a Protestant pastor of the Lutheran evangelical Church of Norway. Quisling, who had been awarded the CBE by the (Protestant) British government became an ardent friend of the Nazis and served as Minister-President of the Norweigan collaborationist government.


And what about Martin Luther himself, that great Protestant anti-semite?

Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism and author of On the Jews and their Lies (1543)

Well, make up your own mind, folks.

Here are extracts from the works of the founder of Protestantism about the Jews in a book called On the Jews and their Lies of 1543:

"[they are a] base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth."

"[they are] full of the devil's faeces ... which they wallow in like swine"

"[the synagogue is an] incorrigible whore and an evil slut".

He argued that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and these "poisonous envenomed worms" should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. He also seems to advocate their murder, writing "[w]e are at fault in not slaying them".

Paul Johnson writes:

"Luther was not content with verbal abuse. Even before he wrote his anti-Semitic pamphlet, he got Jews expelled from Saxony in 1537, and in the 1540s he drove them from many German towns; he tried unsuccessfully to get the elector to expel them from Brandenburg in 1543".
(A History of the Jews p. 242)

Well, Mr Southwood, bang goes your theory about the virtuous Protestants who were not Fascist or anti-semitic, eh?


Saturday 17 July 2010

What have you been saying, homophobic-wise, sir?

Welcome to modern Britain.

The story about a Christian Street preacher, Mr Dale Mcalpine, who was arrested for saying "Homosexuality is a sin" is a reflection of the current obsession by police and officialdom with the murky concept of "hate crime".

In fact, there is no such thing as "hate crime" in English law. It is not a phrase that is used by the law.

The actual facts of the arrest of Dale Mcalpine were recorded on video and make disturbing viewing.

Among the the first words of the police when they arrive is:

"Hello sir. What have you been saying, homophobic wise ?"

This is barely English, let alone a question that can be answered by someone about to be arrested. Matters got worse:

"McAlpine: I spoke to your officer earlier and he was upset that I was saying homosexuality was a sin – which is what the Bible says. And I affirm that’s what I say because that’s in the Bible. And there’s no law, there’s no law…

Policeman: Well there is.

McAlpine: No there isn’t.

Policeman: There is. Unfortunately, mate, it’s a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act"

Well, actually, constable, it is just isn't and you are an ignoramus for knowing so little about the law that you were claiming to arrest someone for!

And to cap it all the arresting officer actually arrests him for a "racially aggravated public order offence". Yep - racially aggravated!


You just can't make this stuff up!

Nevertheless, Dale Mcalpine was arrested, taken to a police station, made to give his DNA and fingerprints and eventually charged.

What then happened?

Err...well.... all the charges were dropped.

Straight away.

Like that.

Poof - gone - out the door.


Once the facts of the case were examined by Crown Prosecutors, lawyers and police officers who were capable of using more than one brain cell at a time, it became blatantly obvious that there was no such law as the heavy-handed officers of the law had falsely claimed.

How could this be contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act? It has never been any part of the Public Order Act to decide what is or is not "a sin" and it is not illegal to say that any form of behaviour is "a sin".

So - were the 3 police officers and 2 PCSOs involved in this situation just plain stupid or is there a problem with the wording of the law itself?

Section 5 actually reads as follows:

"Public Order Act 1986, s. 5 Harassment, alarm and distress

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he–

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

(2) An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3) It is a defence for the accused to prove–
(a) that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or
(b) that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or
(c) that his conduct was reasonable.


S6(4)Mental element: miscellaneous)

A person is guilty of an offence under section 5 only if he intends his words or behaviour, or the writing, sign or other visible representation, to be threatening, abusive or insulting, or is aware that it may be threatening, abusive or insulting or (as the case may be) he intends his behaviour to be or is aware that it may be disorderly"

Sothe Police had to decide that Mr Mcalpine was using "threatening, abusive or insulting words" when he said that "homosexuality was a sin".

There is no legal definition of "threatening, abusive or insulting" and the words are to be taken in their normal and natural meaning.

Clearly, the phrase "homosexuality is a sin" is not "threatening", nor "abusive".

Someone might, conceivably, consider it "insulting". But should it be an offence to use words that are merely subjectively insulting?

Where does that end?

If an MP attacks another MP over his policies is that now an offence?

The question has but to be stated for its answer to be obvious. Of course, it cannot and should not be criminal. In fact, it is simply not criminal. The police officers were simply off on a crazy frolic of their own.

The proper view must be that the words "threatening, abusive or insulting" ought to be taken together, that Mr Mcalpine could not be said to have caused "alarm, harassment or distress" and/or his conduct was perfectly reasonable (per s.5(3)(c)).

Doubtless, the CPS came to their conclusion for these or similar reasons and the charges had to be dropped.

Did anyone apologise to Mr Mcalpine? I doubt it!

There have been numerous similar incidents of police over-reaction to complaints of Homophobia, Islamaphobia, racism etc and the reason for this is the abysmally low standard of training of police officers regarding the dubious concept of "hate crime".

Common sense and the right to freedom of speech seem to have been left on the shelf at the police station.

Now view the video and see what I mean. The uniformed official grinning vacantly in the background is apparently the PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) who had actually called the police to report Mr Mcalpine for "Homophobia" (which is not an offence known to the law).

With thanks and acknowledgments to Neil Addison (barrister) at