Tuesday 30 August 2022
Always confront the Right with three Tests. First, the America Test: would his be acceptable in the United States? Secondly, the Union Test: would this be considered a threat to the Union in any part of the United Kingdom? And thirdly, the Enoch Test: would Enoch Powell have supported this? Unless the answers are at least two, and arguably all three, of Yes to the first, No to the second, and Yes to the third, then whatever the Right is proposing fails in the Right's own terms.
Well and truly failing the Enoch Test is the cession by Crown and Parliament of the right to choose the Prime Minister to the paying members of a private club, including to people who were ineligible to vote in elections to the House of Commons.
That enfranchisement of foreign nationals, of overseas residents, and of foreigners living outside the United Kingdom, is firmly in the same tradition as the assertion against the French Revolution of aristocratic world citizenship, of the right and duty to rule over wherever and whoever might happen to come to hand.
It is not an accident that there is no nationality or residency requirement to inherit a peerage, which still confers special voting rights for Parliament. Nor is there any nationality or residency requirement to inherit the Throne, or even to exercise the powers of the monarch; the law has not changed since Edward VII summoned Asquith to Biarritz to kiss hands in 1908. Voting for the elected hereditary peers can also presumably be done from anywhere.
The next monarch will be the son of an immigrant, through whom at least the next three monarchs will be Princes of the House of Oldenburg in general, and of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg in particular. Likewise, there is no nationality or residency requirement to vote in a Conservative Leadership Election, and thus for Prime Minister.
And that enfranchisement of children, officially from the age of 15 upwards but no one is checking, expresses the adultification of the upper classes, ordering underlings around practically from the cradle, commanding sums of money far in excess of most workers' wages well before having left school, living away from home for more than half the year from a very early age, driving on private land and on the public roads between it almost as soon as they can sit up at a steering wheel, discharging firearms with live ammunition not that long after having learned to walk, drinking heavily and being sexually active pretty much from puberty, and so on.
There may be conventions, but are there specific minimum ages to vote in those elections among hereditary peers, and for a monarch to exercise the Royal Prerogative? Likewise, there is no minimum age at all to join the Conservative Party, and while the minimum age to vote in its Leadership Election, and thus for Prime Minister, is a mere 15, even then no one is checking. Depending on who was running it, such a check would be considered either ungentlemanly or impertinent.