Mark Steyn, the Canadian columnist who writes for The Spectator, The Australian and “other journals, compares the new Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper to John Howard.
I was interested in an observation in his piece in The Australian on 25 January, “A Howardesque leader in Canada”: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17927365%255E7583,00.html
He wrote that: “…a couple of years ago, at some international confab, I introduced him to a British cabinet minister as "leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition", neglecting to specify the realm.
From the momentarily startled look on his face, the Blairite bigwig seemed to think I was introducing him to that week’s UK Tory leader. British Conservatives should be so lucky”.
It is a useful reminder to politicians that they are not all powerful, that there is an institution which enjoys precedence over them. As we revealed on the 28 November, 2005, the Hon. Bob Carr says that “the potentially corrupting role of the vice-regal office” (Why Bob Carr ejected the governor: http://norepublic.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=292&Itemid=4) was the real reason for his decision to throw the NSW Governor out of Government House.
The reason proffered at the time different. It was that the House was to be " returned to the people".
Mr Carr claims that the "reserve powers" that Sir John Kerr used in 1975 did not exist.
The trappings of vice-regal life had drawn Sir John to the "delusion" that his role was to exercise real power rather than serve as a ceremonial figurehead.
"Living in the gilded cage of Admiralty House and Government House at Yarralumla, being attended on by security chiefs, ambassadors and visiting heads of state, created the illusion in this man that the paper role of governor-general had a reality."
Politicians need to know their place.
As it has been said, I think attributed to Churchill , “The importance of the Crown is not so much the power it has, it is the power it denies others”
If politicians understand that they answer to the Crown , and therefore to the people, they will understand better that by being elected they were not made, and were never intended by the people to be omnipotent.