Comments

  1. Moggie says

    Since royalty often gets a mention here, I thought this might be of interest: Prince Charles has been offered a veto over 12 government bills since 2005 (secretly, until now):

    Ministers have been forced to seek permission from Prince Charles to pass at least a dozen government bills, according to a Guardian investigation into a secretive constitutional loophole that gives him the right to veto legislation that might impact his private interests.
    Since 2005, ministers from six departments have sought the Prince of Wales’ consent to draft bills on everything from road safety to gambling and the London Olympics, in an arrangement described by constitutional lawyers as a royal “nuclear deterrent” over public policy. Unlike royal assent to bills, which is exercised by the Queen as a matter of constitutional law, the prince’s power applies when a new bill might affect his own interests, in particular the Duchy of Cornwall, a private £700m property empire that last year provided him with an £18m income.
    Neither the government nor Clarence House will reveal what, if any, alterations to legislation Charles has requested, or exactly why he was asked to grant consent to such a wide range of laws.
    Correspondence seen by the Guardian reveals that one minister wrote to the prince’s office requesting his consent to a new bill about planning reform because it was “capable of applying to … [the] Prince of Wales’ private interests”.

    This individual, not even a member of parliament, gets to secretly permit or block legislation which might hit him in the pocket:

    Berkeley is also harbour commissioner at the port of Fowey in Cornwall and he ran up against the prince’s powers last month when he sponsored a private members’ bill on marine navigation. On 6 September, a blunt letter from a clerk in the House of Lords bill office arrived on his desk.
    “Dear Lord Berkeley,” it began. “The marine navigation bill that you introduced on 5 July would affect the Prince of Wales’ interests and so will require the Prince of Wales’ consent for its consideration by parliament … The government whips office in the Lords and the parliamentary branch of the Department of Transport are aware of what is required.” Berkeley was told it was a matter of “if” not when the prince would grant consent.
    “It was extremely vague about why [it affected the prince's interests],” Berkeley recalled. “It will be one of those things which nobody here [in the Lords] will want to rock the boat about, but I think it is worth rocking. He shouldn’t be able to do this. I basically think it has nothing to do with him.”
    Downing Street officials say part of the reason the prince has the right to consent is because, through his position as the Prince of Wales, he is the beneficiary of the Duchy of Cornwall – a private landholding set up as a kind of trust fund for the son of Edward III, known as “the Black Prince” who became Prince of Wales in 1343. The crown has an interest in the duchy, which funds Charles’s multi-millionaire lifestyle, and in the same way that legislation that affects the crown’s interest must receive the Queen’s consent, bills that affect the Duchy of Cornwall’s interests must be agreed by the prince, who is also the Duke of Cornwall.
    Where a bill affects the “hereditary revenues, personal property or other interests” of the Duchy of Cornwall, then “the consent of … the Prince of Wales must be signified in both houses [of parliament] before the bill is passed,” Cabinet Office guidance states.

    How is it fair that one rich guy can block a bill which will reduce his income, simply because of which birth canal he emerged from?

  2. amblebury says

    Thank you for the thoughts about my dog. It really does make a difference, knowing people get it.

    I had another crying jag this morning, and that’s OK, she was worth it.

    And yep, I’ll take the boozes.

  3. Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor says

    And this is what I posted in response to Trinioler: I was told it should be shared.

    Our Landlord, Who art on the first floor, hollered by thy name. My sink is clogged, let it once more flow, here as in your apartment. Give us this day our daily mail delivery, and deliver us from roaches. For thine is the phone and the expense account and the handyman. Arent.

  4. says

    Well, here’s a moment of banker-madness:
    In Germany, there’s one bank that needed a bailout of over 100 billion €. No, I didn’t get those numbers wrong.
    Since they didn’t want another Lehman Brothers, it was bailed out and brought under government control.
    The shareholders complained heavily that the government even paid them a small amount for their totally worthless shares and screamed “expropriation! Socialism!”
    So now this bank is publicly owned and therefore all their debts and losses are tax-payer debts and losses.
    So this week they found out that they “misplaced” 55 billion. I’m not kidding. Somehow they overlooked them in their balances.
    55 billion is the budget for my state for about 15 years (OK, it’s the small one. Think Vermont or something like that).
    Fortunately it was 55 billion on the “have” side.
    But, yeah, makes you totally trust them.

  5. says

    If anyone is awake, care to swing by and tell me if the site looks ok ? Love interest (my beta-tester lol) reports some pages look mangled right now…

  6. NuMad says

    I find it baffling that they managed to squeeze out a sequel for this piece of cinematic feces.

    Perhaps the objective is to make the Human Centipede into a metaphor for its own sequelization?

  7. Beatrice says

    It looks a bit wonky to me too. Some posts are too far on the left, covering links on that side.
    That’s on IE. I don’t have anything else to test it with right now.

  8. says

    It looks a bit wonky to me too. Some posts are too far on the left, covering links on that side.

    Argh ! WTH ? No idea why that’s happening, that’s exactly what love interest said, also on IE. It looks fine to me here on FF.

    Thanks for the feedback !

  9. says

    Top 2 entries look fine; then after that the main text is at left, over and on top of the left sidebar text. Possibly something to do with your embedded video??? (FF 7.0 Beta; MacOSX)

  10. Carlie says

    Huh – if you click on the Google Halloween doodle, the search results give you a Chick tract about Halloween the fifth result down. Not sure what to think about that.

  11. says

    Moggie: The Guardian article is bizarre; there is no “constitutional loophole” that “forces” ministers to obtain Prince Charles’ consent to anything. :-/ He doesn’t have a legal right to veto legislation. If ministers have been consulting him on bills that affect his interests, it’s because they’ve chosen to do so as a matter of courtesy, not because he has any legal right to be consulted.

  12. says

    (And I don’t have any problem with Prince Charles being consulted on legislation that affects his interests. He is, after all, the future King, and his opinions should be taken seriously.)

  13. Matt Penfold says

    And I don’t have any problem with Prince Charles being consulted on legislation that affects his interests. He is, after all, the future King, and his opinions should be taken seriously.

    No more so than anyone else’s. There is certainly no reason to specifically consult him. If he wants to make a submission during a consultation period that is up to him, but I see no reason any such submission should be given special treatment.

  14. says

    Conspiracy theorists

    Janine, I know. The European left has a lot of them, so I know. But still it hurts to actually see them in action.

    British constitution
    Technical question: isn’t a lot of it unwritten? So if there was an unwritten rule that MPs obtain consent by the Prince of Wales, wouldn’t that then be correct to call it a constitutional requirement?

    Be it as it may, I applaud the Guardian for calling attention to this despicable practice. The crown shouldn’t be in charge of such vast land holdings anyways. Hopefully the article will create some more awareness among the UK public.

    Interesting news out of Switzerland:

    the Bishop of Chur wants to stop funding for an “abortion counseling centre”,*) to the tune of 15,000 SFR, but apparently in Chur Catholic bishops don’t have absolute power over their diocese, because he had to put that request to the diocesan parliament, which was turned down.

    http://www.sonntagszeitung.ch/nachrichten/artikel-detailseiten/?newsid=195142

    *) I don’t know how abortion works in Chur. In Germany, you need a certificate that you went to a counseling centre. Pope John Paul II called them “death warrants” and ordered all Catholic organisations not to participate any longer (so Catholic laypeople started an autonomous organisation called “Donum vitae” that receives no church funding). Looks like the State Church of Chur (“Landeskirche”, in Germany only refers to Lutheran synods, but apparently that’s the term for the Catholic Church in the canton of Chur) is more autonomous than its German counterparts. The bishop is this guy.

  15. says

    Bear in mind that the Duchy of Cornwall has a special legal status in English law. As Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles has certain legal rights over the Duchy which other landowners do not have.

  16. says

    Bear in mind that the Duchy of Cornwall has a special legal status in English law. As Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles has certain legal rights over the Duchy which other landowners do not have.

    And do explain to us why this is supposed to be a good thing?

    Maybe raised awareness will cause some outrage so that the next non-Conservative government can get rid of those privileges. One can dream…

  17. Ing says

    (And I don’t have any problem with Prince Charles being consulted on legislation that affects his interests. He is, after all, the future King, and his opinions should be taken seriously.)

    Circle jerkular reasoning there.

    His interests are affected because he is king…and he gets a say in that because he is king and thus IMPORTANT.

  18. Ing says

    Bear in mind that the Duchy of Cornwall has a special legal status in English law. As Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles has certain legal rights over the Duchy which other landowners do not have.

    Yes, Squeeler, we read the barn. Some animals are indeed more equal than others.

  19. says

    Technical question: isn’t a lot of it unwritten? So if there was an unwritten rule that MPs obtain consent by the Prince of Wales, wouldn’t that then be correct to call it a constitutional requirement?

    No, it’s more complicated than that. There are royal prerogative powers which are unwritten, and which form part of the law. (Despite the name, the royal prerogative powers are now mostly exercised on the advice of the government; they’re equivalent to what would be termed “executive powers” in republics.) However, the list of royal prerogative powers is closed; new ones cannot develop by custom and practice. It doesn’t work that way.

    However, there are also unwritten constitutional conventions, which are simply practices and do not have the force of law. For instance, it is a convention that the Prime Minister is always First Lord of the Treasury, that the Queen always appoints the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons as Prime Minister, and that the Queen does not personally take sides or interfere in party politics. None of these conventions are legally binding, in the sense of being enforceable in court; but it would cause a constitutional crisis if a future monarch were ever to depart from them.

  20. says

    Occupy Berlin

    After several failed attempts to find a place in central Berlin, they finally were able to come to an arrangement with one real estate owner, the Lutheran Church of St. Peter’s. They can put up their tent city and protest until Wednesday.

  21. Ing says

    However, there are also unwritten constitutional conventions, which are simply practices and do not have the force of law. For instance, it is a convention that the Prime Minister is always First Lord of the Treasury, that the Queen always appoints the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons as Prime Minister, and that the Queen does not personally take sides or interfere in party politics. None of these conventions are legally binding, in the sense of being enforceable in court; but it would cause a constitutional crisis if a future monarch were ever to depart from them.

    And you’re in favor of this system that can basically ear fuck the people’s rights based on one rich guy’s whim? Nice.

  22. says

    Thanks, Walton, despite not knowing the details and getting the terminology wrong, it’s reassuring to see that my understanding of it was correct.

    It’s a bit weird to have unwritten conventions and no written constitution per se. All the Acts of Parliament that come close to playing the role of constitution in other countries could be changed by a simple majority.

    This kind of system wouldn’t work well in many countries, I think..

  23. says

    I just don’t understand the amount of anger about this. Why does it matter? Prince Charles, while a bit wooish, is a decent person who cares about the environment and sustainability, has devoted much of the Duchy’s income to public and charitable works, and has campaigned for tougher action against climate change and has worked to reduce his own estate’s carbon emissions. He even received the Global Environmental Citizen award in 2007. Given his commitment to environmentalism, I’d far, far, far rather have him weighing in on environmental legislation than most elected politicians. (Contrast with the US, where many of the people who get a say in these matters are denialist morons like James Inhofe.)

  24. says

    I just don’t understand the amount of anger about this. Why does it matter?

    While we probably don’t disagree that privilege of rich white people reigns supreme everywhere in the West, the monarchy is an embodiment of this principle. That might make some people here angry…

  25. Matt Penfold says

    I just don’t understand the amount of anger about this. Why does it matter?

    It matters because Charlie is given a privileged position denied those who are his mother’s subjects. Let his views stand or fall on their merits, not because of who he is. Politicians needs to ask themselves, if he were not the heir to the throne, would he betting the same attention from me.

  26. says

    I just don’t understand the amount of anger about this. Why does it matter? Prince Charles, while a bit wooish, is a decent person who cares about the environment and sustainability, has devoted much of the Duchy’s income to public and charitable works, and has campaigned for tougher action against climate change and has worked to reduce his own estate’s carbon emissions. He even received the Global Environmental Citizen award in 2007. Given his commitment to environmentalism, I’d far, far, far rather have him weighing in on environmental legislation than most elected politicians. (Contrast with the US, where many of the people who get a say in these matters are denialist morons like James Inhofe.)

    When your only assurance is “Don’t worry, you can trust ME” your system is a no-go. The problem with 1940s Germany wasn’t that it was Hitler who was in charge.

    And the merits of Prince Chucky are irrelevent, that’s the point! He’d have the same privileges and undue power even if he was a horrible person just by nature of his birth.

  27. says

    So what’s your justification that someone just by hereditary principle should inherit this kind of riches:

    The principal activity of the duchy is the management of its land and properties. The duchy also has a financial investment portfolio. The duchy owns land totalling 540.9 km² (or 133,700 acres). Nearly half of the holdings are in Devon, with other large holdings in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Somerset and Wales.[1][2] For the fiscal year 2007, the duchy was valued at £647 million, and annual profit in 2007 was £16.3 million, thus yielding 2.5%.[3]

    And you keep telling me a ceremonial presidency would cost a lot too. I don’t think they’d give the president’s children an estate worth 1b USD….

  28. says

    So what’s your justification that someone just by hereditary principle should inherit this kind of riches:

    While there are Socialists who want to outlaw inheritance altogether, I would think that’d be a tad extreme. What I meant of course is that why should in this day and age the Crown hold this kind of riches?

    I don’t dare to look around, because the results might depress me, but I really hope that in the other monarchies in Europe the royal houses have had more common sense and given up this kind of holdings to the state…

  29. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Machine gun the lot of them, toss the bodies in an open pit and throw lime on top.

  30. Psych-Oh says

    Happy Halloween! I can’t wait for my kids to go out tonight so that I can rummage through their goodies and sneak some for myself. Mmmmmm, chocolate.

    I don’t get the whole prince/landholding thing. Do people live on that land?

  31. says

    While there are Socialists who want to outlaw inheritance altogether,

    Of course not, but the fact that money can stagnate and be left to grow mold and mildew in family vaults is why we have an estate tax and should use a progressive tax system. If we didn’t and still alow inheritance we would slide back into a feudal state as all the money would pool in a few blood lines and it would be like-Oh…..shit.

  32. says

    It’s a bit weird to have unwritten conventions and no written constitution per se. All the Acts of Parliament that come close to playing the role of constitution in other countries could be changed by a simple majority.

    Yep. There are several Acts which form part of the British constitution: the Bill of Rights 1689, the Act of Settlement 1701 (which deals with succession to the Crown), the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 (which reduced the powers of the House of Lords), the European Communities Act 1972 (which governs Britain’s relationship with the EU and makes certain EU legislation directly applicable in Britain), and the Human Rights Act 1998 (which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into English law). There are also several unwritten sources: the royal prerogative powers, the common law (which is developed through court decisions), and constitutional conventions.

    And yes, you’re right that any of the statutes of constitutional importance can be repealed by Parliament at any time through the ordinary legislative process. However, the courts have held in recent years that these constitutional Acts have a special status and that they cannot be impliedly repealed by later Acts of Parliament; rather, they can only be amended by express wording in a later Act of Parliament. (See Ex parte Factortame (No. 1) [1990] UKHL 7 and Thoburn v Sunderland City Council (2003) QB 151, both of which deal with the relationship between domestic and EU law.)

    On the subject of conventions, bear in mind that most countries, even those with written constitutions, do have some constitutional conventions of a similar nature. For instance, in the US, it’s only convention that establishes that the President is elected by popular vote. The Constitution provides for the President to be indirectly elected by the Electoral College, the members of which are elected state-by-state; although electors are supposed to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state, there have been faithless electors in the past who voted for a different candidate. Similarly, in many parliamentary democracies (Austria, for instance), the President has broad constitutional powers in theory, but, by convention, they are exercised in practice on the advice of the Prime Minister / Chancellor and government.

  33. says

    I will ask my Swedish family at some point though if Sweden has a similar legal construction to that of the UK, namely that the Crown owns all land (correct me if I’m wrong, it might just be most of the land), but just has given up administration of it to the State. Is that not also the reason why 99 year leases are quite common in the UK? (Again, correct me if I’m wrong)

  34. says

    And you keep telling me a ceremonial presidency would cost a lot too. I don’t think they’d give the president’s children an estate worth 1b USD….

    Why is this a bad thing? It doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything.* :-/ Surely it’s better to have a monarchy which pays for itself from the income from its own hereditary estates, rather than a presidency which would have to be funded completely by the taxpayer?

    (*In fact, although the Duchy of Cornwall is legally exempt from taxes, Prince Charles voluntarily chooses to pay income tax on his income from the Duchy, at the higher rate of 40 percent.)

  35. says

    For instance, in the US, it’s only convention that establishes that the President is elected by popular vote.

    You mean the electors are bound to the popular votes in their states. There have been several presidents who have been elected despite not having the popular vote.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)#Criticism_of_the_Electoral_College

    Regarding Austria, I’ve argued before that this kind of set-up needlessly creates the potential for constitutional crises, and it HAS done so in one case when Austria joined the EU, and it wasn’t clear if the president or the chancellor should be in charge of that.

  36. says

    @Walton that Charles VOLUNTARILY pays tax isn’t the issue. The issue is that there is nothing preventing him from not if he was a horrible person! And by rolls of the dice you are going to get Royals who are horrible. The system enshrines protection for upperclass twits who want to piss on others.

    Why is this a bad thing? It doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything

    Opportunity costs.

  37. says

    its own hereditary estates,

    From a republicanist viewpoint, these aren’t the Crown’s OWN estates, but those the Crown took from the people. Is that standpoint so hard to grasp?

  38. says

    @Pelamun

    “Their ancestors owned our ancestors as property and abused, stole from, raped, exploited and were free to murder us with relative little risk for generations…because of that we must still exalt them over ourselves!”

    Walton, your justification is roughly the same as if here in the states we insisted that black people continue to show deference to the descendants of plantation owners.

  39. says

    Trying to have any sort of democracy or equality with a monarchy just shows hwo the system is a huge joke.

    The privileged position you have to be born into, and there’s virtually no chance you can fail out of it because you’re taken care of…even if you’re a total fuck up in business and humanity you’ll be taken care of due to birth.

    On the other hand the peasants cannot rise via merit to that position, and if they can be ruined by chance or personal failure.

    The only difference between this and the 1% is that this is literally codified into law.

  40. Matt Penfold says

    In fact, although the Duchy of Cornwall is legally exempt from taxes, Prince Charles voluntarily chooses to pay income tax on his income from the Duchy, at the higher rate of 40 percent

    Why not just make him liable to taxation the same as everyone else ? He does not deserve brownie points for this.

    I bet he has had offered a back-dated contribution either.

  41. says

    I mean for me the minimum requirement for any monarchical system to at least become acceptable is for them to give up the traditional landholdings to the state. Let them keep a palace or two, and a countryside manor etc. But I can’t take seriously any kind of monarchical system where the monarch not only retains symbolical privilege, but also considerable economic privilege in the form of land and other business interests (AKA Liechtenstein Inc.)

  42. says

    @Pelamun

    It’s an insult however to keep a palace for a monarchy if you have any population of homeless. It is the state deciding “THESE people are worth supporting, but the others can die for all we care” Tiered equality means no equality at all.

  43. says

    I will ask my Swedish family at some point though if Sweden has a similar legal construction to that of the UK, namely that the Crown owns all land (correct me if I’m wrong, it might just be most of the land), but just has given up administration of it to the State. Is that not also the reason why 99 year leases are quite common in the UK? (Again, correct me if I’m wrong)

    You’re not quite right. Formally, the Crown holds “allodial title” to all land in England and Wales; this is, however, a formal technicality. It doesn’t mean that the Crown actually exercises any rights over the land, other than over its own landholdings (the Crown Estate and the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall).

    Landowners, in England, are said to own an estate in land: that is, a set of rights and powers over a particular piece of land. There are two kinds of estate: a freehold and a leasehold. A freehold effectively equates to full ownership of the land, and continues indefinitely. A leasehold confers rights over the land for a fixed period (which may be anything from a week to hundreds of years). Both freeholds and leaseholds are property rights, and can be sold and transferred.

    (Not everyone who rents property has a leasehold; some – such as students living in halls of residence, or lodgers living in someone’s house – have a contractual license, which is not a property right, but simply a contractual right to occupy the land.)

    The prevalence of 99-year leases has nothing to do with the Crown. Rather, it’s because, in English law, “positive covenants” – that is to say, legally-enforceable obligations to one’s neighbours to do certain things, such as to maintain a wall or a fence on one’s property – cannot be transmitted from one freehold owner to another. Because of this, in some cases, developers – particularly of blocks of flats / apartments – get around this by granting the buyer a 99-year leasehold instead of a freehold, meaning that positive covenants can be enforced against the buyer.

  44. says

    @Walton

    Like I said the issue is a simple one “Some people are MORE equal than others”. I don’t know how you can reconcile that position that is inherent in monarchism.

  45. says

    You mean the electors are bound to the popular votes in their states. There have been several presidents who have been elected despite not having the popular vote.

    Yes, I meant the state-by-state popular vote. Obviously, since most states allocate their electoral votes on a “winner-takes-all” basis, a candidate can win the Electoral College despite not winning the popular vote. (There’s nothing to stop states allocating their electoral votes on a more proportionate basis, but most of them don’t do so.)

  46. says

    Well Ing, you know I’m not exactly a supporter of the monarchy. I was just merely offering as a gesture of good will, my minimum requirements for even taking the idea of monarchism in this day and age seriously.

    But palaces would be kept by the state anyways, as part of the cultural heritage yaddayaddayadda. Or tourism magnets.

    I mean the US has the White House, Camp David, Number One Observatory Circle, Blair House. These all cost money too, but they’re necessary.

    But a monarchy would probably need more of this, this is why a monarchy is more expensive than a ceremonial presidency.

  47. says

    @Walton

    The “You too” isn’t a good argument for one.

    For two, there are huge problems with the US voting system

    For three, there are huge problems with the current model of voting in general, apparently (if the science proposed the last Skeptoid is to be believed)

  48. says

    But a monarchy would probably need more of this, this is why a monarchy is more expensive than a ceremonial presidency.

    Except it’s not. In general, monarchies don’t cost any more than presidencies do. (Sometimes less, where they support themselves from their own hereditary wealth, as some royal families do.)

  49. says

    Walton, thanks re freehold and leasehold. Someone must’ve confused some stuff when explaining the UK situation to me.

    Well, I guess I can’t get worked up about “allodial title”. As long as the UK is a monarchy, many institutions bear the name of the “Crown”, so I understand that.

    So how large are the Crown lands? Wikipedia is not exactly precised about this. Do the two Duchies count as Crown lands? Apparently they go to the Crown if there is no Duke, but if there is, they are apart from the Crown lands?

  50. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Well, don’t blame me. It wasn’t me who raised the topic this time. :-p

    But you sure as shit took the bait.

  51. says

    Except it’s not. In general, monarchies don’t cost any more than presidencies do. (Sometimes less, where they support themselves from their own hereditary wealth, as some royal families do.)

    They did so well exploiting people in the past they don’t have to anymore!

    I’m done.

  52. says

    Sometimes less, where they support themselves from their own hereditary wealth, as some royal families do.)

    As I’ve tried to explain to you, those don’t count in my calculations. These lands didn’t come into the possession of the royal families because of their hard work, but because of their privilege, because their ancestors ruled over the ancestors of their subjects.

    In any decent revolution that ousted a monarch, these kinds of lands have been turned over to the state, except for certain palaces and the lands around those palaces.

    So this is not exactly a Socialist position.

    Ing: “apparently” as a qualifier just says that you’re taking other people’s word for it. I don’t think it’s a problem

  53. says

    @Pelamun

    But why not “supposedly” or something like that. It’s odd that it’s using the term apparent when something most likely wasn’t apparent and is referring to new information.

    Example

    A: “we’re not looking at the mistress for the murder?
    B: “Apparently, the insects found in the body indicate he was murdered at a time when she was over seas”

  54. says

    Ing,

    language isn’t always logical. Often words develop new meaning and usages away from their original meanings. That’s a perfectly normal process.

  55. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    As long as there is the haze of time and ceremonies that can be performed, the violence inherent in monarchy becomes legitimate.

  56. says

    @Pelamun

    Yes but it’s still amusing to find oddities like that… they’re like sociological Easter eggs.

    Though by that logic should we be lenient or strict on correcting usages of “ironic”

    Coloquial use means now “any funny coincidence”

  57. says

    So how large are the Crown lands? Wikipedia is not exactly precised about this. Do the two Duchies count as Crown lands? Apparently they go to the Crown if there is no Duke, but if there is, they are apart from the Crown lands?

    They’re legally separate, yes.

    The Crown Estate is the collective term for the lands and assets belonging to “the Crown”. (In law, the Crown is a “corporation sole” – that is, a corporation consisting of one person – and has a legal identity separate from the Queen personally.) The Crown Estate is worth around £7.3 billion in total, and brought in an income of £230.9 million last year. It includes most of the foreshore and seabed, large tracts of rural land including Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park, and some areas of central London, such as Regent Street. Under an agreement originally made by George III and renewed by each successive Sovereign, all this money is paid to the Treasury; the monarch does not keep any of it personally. (In exchange, Parliament provides the Sovereign with an annuity, known as the Civil List; this is a much smaller amount, around £7.9 million a year.)

    The Duchy of Lancaster, by contrast, is owned by the Queen in her capacity as Duke of Lancaster (not Duchess, for some reason). The income from the Duchy of Lancaster, about £13 million a year, is received by the Queen’s Treasurer (the “Keeper of the Privy Purse”) and is used to cover the expenses of the Royal Household.

    The Queen also owns certain other properties in her private capacity, such as Balmoral and Sandringham. These belong to the monarch personally rather than to the Crown; so when Edward VIII abdicated, he remained owner of Balmoral and Sandringham, and his successor, George VI, had to buy these properties from him. (By contrast, the other palaces, such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, are Crown properties and pass automatically to each new monarch.)

  58. says

    Also, “apparently” probably means “it APPEARS from the following information”, so it can refer to something that you weren’t aware of before you got this information.

    Also, “It appears so” like “It seems so” is used on its own for info you didn’t experience yourself.

    The linguistic term is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidentiality

  59. says

    These lands didn’t come into the possession of the royal families because of their hard work, but because of their privilege, because their ancestors ruled over the ancestors of their subjects.

    That’s true of many people who own land, if one goes far back enough. (Which is why the anarchocapitalist idea of “homesteading” and “natural rights” in land is utter bullshit: most property rights in land, the world over, were originally created when some people dispossessed some other people by brute force, from the Norman Conquest in England to the dispossession of indigenous peoples in the Americas. But I digress.)

  60. says

    Thanks, Walton.

    So the Crown formally gives up the Crown lands to the state, and we can start talking. And I’d say the Duchy of Cornwall too. Maybe they can keep the Duchy of Lancaster as a compromise.

  61. says

    That’s true of many people who own land, if one goes far back enough.

    That is true, and acknowledged by most here. But those other land owners don’t have a privileged position enshrined into constitutional law. That’s the difference.

  62. says

    That’s true of many people who own land, if one goes far back enough. (Which is why the anarchocapitalist idea of “homesteading” and “natural rights” in land is utter bullshit: most property rights in land, the world over, were originally created when some people dispossessed some other people by brute force, from the Norman Conquest in England to the dispossession of indigenous peoples in the Americas. But I digress.)

    Walton is drives me nuts when you do this. You site a position you disagree with, to defend a position you do. “Natural rights” etc is bullshit…just like the Monarchy’s claim which is ok since other people use the natural rights and homesteading”

    GAAAAAAH

  63. says

    Abortion in Switzerland

    So I checked Wikipedia. In Switzerland, abortion is lawful if it occurs within 12 weeks after the last period of the pregnant woman, and is done after thorough consultation with a doctor.

    No need for a consultation certificate like in Germany.

    So the Catholic counseling centres were just informing women about the legalities, and as Catholic supporters of this kind of centre always like to say, “trying to save lives”. But because these centres actually do have a more realistic perspective of women’s lives, they might also advise a woman about doctors that might help her have an abortion, and thus probably the bishop’s outrage.

    In the case of John Paul II ordering the German bishops to pull any support for the “abortion business”, it was because those centres had been made a legal part of the process by the law.

  64. says

    So the Crown formally gives up the Crown lands to the state, and we can start talking.

    They’re effectively state properties already. Like I said, the Queen gives up the revenues of the Crown Estate to the Treasury. The Crown Estate is administered by civil servants, under the supervision of Parliament, and is treated like public land in other countries.

    I forgot to mention, though, that the system is actually changing from 2013 onwards. Under legislation brought forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, the Civil List will be abolished; instead of receiving an annuity from Parliament, the Queen will receive a portion of the revenues from the Crown Estate, to be known as the “Sovereign Support Grant”. So the monarchy will no longer receive any direct taxpayer funding.

  65. says

    They’re effectively state properties already.

    To this republicanist, there’s a huge difference between “effectively” and “really”.

    So the monarchy will no longer receive any direct taxpayer funding.

    As long as the Crown retains a claim to the Crown estate and the Duchies, I will dismiss any kind of statement like that as royalist propaganda, or more benignly, “royalist twisting of words”.

  66. says

    Walton, maybe the Guardian article is bizarre, but they seem pretty clear about this: “Ministers have been forced to seek permission from Prince Charles to pass at least a dozen government bills, according to a Guardian investigation into a secretive constitutional loophole that gives him the right to veto legislation that might affect his private interests.”

    A veto right is not consulting.

  67. Matt Penfold says

    Walton,

    If Charlie is paying tax at 40% then he not paying the same rate as a mere mortal would with the same income. The top rate in the UK is 50% on income over £150,000.

  68. says

    While his music may annoy me, Justin Bieber is at least right on something:

    In the interview, Bieber said that he had no objection to fans uploading videos of themselves singing Justin Bieber songs. “Are you kidding me? I check YouTube all the time and watch people singing my songs. I think it’s awesome,” he said.

    “People need to have the freedoms,” he said. “People need to be able to sing songs. I just think that’s ridiculous.”

    The legislation in question was introduced in the Senate in May, and makes it a felony to show 10 or more “public performances” by electronic means in any 180-day period. Although it appears to be intended to target the streaming of Hollywood movies and copyrighted sports broadcasts, some legal experts believe it would apply to user-created videos like the ones that made Bieber famous.

    Good show, Biebs.

    —–

    Also holy crap there’s an ad on this page that scares the heck out of me. It’s the John Freida hair color at Target ad. The woman looks cut and paste, her head and shoulders are in really weird proporations, her neck is not visible, so it looks like her head is floating about four inches forward from her shoulders – or turned more than 90 degrees to the side… creeeepy.

  69. Richard Austin says

    Today’s xkcd has the best point made in the alt text:

    I just noticed CVS has started stocking homeopathic pills on the same shelves with–and labeled similarly to–their actual medicine. Telling someone who trusts you that you’re giving them medicine, when you know you’re not, because you want their money, isn’t just lying–it’s like an example you’d make up if you had to illustrate for a child why lying is wrong.

  70. Matt Penfold says

    I forgot to mention, though, that the system is actually changing from 2013 onwards. Under legislation brought forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, the Civil List will be abolished; instead of receiving an annuity from Parliament, the Queen will receive a portion of the revenues from the Crown Estate, to be known as the “Sovereign Support Grant”. So the monarchy will no longer receive any direct taxpayer funding.

    The money would otherwise go the Treasury. All that is happening is money will be diverted before it gets to the Treasury. The tax payer will be no better off, since what it gains in not paying the Civil List it will lose in reduced income from the Crown Estates.

  71. Carlie says

    It read to me like it isn’t that Charles gets consulted, it’s that he has total veto power. That’s a different thing entirely. And it’s specifically for legislation that might affect his profits, which is a rather troubling metric to use to decide which laws to give someone veto power over. In fact, here we tend to see that as a conflict of interest and refuse to give people power over legislation that could have an affect on their own assets.

  72. Algernon says

    Last night I could not sleep because I couldn’t stop coughing. I broke down and took some tussionex. It worked and I stopped coughing, but I forgot how nauseous that stuff makes me. After a few rounds of the heaves I took some promethazine. That helped, but the strange thing with me is that both of these drugs have a non-sedative effect on me so once I stopped feeling sick to my stomach I just felt kind of hyper but incredibly unintelligent. So I did some laundry, washed the dishes, and took care of some chores until around 2. Then I woke up at 4:30 and started getting ready for work.

    I ended up late for work, but I am here in my Dorothy costume as I promised I would be (my team wanted to dress with a theme and volunteered me for Dorothy).

    I feel more like Judy Garland on her way to rehab though.

    Just thought I’d share.

  73. Algernon says

    I can not think. Too sleepy. I may slink off to my car for lunch and take a nap in lieu of eating.

  74. Sili says

    Carlie says:

    Sili, did the encounter go ok? (or don’t say, if you don’t want to)

    Certainly coulda gone worse. No screaming and complaining. A generic “thanks” for my wellwishes with a noncommittal clarification. (Things could be better, but hopefully they’ll improve.)

    Gracefully polite.

  75. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    I’d like to recommend a small, Halloween-compatible amusement that a friend of mine offered as a challenge: to compose a short, humorous epitaph for yourself, or someone you know who would take it in the humorous spirit in which it is intended. Mine:

    Here in this grave, cicely’s planted—
    Played the oboe ’til she panted.
    Pulled a vacuum in her head
    Which then imploded. Now she’s dead.

    Anyone?
    :)
    -

  76. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    (*In fact, although the Duchy of Cornwall is legally exempt from taxes, Prince Charles voluntarily chooses to pay income tax on his income from the Duchy, at the higher rate of 40 percent.)

    Sticking points bolded.
    -

  77. says

    Well, I oppose church privileges for the same reason. In Western Europe, they often go back to feudal times too, despite various rounds of secularisation (as a legal process of socialising church property).

    Of course other land owners do plenty irresponsible things too. A current example from NYC might suffice). But this is where Social Democrats (i.e. those Socialists not revolutionarily inclined) must comprise, you can’t set up committees looking into the behaviour of landlords, that’s just not compatible with a Western democracy.

    But one doesn’t have to condone constitutionally granted privileges to groups that seek to protect their ill-gotten gains that way.

    I actually found the discussion worthwhile, as a reminder of what kind of privileges the UK monarchy still enjoys. So thanks for that.

    PS: I haven’t been able to find definitive statements about how much the Swedish Royal Family owns. Swedish republicanist websites don’t mention it. This Independent article gives a good overview of various Royal Families. The Swedish King is supposed to own 14m pounds, which is reasonable, compared to the monstrous 17b the Queen of England has.

  78. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Tactical error.

    Whatever, Chas. Why is there a bug shoved so far your fucking ass that it bothers you that a person expressed her hatred of the Dead a couple of years ago?

  79. Richard Austin says

    Cicely:

    Richard sought, as a burial place,
    An event horizon in nearby space -
    To rest in peace for eternity
    At limits of v as it approaches c.

  80. Matt Penfold says

    Every year The Sunday Times does a Top 500 British Rich List. The Queen normally comes pretty near the top the of the list, but every year the Times reports that it is all but impossible to separate what wealth she owns in her own right, and what wealth is in her control because she is the monarch.

  81. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    But why not “supposedly” or something like that.

    To me, “supposedly” comes with a delicate hint of dubiousness that “apparently” doesn’t; for example, “The check is supposedly in the mail”, where that claim has been made, but there is reason to doubt the truth of the claim. “The check is apparently in the mail” suggests that the check has been mailed, but has not yet been delivered.
    -

  82. Carlie says

    carlie has run out of time
    and now is buried beneath the lime
    her compost will make flowers bloom
    like yours will also one day soon

  83. MikeM says

    rorschach,

    This may just be the candy talking, but, on a flyer, try taking that space out between “day” and “!”.

    I don’t know if that will help, but that’s the first thing I’d consider.

    It’s probably up in that video link mess, though. I think there might be one too many /div’s up there somewhere — it’s kinda ugly. Pretty hard for the human eye to parse.

  84. ChasCPeterson says

    Janine: for fucks sake, I’m just trying to have a little bit of fun. Why don’t you lighten up a little bit? I neither insulted nor attacked you, just made a connection that I thought was funny. It’s light-hearted ribbing and nothing more, as is obvious to everybody else. Feel free to give me shit about hating mushrooms, or Madonna, or whatever; me, I’ll laugh. The appropriate response. If anybody’s got something up their ass here, it ain’t me.
    Jeez.

    I have to remark that it’s seldom any fun around here any more. Hence, the daily flounce. Seeya.

  85. Jessie says

    It’s getting dark in the UK, so I’m off out now as The Death of Rats, with Lacrimosa de Magpyr, Merlin and Cerberus. Have a good Halloween anyone who is celebrating.

  86. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    For fuck’s sake, Chas, I am not your friend. Have fun with someone else.

  87. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    So, Chas, should we bond over the fact that neither of us like Madonna. That I have not been in a hurry to do shrooms again after my first experience twenty five years ago.

    Why do you insist on having “fun” with someone who does not want to reciprocate?

  88. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Janine: I hear ya. Shrooms can be pretty scary when things decide to get weird.

    However, one thing I can say about shrooms and hallucinogens in general, as far as drugs go, is at least they aren’t really ‘habit forming’. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine the kind of person that would want to be on mushrooms all the time.

  89. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Carlie, I am happy that you loved it. I watched it twice before I posted it.

  90. Carlie says

    Seriously, what a happy thing. All the cast and crew got recognized, and I was thinking “I hope the Proclaimers don’t mind them using the song” and then there they were! Can’t wait to show my Who fanatic son tonight. Thanks for posting it. :)

  91. First Approximation says

    Carlie,

    And it’s specifically for legislation that might affect his profits, which is a rather troubling metric to use to decide which laws to give someone veto power over. In fact, here we tend to see that as a conflict of interest and refuse to give people power over legislation that could have an affect on their own assets.

    QFT.

    If the allegations by the Guardian article are accurate, then it’s an extremely disturbing situation.

  92. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    I have to remark that it’s seldom any fun around here any more.

    Dammit, Chas, I’m trying as hard as I can, but this teaspoon is only so big!
    -

  93. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Janine – THAT IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN.

    ^This.
    Both videos are now bookmarked, for gloomy mornings.

  94. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Please do, Rey Fox. Just so Chas can joke about you and have some fun.

  95. Katrina says

    Constant rain can seriously get on your nerves. It rained here every single day for about 2 months this “Spring”, and it wears on you.

    Only two months? That would have been fabulous. (Sez the girl in the great, gray Pacific Northwest.)

    RE: Lasagna

    When we lived in Italy, I followed an authentic recipe for Neapolitan Carnivale lasagna. Not only does it include ragu and besciamella, it also includes little tiny meatballs. I worked all day on that sucker. That night, at dinner the kids complained that they liked the lasagna the local grocery deli served better. So I stopped there to find out what they were using.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    It was Stouffer’s.

  96. Matt Penfold says

    If the allegations by the Guardian article are accurate, then it’s an extremely disturbing situation.

    The BBC is reporting that the PM does not see the need to change the law. It is also reporting that a spokesperson for Charlie has said this has been the case for hundreds of years, and is not specific to Charlie. Both comments would suggest that the story is correct.

    The BBC also reports neither the Government nor Prince Charles will reveal what changes to the law were involved. Which is pretty cowardly of them. I expect the Guardian will be making a FoI request.

  97. says

    and I do think i remember my Swedish relatives telling me that their King was always complaining that he owned only a little bit of money compared to other Royals.

    which is why the Swedish republicanists say that one of their goals was to “liberate the King” ( presuambly to make as much money as he wants, as a private citizen)

  98. Matt Penfold says

    Carlie, I have a question. Is it wrong for me to say I want to be in a four way with David, John and Catherine?

    That is even better than the Victoria Wood original!

  99. Carlie says

    . Is it wrong for me to say I want to be in a four way with David, John and Catherine?

    Only if you won’t let me in for a fifth.

    I am so ashamed for my earlier misuse of affect/effect. I do know the difference, I swear. I switched from “could affect” to it “could have an effect” in my brain and my fingers didn’t keep up.

  100. First Approximation says

    The BBC is reporting that the PM does not see the need to change the law. It is also reporting that a spokesperson for Charlie has said this has been the case for hundreds of years, and is not specific to Charlie. Both comments would suggest that the story is correct.

    Thanks. Also,

    ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    From the BBC:

    David Cameron has no plans to change laws which require the government to seek Prince Charles’s permission to pass legislation which could affect his private interests, Downing Street says.

    Clarence House said this was a “long-standing convention” and was not about seeking the prince’s personal views.

    Neither Downing Street nor Clarence House would say whether bills were altered as a result of objections from the heir to the throne.

    The prime minister’s spokeswoman said it was “protocol” for the prince to be consulted over some legislation, citing the parliamentary guide book, Erskine May, which said his consent was required on bills that affected the principality of Wales, the earldom of Chester and the Duchy of Cornwall – his private business and property empire.

    Time to change the fuckin’ parliamentary guide book.

  101. Matt Penfold says

    Time to change the fuckin’ parliamentary guide book.

    Can we change the Government and Royal Family at the same time ?

  102. Dianne says

    The Swedish King is supposed to own 14m pounds, which is reasonable, compared to the monstrous 17b the Queen of England has.

    Think how much the NHS could do with 17 billion. And if the UK would get over their delusion that they’re a world power and stop funding their military to ridiculous levels, that’d leave even more money available for funding the health care system. It might even get out of the chronic “crisis” it’s supposed to be in.

  103. Matt Penfold says

    It might even get out of the chronic “crisis” it’s supposed to be in.

    It is a very odd crisis the NHS is in. If you ask people if the NHS is in crisis most will answer yes. Ask them if the experience they, or a close family member, has had with the NHS in the last 12 months and the answer is very different, with most people people reporting they were satisfied or very satisfied.

  104. maddog1129 says

    Thank you for the welcomes, everyone. :tips hat:

    I will probably need a little techno help … how do you quote someone else’s post?

  105. Richard Austin says

    maddog1129, @641:

    Thank you for the welcomes, everyone. :tips hat:

    I will probably need a little techno help … how do you quote someone else’s post?

    Mechanically, <blockquote>blah</blockquote>. Politically, with much relish – especially the trolls.

  106. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Where is Lynna? I expect her to be all over a Mormon ban on Halloween cross dressing.

    It is unclear if the Crescent 16th Ward has a problem with cross-dressing costumes or simply wants to promote what it deems is appropriate dress at the event. But the flier angered one mother in Sandy. “It has everything to do with not loving your fellow man because they choose to dress a specific way,” says mother Raquel Smith. Smith, who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the event sends the wrong message to the children. “I think definitely a child as young as a toddler can understand when a parent says ‘no honey, you can’t be Spiderman or Harry Potter because you’re a girl and that’s a boy.’ I think that immediately tells your child their decisions are wrong,” says Smith.

    Why would a future god want to dress like a help mate?

  107. Dianne says

    It is a very odd crisis the NHS is in.

    I think that “the health care system is in a crisis” is just one of those things that people say about the health care system, ANY health care system in any economy. Sort of like “doctors don’t try to prevent illness, only treat it” at the end of an appointment where you’ve spent 30 minutes talking about why they should stop smoking and get a flu vaccine. It sounds good and makes people feel like they’ve said something profound on the issue without requiring any actual original thought. (Sorry, cynical mood today.)

  108. Dhorvath, OM says

    Back into my codeine habit again. I so love laying on the couch chasing my cough away with opiates. So I will raise a spoon to those of you who have your own viral accesories for Hallowe’en.
    ___

    Benjamin,

    Also, it’s worth dropping the $10 or so for a real Rubik’s Cube. Every knockoff I’ve ever used has fallen apart or jammed in a few minutes.

    I have grease inside mine, a fake, it keeps jamming down to a bare minimum.
    ___

    Janine,

    I will pass on the gravy.

    Oh!
    ___

    maddog1129,

    Yes, hello :wave:

    Hi. Welcome to thread, we like people.
    ___

    I don’t do torture movies, what attracts me to horror is atmosphere and discovery, and how they can combine to produce terror and dread. I watched The Descent recently, and found the caving bits of the movie more scary than the monster bits for example.
    ___

    Ministry link was borked.
    Everyday is Halloween
    This one worked in preview.
    _

    And Dem Bones was out of left field for me. I have never seen that and had no idea what I had stepped into.
    ___

    So, Hallowe’en means Type O Negative is in my ear:
    All Hallow’s Eve
    I could go on, but it’s likely unnecessary.
    ___

    And Dem Bones was out of left field for me. I have never seen that and had no idea what I had stepped into.
    ___

    Walton,

    most property rights in land, the world over, were originally created when some people dispossessed some other people by brute force, from the Norman Conquest in England to the dispossession of indigenous peoples in the Americas.

    I was just reading about LBK last night.

  109. Dianne says

    I don’t do torture movies, what attracts me to horror is atmosphere and discovery, and how they can combine to produce terror and dread.

    I agree, but I also don’t do movies. I do books. Anyone know any good, creepy books or horror stories with minimal gore? My collection of real life stories ending in “…and then it fell off” tops most gory stories that aren’t totally over-the-top unbelievable and anyway if I want to see blood I can just spend Saturday night in the ER.

  110. Dhorvath, OM says

    Dianne,
    I have never found horror rewarding in book form, I think it’s a pacing problem based on my reading speed, but I could have other things contributing.

  111. Dianne says

    Interesting, Dhorvath, since part of my problem with visual horror is pacing. I tend to find it too slow. Ok, I get that it’s a spooky old house, already. Now get to why everyone is wandering around looking frightened at all the shadows…

    Have you tried any video games in the horror genre? I started Amnesia but have had two basic problems with it: 1. My inner ear is totally crappy and I get nauseous from first person shooters. For about 5 minutes when everything is at just the right level, this actually enhances the game effect because I feel sort of off balance and sickish. Then it goes too far and I just feel like throwing up. 2. The character you play is afraid of the dark. But I, as the player, want to hide in the shadows where the monsters can’t see me. My character goes mad a lot.

  112. Dhorvath, OM says

    Dianne,
    On books versus movies, I can not read a book in an evening, I can watch a movie in a night. The immediacy of an urgent event is generally lost on me in a novel, but during a movie the faster pace makes that into something that affects me.
    For games: Call of Cthulu:DCotE worked well for me, so did Eternal Darkness, although it was more action oriented.

  113. Moggie says

    Janine:

    Ya have to love a video that has a dancing Ood!

    Aww, bittersweet seeing Elisabeth Sladen at 1:22, since she died this year. She was the first companion I ever lusted after…

  114. says

    Dianne:

    Anyone know any good, creepy books or horror stories with minimal gore?

    Have you tried Joe Hill? I just started one of his, Heart-Shaped Box. Can’t say if it’s going to be good all the way through, ’cause I haven’t finished it.

    While he’s not strictly horror, I whole-heartedly recommend Joe Lansdale. The Complete Drive-In is a fantastic blend fantasy, horror and humour.

  115. says

    I should’ve said

    “compared to the monstrous 17b the Queen of England allegedly has.”

    Your link isn’t working for me for some reason, but she doesn’t have anywhere near that much wealth. That figure might be correct only if you count the Crown Estate as her private property, which, as I pointed out earlier, is wrong. (She does not receive the revenues from the Crown Estate, nor is she able to sell or transfer its properties; it belongs to “the Crown” as a corporation sole, not to the Queen personally.) Her personal wealth is far less than that; she’s less wealthy than the Prince of Liechtenstein, for instance.

    (Regrettably I don’t have time to continue this argument right now, as I’ve been in meetings all afternoon and now have class. So the bored-of-monarchy club can have a respite. :-p)

  116. says

    P.S.: To be pedantic, she’s not “the Queen of England”, and hasn’t been so since the Act of Union 1707. She’s “Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Her other Realms and Territories.” (The latter referring to her separate titles of Queen of Australia, Queen of Canada, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Jamaica, Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, and so on.)

    The only context in which the title “King of England” is still used is by Jacobites, who don’t accept the legitimacy of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 or of any monarch from Queen Anne onwards, and who believe that Franz, Herzog von Bayern and head of the Wittelsbach dynasty, is, as heir-general of the House of Stuart, the rightful “King of England, Scotland, France* and Ireland”.

    (*Until the eighteenth century, the Kings of England also claimed to be King of France, though this was always a rather ridiculous pretension with little basis in law or fact.)

  117. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Walton, I do not give a flying fuck about royal titles. And I am not alone. I am just grateful that I do not have to defer to these people.

  118. SteveV says

    Have pity and give us a treat, eh? Stop talking about the fucking monarchy for one.
    Haarumph!
    Hear, hear!

  119. says

    Independent link

    For some reason, the link seems to be down.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/royal-special-how-rich-is-the-queen-and-what-does-she-really-own-606171.html

    But to give you the relevant part re the 17b, omitting some controversy about Buckingham entrance fees and the comparison with other European houses:

    An analysis of the Queen’s wealth shows that she holds assets worth £17bn in trust for the nation.

    But access to these treasures is restricted by hundreds of years of obfuscation over what the Queen owns as sovereign and what belongs to her as Elizabeth Windsor.

    Which paintings and other works of art are shown to the public is still decided solely by the Palace and the trustees of the Royal Collection.

    Put simply, confusion over what the Queen owns and how much she is really worth helps the Palace to protect her wealth and prevent the public having rights of access to it.

    But our analysis of the royal fortune reveals there is very little she can call her own.

    The main areas of confusion focus on her grey wealth (for want of a better term), the ambiguities surrounding the ownership of large parts of her estates which she holds in name alone, such as the Duchy of Lancaster and the Crown Estates. Constitutional experts argue that hundreds of years of history have helped to muddle the issue of royal title. Ultimately, such questions may have to be settled in the courts.

    Only by dividing the Queen’s property and income into properly defined categories – private wealth, sovereign wealth and grey wealth – is it possible to know what she is really worth and what parts of her property the nation can claim as its own.

    Once lawyers and constitutional experts have properly categorised the Queen’s wealth, the business of handing it over to the nation can begin.

    It will also give Parliament a firm basis from which to debate the issue of the funding of the Royal Family and the many treasures it owns on our behalf.

    After all, it is the Queen’s annual earnings, the cash-flow of the Royal Family business, that has come under increasing strain in the past 10 years.

    While her private income is derived from a mixture of a portfolio of stocks and shares invested by the Bank of England Nominees and the drawings from the ancient estate of the Duchy of Lancaster, her public income is provided by the Government under the terms of the Civil List.

    The Palace maintains that these two sources of income should be treated separately.

    But the Queen’s personal wealth is a murky area that crosses the boundaries of her private and public lives. Recent efforts by MPs and the National Audit Office to shine a light on the relationship between the flow of cash involving Parliament and the Queen has exposed a complex area of Palace accounting and royal double speak.

    Queen of England

    I did this on purpose :D.. Were I to use the actual title, it would be ridiculously long, to just say “UK” would be unfair towards her other realms, so I just went by what she is known as internationally. Also, I have a feeling that the UK monarchy is a form of English privilege, but Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish people can correct me if I’m wrong.

  120. Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says

    Please refrain from encouraging the Walton on this subject, pelamun.

  121. says

    In other news, I learnt today two very cool things:

    - the Roman numerals all go back to original abstract symbols, they don’t come from the letters they’re usually written as (I, V, X, L, C, D, M), even though some match the Latin words like Centum or Mille. Some of the marks come from Etruscan times even, which wasn’t an IE language. In the case of C and M, folk etymology contributed to their evolution towards the letter.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals#Pre-Roman.2FAncient_Rome

    - taking up the topic of Struensee, the German doctor who was executed for having an affair with his boss’ wife. I met someone from one the formerly Danish Counties (as in headed by a Count), today a German county (as headed by a county commissioner), and they don’t learn anything at all about the man in school. Seems that he is remembered more in Denmark.