Walter Bagehot, in The English Constitution, described two elements of constitutional monarchy. First, he wrote, is the ‘dignified’ branch of government, “those which excite and preserve the reverence of the population.” The second branch is the ‘efficient’ branch of government, “those by which, in fact, works and rules.” The British monarchy is the core element of the dignified branch, using pomp and ceremony to sustain the state’s legitimacy. At the same time, the Government and House of Commons forms the efficient branch, involved in day-to-day governance.
To preserve the dignified branch of the constitution requires, of course, that it be separated from the efficient branch. “I must be seen to be believed,” Queen Elizabeth II is supposed to have said as her mantra: left unsaid is the contexts in which the Queen should be seen. Certainly not as too mixed in the efficient branch of government, for that would damage the monarchy itself.
In Thailand, there are guardrails that exist to ensure that politicians of the efficient branch do not try to unnecessarily involve the dignified branch of government. One is contained in Thailand’s election laws. “Candidates are not permitted to, and must not allow their party or anyone else to, use the royal institution in relation to election campaigning.”
Click here for the full piece at Thai Enquirer.
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