Classic writers were able to define the British Constitution as “a road that walks.” With this he wanted to express that the constitutional system of the islands, which lacks a fundamental written rule with the desire to rationalize and fix once and for all the rules of the political system, was the perfect symbiosis of the past and the present, without losing sight of the future . Much has been written in recent days about the loss of the classic features of British political identity, following the succession in a few weeks of three occupants in Downing Street. It cannot be ignored that Brexit has led to entering an unknown path, full of questions. But, even aside from the fact that in the past the system has also overcome episodic crises (‘home rule’, Irish independence, Baldwin’s designation process as ‘premier’, the abdication of Edward VIII, the Suez crisis and the revolt against Eden or the case Profumo, to cite some of the less recent), the truth is that, even in the present scenario, there are features that show that we are facing a political regime that continues to be solid, and that in many parameters it enjoys better health than other patients . Thus, the fact that the resignations of Johnson and Truss were the result of the initiative of the ‘backbenchers’, deputies without positions in the Government, is an example of the transcendental role that parliamentarians individually considered continue to play, which confers to the system of an unknown dynamism (unimaginable?) in other latitudes where voting discipline and obedience to the leader are the political tonic, including many systems qualified as democratic. On the other hand, the speed with which the different crises have been resolved would also be a symptom of the preservation of the best British political tradition. There is no doubt that, if we had to list the great peoples or nations that have determined world history, among them we would find (along with ours, it must be recognized without shame) the British. And, even more, we should admit that, if there is a community endowed with its own singularity, with characters not entirely assimilable to those of other more homogeneous latitudes, the British people would be in a prominent place. Insularity, climate, history… are factors that may be behind these unique characters: phlegm, humor, civic sense, tradition, encapsulated eccentricity… they are stereotyped notes, it is true, of a people that , it should not be forgotten, has given the rest of the world unique lessons, and not so distant, of love for freedom and sacrifices to preserve it. Not surprisingly, it is often claimed, not without reason, that they invented democracy. Saving the Athenian precedent, parliamentarism as a regime is an English creation… parliamentarism as proto-democracy, a necessary and unavoidable step to illuminate the latter. It should not be forgotten that we are dealing with a country that has not known autocracy since the 18th century and that, beyond the civil conflict of the mid-17th century, has not had to witness civil wars. A country that loves freedom, as has been affirmed, understood without becoming an obstacle in the search for real equality, since Britain is also the origin of our contemporary welfare states (Beveridge report of 1942). A political system that, through institutes, which have sometimes been able to provoke a daring ironic smile in the Western academic mentality, has preserved the treasure that they found first. And the English (it’s worth it as a synecdoche) have understood like anyone else that democracy is not only substance, but also form, that this is not only a result, but a method, a procedure (a dialogue in the Habermasian sense), the guarantee of that the minority will not be crushed no matter how overwhelming the majority may be. Along with this, we find ourselves before a society that reveres its history, without this meaning that it does not know how to critically assess episodes of its past. But the latter, in any case, seems like an irreplaceable element to understand the present and, above all, to face the future with determination. The number of monuments and statues present in its streets and squares, the innumerable tombstones with the names of those who fell in its multiple wars present in each small town, and even the nationally produced series or films (they are masters in the historical cinematographic treatment ) constitute samples of what is indicated. An additional illustrative data of what has been indicated. Until recently, in the Commons meeting room, near the Government bench, one could notice the presence of a small box with a transparent lid where, separated into rows, sands from the five Landing Beaches were found: Juno, Sword, Gold, Omaha and Utah (today it can be seen in the royal gallery of the Palace of Westminster itself). And, as a synthesis of the two aforementioned elements, the ‘pomp and circumstance’. As much as certain aspects of the ceremony may seem (to certain Cartesian mentalities) extravagant and even somewhat ridiculous, we must not forget the important role that it plays as an element of self-integration of a community. The symbols, the protocol, are not trivial matters; they are key tools for self-identification and self-recognition of a community, and this statement is still valid, it could be said that even more so than in certain past times, in the third decade of the 21st century, in the face of a reality that often surpasses us and in the face of the one we are looking for with reference to which to hold on. Among those anchors that the British seek and have chosen to preserve is their monarchy, ‘dignified part’ (dignified part) compared to the ‘efficient parts’ (efficient) of the political system, as defined and classified by Bagehot, symbol and no power, embodiment of the past and present of the community. Elizabeth II more than fulfilled that constitutional mission. Not exempt from criticism in the past, she has died to unanimous praise when she was recognized for carrying out her professional mission under a strict Kantian-sounding ethic. A king-official, we could say, because he did not deviate even an iota from that imperative that was to fulfill his duty. As Shakespeare’s Henry V points out in the pre-Agincourt vigil, after the ceremonial there is nothing left but the man or the woman, and the former cannot deceive us about the heavy burden of duty. Isabel’s life has been a clear example of what was affirmed by her ancestor dramatized by her. As much as we have been able to forget it these days, we must remember that a few weeks ago we buried a human being, a woman who as such spent her days with joy and sadness, with hopes and worries, because the stoat does not eliminate, not much least, the miseries that surround the human condition. Elizabeth ascended the throne in a world that was leaving, never to return. But the Crown once again fulfilled its role: it facilitated the transition to the new era and even, with her multiple trips, reinvented the Empire as a Commonwealth, restoring pride to its citizens. In a way, it can be said that Elizabeth, and the Crown more broadly, embodies what is eternally British, becoming today like the wardrobe of CS Lewis’s stories, which allows the inhabitants of the islands to revisit their childhood, the past in which they dreamed what they would be. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alfonso Cuenca Miranda is a Lawyer of the Cortes Generales
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