Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another veiled warning to king by politicians

November 30, 1936

A "thinly veiled warning" to King Edward VIII -- the third within the week - was published in The Times today "tucked at the end of an other innocuous leading editorial."

The editorial was titled "A Council of State," and praised the House of Commons for the spirit of unity" for the "great issues of recent weeks," reports the New York Times.

The House of Commons has "every right to feel proud of the example it is setting to a querulous and distracted world."

But it was the last sentence, a "flash of an editorial rapier," that caught attention.  "The Commons may well prove itself to be what the country has often required in similar times during its long history but seldom has been given,  namely,  a council of state which is able to demonstrate its solid strength in any crisis that may arise, whether foreign or domestic."

The use of the words domestic and council of state by the editorial writer cannot be seen as accidental.  "Council of State" is recognized as a "constitutional method for carrying on the king's duties," if he himself is unable to fulfill those duties.  It was used in 1911, when King George V was in India, and again in 1928, when the king was "desperately ill and unstable."

But why did the Times' editor resurrect the term "Council of State." when King Edward VIII is in good health.   The answer came this afternoon when the British government and the opposition in the Commons "agreed to stand together" in case of a struggle between the king and the Cabinet "should come to a head."

Clement R. Atlee, leader of the Labour Party, has assured Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that the opposition will not take advantage of the situation if Edward should decide to marry Mrs. Simpson, and force the government to resign.

This remains merely an understanding between Atlee and the Prime Minister, ans a constitutional crisis  remains a fairly remote contingency."

It is understood that Labour Party members in Parliament, as well as members of the trade union, are fond of the king, and are not concerned about his friendship with Mrs. Simpson.

But there are other Labour supporters in England and especially in Scotland -- in the Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian chapels -- where there is concern about the "spectacle" of a twice divorced queen.

Labour party leaders know that a "constitutional king" cannot do anything unless he has the support of his ministers.  Thus it is important to note why Atlee gave such a momentous promise" to Prime Minister Baldwin, and why The Times' editorial described the House of Commons as a "council of state."

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