origins of Parliament I
also briefly discussed the
Magnum Concilium. While an
important part in the story of
Parliament in the course of
my research I have come to
the conclusion it may have a
part to play in the present.
While it is easy to think of the
Magnum Concilium as just
being what Parliament used
to be called that would be
incorrect. The Magnum Concilium was strictly an advisory
body that could loan the king money from time to time it had
no power to legislate. This fact was confirmed in 1640 when
the Magnum Concilium summoned by King Charles I refused
to take on the legislative powers of Parliament.
When the Magnum Concilium last met it had been dormant
for generations and it is in the same situation today. But its
unique character makes it ideally suited for a revival. The
House of Lords is increasingly not what its name implies.
'Democratic' reforms have turned the House of Lords into a
chamber of partisan appointment. Britain's nobility have
found themselves in the situation of not having an official
means of contributing to the country's well-being.
In 2008 Christopher Russell Bailey, 5th Baron Glanusk,
suggested the Magnum Concilium be summoned. However,
the purpose of this gathering would be purely social. I have
another idea. The Magnum Concilium should be summoned
for the purposes it once was; discussing national issues and
funding royal initiatives. The former duty could be carried out
as a sort of 'national think tank'. The realm's barons gathered
together discussing the issues of the day without the worries
of partisan politics interfering. Sounds almost noble (terrible
pun is terrible). The latter duty has even more intriguing
his work with charities. The nobility
is seen as having a lot of wealth (this
is not entirely true since a great deal
is tied up in land rather than in coin
but its still a pretty penny). A part
of a restored Magnum Concilium's
duties might be the funding of
charity and infrastructure projects.
I mention Prince Charles specifically
since he is currently in a tough spot.
He is passionate about a great many
worthy causes but restricted by the mistaken belief that to be
neutral he can't be political. A revived Magnum Concilium
would allow the future king the ability to continue making a
difference without being seen as being tied to a single party.
He might not even need to take a public stand. Simply set the
process in motion by recalling the Magnum Concilium and
laying the ground rules. I'm sure Charles would be happy to
see worthy causes supported even if he can't publicly say
As for the nobility the new emphasis on public service will
restore the rusted value of noblesse oblige. Who knows, the
Magnum Concilium might even become more popular than
A Kisaragi Colour