Sunday, 1 May 2011

Democracy v Monarchy?

David Starkey feels Monarchy and democracy are good bed fellows as everyone likes a good celebrity and royal make good celebs! This must be the weakest argument for maintaining an unelected head of state that I have ever heard. It ranks alongside, tourists love them!

The words Queen and Royal family appear to evoke strong emotions, so lets label them correctly as unelected, impotent head of state and people related to the unelected, impotent head of state.

As I have argued my point around the Royal Wedding and the Royal family, even staunch royalists struggle to argue against rational facts. The facts that they serve no purpose and cost the country money being the main ones. They struggle with simple arguments such as, if they make the country so much money, they should be able to pay for themselves and require no funding from the tax payer. Even the parts of the monarchy that do pay for themselves i.e. Duchy of Cornwall, was a gift from and was set up by the tax payer (civil list), so even these areas are due to the tax payer.

I am not actually advocating getting rid of the monarchy but their position within British society needs reviewing. They should have a position within the political structure to protect the interests of the general public. They are unable to interfere in politics as they are unelected. They therefore serve no purpose in a democracy and should step aside to allow the election of a new House of Lords and a new Head of State.
It is a very difficult argument to go up against as the only genuine argument against is that people like them. There is a whole 'Toff' economy built around the royal family and their various properties. This economy relies on ordinary folk, people who are losing their jobs, having pay freezes, having their pensions reduced and their incomes strangled supporting the royal family, thus ensuring that the toff economy continues.
The monarch should step aside and allow an elected leader to hold the government to account in the same way all successful nations do. The country would provide one residence for the monarch and the monarch only with all other properties being returned to the state. This would provide a massive boost to tourism within London and the rest of us can get on with living our lives.

Would replacing the unelected, impotent head of state with an elected politician capable of steering policy be an improvement. It might or it might not, but if you don't like it you can change it - you cannot do that with a monarchy.

One of the weakest arguments I had used against me was if I did not like it, I should move to France or America. My reposte is simple, make Britain a republic and they can go and live in Bahrain or Saudi (for example).

Finally, the television audience for the wedding was around 29m. This is less than half the population. Many of those figures are based on a home of four watching where it was likely much less were (tv figures are skewed to exaggerate to promote advertising). Many people watched because they enjoy a wedding, not because they are royal supporters and many watched because you could not avoid it if you had the television on. That says to me that in a few years time, the chances of the Republican argument gaining a majority once again, as it has many times previously, it a strong likelihood. I look forward to that day!


Chris said...

Perhaps you should start turning your ire towards the true malevolent institutions that now control the world you live in - Corporations.

Do you think we would be better protected from the multi-national behemoths by a president?

I am no royalist - they will become as relevant or irrelavant as we want them to be - but who would you rather the government's money to go to? The bankers (as bonuses via the public owned banks), £950m just for RBS, £9b contributions to the EU gravy train or £43m in total for the Royals in the Civil list per annum?

If you bear in mind that UK PLC has a stated deficit of £1Tr, an estimated actual deficit of closer to £4Tr and we have to borrow £450m a day just to stay afloat the civil list is less than chicken feed.

I have never met a member of the royal family and probably never will. They have as much effect on my life as Kylie Minogue or David Beckham. None. If they like to refer to me as a "subject" or a "commoner", good luck to them. I have been called much worse by people that actually matter to me.

Gotee said...

Chris, Thank you for your comments. If you read back over some of my previous blogs you will see some of my solutions for the Banks and Multi nationals.
If we had a stronger democracy - i.e. a second house or head of state capable of influencing government, the banks should have less - not more power. We currently put all our eggs in basket No.10 and hope that we make the right decision, without any form of cross check.