People have been asking me a lot recently about my opinion on the monarchy, and particularly Kate and William’s wedding. They’ve also been asking me what I’m doing on Friday…
Why? Well, for one, because I’m abroad, and can’t benefit from the bank holiday that the rest of the UK sees. I have revision to do and a life to lead.
The other reason is that, like the majority of Briton’s… I don’t care. Why should I celebrate the wedding of a socially distant monarch-to-be, and his bride. I can vaguely relate to him as “my” Prince, and to her as a fellow “commoner” but admit it – these ties are tenuous for the majority.
Like most people in the UK, the machinations of the monarchy don’t impress me, nor can I see a particular reason to do away with them.
But some people do see reasons – 18% of Brits are Republican, according to a recent Ipsos Mori poll, and thus favour abolishing the monarchy.
Reasons may include the fact that the monarch still wields huge power and many, correctly, believe this has no real place in a democracy. Royals may bring in tourist revenue, but they also cost us hugely from the public coffers – this wedding as a shining example of the cost of the monarchy. I don’t recall anyone paying for a politician’s wedding. A lot of power is also still concentrated with the monarchy – even look at Prince Andrew bring given the role of UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, back in 2001. I have yet to see qualifications.
Personally, I think that the democratic, progressive reformists have bigger things to worry about. House of Lords reform, and finally getting a Constitution are paramount. The monarchy can be left alone, for now. I do believe that the provide a strong system of checks and balances against the power of parliament – everytime I think that we should do away with the monarchy, I remind myself … President Blair.
But, eventually the time must come when they must step aside, and allow Britian to develop into one of the world’s true democracies.
Having said that I will be very interested to here what the Alliance of European Republican Movements has to say at their convention on the 30th of April, one day after the Royal wedding. Watch this space.
Oh, by the way. Returning to that bank holiday… if people weren’t grateful for a day off work, I wonder how many more of us would be in favour of scrapping the Monarchy…just think about it for a second.
- Why Monarchy is Democratic (asingleman1.wordpress.com)
- Monarchy: arguments against (charioteers.org)
- In praise of Monarchy (stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com)
- You could do a lot worse than Will and Kate (theglobeandmail.com)