But then I’m British. I wouldn’t be saying that if I were American; the systematic looting of the nation’s finances by the Cheney cabal makes anything any of Africa’s tinpot dicators did look like small change.
But in Britain, we still have the monarchy; and, for fuck’s sake, I could theoretically get into trouble for writing this post. It has no place at the centre of a modern, democratic state.
I daresay Brenda has done as decent a job as she might, and I don’t bear a particular grudge against her. Australia’s PM Julia Gillard suggests that they should become a republic when queenie pops it, and what’s good enough for the cons is good enough for the Poms.
The Case Against The Monarchy: a small selection.
(1) The Institutionalisation of Inherited Privilege
Privilege should be earned. We all acquire some of it through birth – by the accident of being born in a relatively prosperous and free nation rather than one ravaged by drought and lawlessness – but how can we claim to aspire to “equality of opportunity” if, right at the centre of our constitution, we continue to give extraordinary privilege by the accident of birth to this rather ordinary family?
(2) The Inhumanity of The Goldfish Bowl
The tragedy of the current heir’s private life owes much to its being lived out in the goldfish bowl of publicity. He was not allowed, when young, to marry the woman he loved because she had some history; so a naive maiden of the residue of aristocracy was sacrificed. It was inhumane to her and inhumane to him, a ridiculous fairy-tale in a dress by the Emmanuels for the proles to gawp at, which ended with a fiasco in a Parisian tunnel. No amount of wealth or privilege can compensate for the loss of human dignity suffered by the cast of the soap opera, who are players by birth, not choice.
(3) The abuse of privilege
Inherited wealth and privilege corrupts instead of compensating. The prince has used his privilege to subvert evidence, process and democracy and impose pedestrian architecture and peddle quack cures and sugar-pills.
But a President would be worse, no?
Why do we need a President? The Queen is our nominal Head of State, but constitutionally she has no meaningful powers. Were she ever to exercise any of the few residual powers she may technically retain, the very act of exercising them would provoke a constitutional crisis, so they remain meaningless. The job of Head of State is thus actually meaningless, so why do we need a human to do it? We could just as easily retain the Crown, as the symbol of the nation, but retire its wearer. If we need a human to kiss the hands of Ambassadors and to entertain foreign potentates, let us select by lot a representative citizen to do it.
The case for the Monarchy
It’s good for the tourist industry. FFS!
We’d still have history, Wren, Shakespeare, Newton, Stonehenge, Stratford, the Lakes, the Highlands, and most of all sixty million of us in all our fantastic colours and characters, free finally to be citizens and subjects no longer.
So one day, some day not so very far away, a few years, a decade or even two from now, when nature takes its course on her life, let a cry go out: “The Queen is dead. Long Live the Republic”.