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Republicans need to get real–the Queen ain’t going anywhere

by Marrick on June 5, 2012

I hold the view that Britain would be better off as a republic. To my regret, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. This is because the British public hold the view that we are better off under a Monarchy than we would be as a fully democratic state. This is something the republican movement seems to be in denial about.

Ipsos MORI conduct regular polls concerning the popularity of the monarchy and it is pretty much unwavering. If people are given a straight choice between a Monarchy and a Republic, then only 22% regularly say they would prefer a republic. That this is roughly the level of support enjoyed by the Conservative Party at the moment is completely irrelevant to the media, as they continue to treat republican sentiment as if it did not exist at all. The fawning BBC is chief cheerleader for the Royals and all but ignores the legitimate expression of those who want a change to full democracy.

By way of contrast, and probably supported by the continued approval of the media, the Queen has a 65% approval rating – those that are given a straight choice between a republic and a monarchy overwhelmingly choose the latter.


republic-vs-royalsWhich is why I think republicans have to change the ground rules. People like the Queen, and although they are not that fond of Charles, that will soon change when he takes on the hereditary role of King. This will mostly be because the media will flock behind him and no alternative view will be given air.

One of the key characteristics of the British is a sense of loyalty. They don’t want to throw the Royal Family out on their ear, because that would be mean. They also like the pomp and circumstance surrounding the monarchy. The whole fairy princess thing appeals to many people, who are otherwise sensible in their approach to life. They don’t seem to get the principle, that no matter how aspirational they are, no matter how hard they work, they can NEVER, EVER get to the top of the tree, because that is reserved for one family…forever.

A change?

There is a bit of a change in attitudes though. In 1984, IPSOS asked if Britain would be worse off if the monarchy was abolished: 77% agreed it would be worse off. Today that figure is just 46%. This might be cause for celebration amongst hard-line republicans, but it’s not, because the movement is towards those who think it would make no difference. Republican sentiment has stayed at the same old 22% it has always been, but those who think “meh” now occupy 32% of the ground. The republicans’ job is to convince that 32% to make the bold step to a democratic alternative.

There are those who believe that winning the argument will win the day. They are wrong, wrong, wrong. It won’t, because they have the entire establishment, the media and all the power in the Kingdom reigned against them. That 32% needs an alternative to a full on democratic republic. Which is why I am proposing that we take a different route to democracy.

Britain likes its Royal Family, but it is clear to anyone with half a brain that we would benefit enormously by getting rid of the patronage and hereditary privilege wielded by the Royals. So, why not keep them for ceremonial purposes, but disestablish them from the state? We could keep the Royals in the manner to which they are accustomed by keeping a civil list, do all the parading of the colour and stuff, but take them out of the state arena and vest the power and authority of the state in a democratically elected figure. This is win, win people. We keep the thing that the British people see as being unique and characterising the quirkiness of the British, by having a monarchy, just one without any power. The Royals get to keep their castles and lifestyles, but can’t exercise any power or get involved in the political process in any way.

Obviously this will not please everyone. The hard liners on both sides of the argument will rail against it, but they should sit down and think about it for a moment, because they are both getting what they want. The Royalists get their pomp and circumstance and all the regalia of Royalty. The Queen gets relieved of the onerous duties of state, but can carry on breeding horses and walking the corgis, while living in a sumptuous palace on a whacking big state salary. The British people get to keep their beloved Royal Family in a very real way, opening supermarkets and waving from bulletproof cars (perhaps they would no longer need to be bulletproof if the Royals were truly non-political). And the republicans would get their elected head of state, who would have no more power than the Royals have now, but would have the legitimacy of being elected.

So, not a republic, but not a monarchy, the best of both… Problem solved. Next.

4 thoughts on “Republicans need to get real–the Queen ain’t going anywhere

  1. Joe Eldren says:

    Your premise, whilst interesting, is fundamentally flawed.Those who support a constitutional monarchy do not do so just for the “pomp and circumstance”, nor for the opening of supermarkets, or indeed the many other recognitions of local activities that the Royal Family gets involved in. Those are side issues.

    I can only speak for myself, but I support having a hereditary non-partisan Head of State precisely because it denies the “top job” from those who would otherwise seek it i.e. politicians, who will never be seen as anything other than divisive by the population as a whole. If a Tory is elected president, the Left will cry “foul” every time he or she opens their mouth or does – or does not – do anything at all. The same for a Labour politician. And those cries of foul, or unfair, or whathaveyou, could well be correct.

    And if you think it’s going to be anything other than a politician, wake up now.

    • Martyn says:

      Ireland seem to have escaped the trap that concerns you. You also assume that Labour and Conservative are the only options; they’re not. Anyway, whatever happens, the elected president would be the choice of the British people and they would also have the choice of rejecting that person should they not reach the required standard. Right now we have what we’re given, good or bad, and we don’t have the option of selecting an alternative. That’s just not acceptable.

  2. Gerry says:

    To suggest the queen is non-partisan is a joke frankly. She represents vested interest and the status quo.

  3. Dorothy says:

    I am not to sure that so many do love the Queen as much as the media has recently portrayed. The mass of people are feeling brow beaten and very much at a loss with no hope and no future, most are well aware of the oppression and hypocrisy of the Royal Establishment. Even when the Queen reels off her mundane speeches and starts by acknowledging ‘her’ government, the multitude for some reason seem to detach that the government serves the monarchy, not us. The Monarchy is very political, it can be seen with every law and policy that the Queen signs, and when that policy does more harm than good, there are those that make up excuse for the Queen saying “well she has advisors, she has to”, she doesn’t have to, she chooses to! Even though the multitude knows and see all this and more, they turn a blind eye because they look to her for stability. People see there are few or no Patriots beyond the lower middle classes and certainly none residing amongst our career politicians. People look at her and see ‘Old England’. She is a symbol of what we once had, and what we could have, if only things were different, even still, there are those that choose not to associate the Monarchy with the rot at the top or the bottom. Some do like the pompous ceremony and the fairy tale image. I think there is much more to it than that from the impression I get, the multitude are not in love with the Monarchy as it would appear from the media coverage of the Jubilee. Lets take a look at a break down of the Queens Jubilee; the official estimate according to Wikipedia dated July 1210 of the population of the UK is 62.262.000 of course it would only be an estimate as there is no knowing how many thousands of illegal immigrants we have living here. There was estimated 1 million people went to London to see the Queen, there was estimated to be 1 thousand little boats on the Thames, now putting aside the expensive charade that Cameron put on for his own kind ie his relative the Queen, family and friends and those that could afford to attend, all at our expense, not to mentions the new age slave labour that was brought in to serve them. Some of the infant schools made some effort to put it into the curriculum, then there was the churches up and down the country, some put on garden parties, baring in mind the Queen is the Head of the Church of England. Next let’s take a broader look at our Cities, Towns and Villages. There were some local councils and business that took advantage of the opportunity to promote themselves for financial reasons, and a few individual that made an effort, how sad it is to see photos of their pathetic piss- poor BBQs in the light of the elaborate showy display put on for the queen and co. Piss-poor BBQs that some could not afford to have, grasping at straws trying to hang onto an illusion of Patriotism that doesn’t exist. Then there were those that escaped on holiday and for the multitude of us, we stayed at home, it was just another day! Looking at it objectively, it was a minority of people that actually made an effort to be bothered about the Queens Jubilee the rest of us really wasn’t interest.
    But still at this present time and even after it was made public that the Queen had taken money from the UK poverty fund to pay for her palace winter heating bill, keeping in mind that she is worth 17 Trillion, and could easily pay her own bills, the multitude still wants her on the throne! Why? Here is my way of explaining what I understand the reason to be. One day your walking along the river bank, you see someone has fallen into it, they are distressed and clinging tightly to a log to save their life. What do you do to save that person? Some would jump in without thinking of the danger, in their attempts to save that one, they both would drown, a more discerning person, would asure the person that they was going to get help, and do just that, they might find a long branch, a life belt, a boat or some other way of saving this person. Would you first take away the log that this person is desperately clinging to, no you wouldn’t, this person may drawn trying to reach out to grab hold of the life raft. First you would put in place the branch or other life raft, so there would be an easy cross over. This is a similar situation Britain is now facing, the multitude do not want to dislodge the Queen for fear of us sinking even deeper into despair and fear that the likes of David Cameron or worse, taking place of her. What I do find is that everyone seems to think and feel than when the Queen passes away the Monarchy will be reformed, that suggest to me that people do want change, and don’t feel that the Monarchy can continue in its present form. But of course for this to happen there has to be first in place an effective alternative for an easy and smooth transition.

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