Wednesday, July 24, 2013

God Save The Republic!

The Royal Baby circus has unleashed a bit of a torrent of Republic sentiment in Britain.  Bravo.  A great piece on the historical anachronism of royalty:
So forgive me for looking with bemusement at yesterday’s arrival of the Prince of Cambridge. Of course, it’s churlish to speak sourly of a guiltless, newborn child. And, yes, he’s unlikely to provoke any violent battles for the throne, not least because the British monarchy now functions far more like a theme park populated by an awkward, endangered species — Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel likened the royals to pandas — “ill-adapted to any modern environment” — than the locus of centuries of undeserved privilege and imperial power. But all 21st century human beings who witnessed the #RoyalBaby circus should feel more than a bit disturbed.

And a great piece from my friend Prof. Gary Rawnsley, Dear William and Kate

For Republicans like myself, the idea of monarchy is an anachronism in a 21st Century representative democracy. It suggests that we remain 'subjects' rather than 'citizens' who are in control of our own political destiny. Many people with whom I have discussed this over the past 24 hours have pointed out to me that Republicanism does not have the answers to our present political problems, and that politicians cause their own problems and exact their own cost. I agree entirely with these sentiments, and in fact the current government is itself filled by over-privileged public school boys who have never done a job outside of politics; and quite frankly, the other side is not much better. So surely a monarchy is preferable to the incompetent politicians, right? The difference is that at specific times we can decide who is the Prime Minister; we can decide that the government is not acting in our interests and so choose to throw them out at the next election. We have no such option with the current Head of State. The monarchy is not only unelected, but is also unaccountable which goes against the values of democracy. Moreover, any one of us can decide to stand for election, get involved and facilitate change at the local, national and increasingly international level. None of us have a shot at being King or Queen. William, you will inherit the throne by the privilege - luck and randomness of birth, not by choice or merit.

I have also heard that the monarchy is valuable because your family 'bring tourists to the UK.' So I hate to break it to you, William, but it seems that you are considered nothing more than a very expensive public funded tourist attraction. It must be difficult to accept that you are thought of in the same way as Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. If that is what the monarchy has been reduced to, then I am sure you will agree we need to seriously consider its place in modern Britain. Besides, whether we actually have a Royal Family or not does not seem to make much difference, as your castles and other stately homes - the principal draw - will remain. Our history will still be celebrated, and the lives of your ancestors remembered. Yet in 2012, Republican France attracted 83 million visitors (where the Palace of Versailles remains a big attraction with 6 million visitors) whereas the international tourists to the UK were a mere 29.3 million. I really think that the tourists will still come to visit us if we decide to become a Republic. The Monarch has no power whatsoever, though we still have a charade that the Prime Minister must ask permission to dissolve or form a government; and the Monarch signs bills into law - bills that have been deliberated and decided by our duly elected representatives.

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