I read an article the other day that stated that there is actually a movement that wants a referendum on getting rid of the Royal Family. Personally I have no side to take on the issue but this has made me curious what people’s thoughts and feelings about the matter are.
On the one side you have the Royalists, who believe that the Queen is the be all and end all. She and her family contribute £1bn in tourism a year, they’re good for international relations and being the face of the British people abroad, they’re an unelected barrier between the Government and absolute power which is healthy, otherwise you end up with power hungry leaders with no restrictions. People use the argument against the Monarchy and the House of Lords saying they’re unelected and anti-democratic. When in actual fact they’re just a safeguard against giving all the power to one individual or one party. The House of Lords can delay bills and block them for up to a year but can never fully stop a bill going through but can buy enough time to properly scrutinise and amend a bill, so that it isn’t rushed through without being properly debated or heard and enshrined into UK law. The Queen has the power to reject any law but in doing so would create a constitutional crisis so usually signs it off anyway, which is where people get the idea that the Queen has no power, as she has to adhere to what the government puts in front of her. Our lawmaking process is pretty good and thorough though, so when it finally gets put in front of the Queen, it’s in it’s final form and has the support of most MP’s who are voted in and given a mandate to vote on and make laws on our behalf. Which will finally be completely back in our control after Brexit! She can still technically wage war against another country, not that she will ever need too. She can also dissolve parliament which is a perfect safeguard in the event of having an unpopular PM or mad PM intent on harming this country. However in doing so it would start a civil war, so it’s more of a deterrent. The PM always tends to keep the Queen onside as it’s a kind of mutual understanding between the two. Also the Royal family will play a pivotal role when we start to negotiate trade deals around the world again post-brexit. Where some Prime Ministers can be disliked and unpopular with other countries, the Queen has the respect of a large amount of nations around the world and this can be a good building block for negotiations in places where the PM might be unpopular. Believe it or not this is how it used to be done before the EU negotiated all of our trade deals for us. I also read in an Economist article that keeping the Monarchy but reforming it would be a welcome sign to both parties. That’s a basic look at the For argument.
On the other side you have the Republicans who want to see the Queen dethroned and kicked out onto the street. That’s my cynical view of it but for the sake of being balanced let’s look at their argument. They say that the Queen sponges off the state which is true, yet her net contributions outweigh the running of her estates and outgoings. They use the fact that Prince Charles has penned letters to MP’s in the past as an excuse to describe him as meddling in politics. Which is also true as the Royal Family as a whole should stay impartial and a-political. Which is where I think a lot of the fear shown by the Republicans come from, the realisation that he will one day be king. They assume the worst and expect Charles to stick his oar into political proceedings. I think the fact that he cheated on Diana with Camilla sits uncomfortably with most people and don’t think that someone with such bad intentions should be trusted or be trusted to run a country. Much like nowadays when an MP is caught doing something lewd they’re forced out of office, yet with a monarchy you can’t force them out. It’s an outdated hereditary system which I can understand, a birth right to the throne is such an archaic means of choosing a head of state. Yet if you had to vote in a head of state, then you’re stuck in the catch 22 of they could be in league with the PM and therefore wouldn’t be impartial or a-political and we would automatically fall into an autocracy or a puppet government run by the head of state (e.g Russia). The Republicans also show a distaste for the amount of coverage the Royal Family gets in the media, I personally look at this as jealousy as the movement doesn’t have as much coverage or the following and support they feel they deserve. I understand that they get media attention for being given the crown and not doing anything worthy or noble to warrant receiving the crown like they originally did (e.g Battle of Bosworth), however I don’t exactly see the Queen racing head first into the enemy on horseback with a sabre in hand in this day in age.
The reason the Queen and the Royal Family are who they are is because of the Queen, she has an overwhelming sense of duty that deserves respect, she has worked at making the Monarchy what it is and her family all look to her as an example and we can only hope that they try to follow in her footsteps, wearing the commitment and duty she does. I’m happy with the status quo and don’t wish to ruffle the feathers of the establishment on this issue, yet it is important to have these kind of debates on issues as it defines who we are and what we really hold dear. I’d like us to keep the Monarchy in the traditional sense and hope they don’t go over the top and try to drag it into the 21st century too much when the Queen passes away. That will be when it’s time to get rid of them as they’ll become more celebrity than monarchy. Bowing to pressure. This institution stands tall and doesn’t quiver at the thought of opposition, leading by example and displaying the true British values and integrity. I don’t think there will be reform as I can’t see anyone voting for it, if we did then i’d imagine that the Royal Family had already lost their grip at that point. I think it would spell the end of the United Kingdom as well, as we wouldn’t all have that shared culture anymore and I feel that we’d get more and more disconnected as a nation\collective nations.
This also brings me onto the subject of continued referendums. I believe in democracy and the spirit of referendums, however they should be reserved for the truly divisive issues that can’t be settled by any normal means. It shouldn’t become the go to measure for every occasion. Before you know it we’ll have a referendum on whether referendums should be legally binding! A referendum about a referendum. I also think that it’s disgraceful that even though it has been put to the public vote (Brexit) because the politicians couldn’t be trusted with the decision, they’re trying to hatch a plan to disrupt democracy in plain view. There are calls to try and halt Brexit through the House of Commons as it’s only ‘advisory’. Advisory it may be, yet the turnout was high and the voice of the people shouted a resounding Leave! The MPs almost forget who puts them in power in the first place, they act on behalf of their constituents who coincidentally were the ones who voted to Leave? So why would you even think of trying to go against the very people you serve? The disconnect between the population and politicians has never been wider. There is even a legal challenge as to whether the PM can activate Article 50 without consulting Parliament! The people have spoken, that should suffice. The mortally wounded Remainers are trying to impose a posthumous blow to the Leave campaign. Their attempted sabotage is morally corrupt and contemptuous. Anyone seen to be attacking the will of the people should be dragged from the commons by their ankles and thrown in the tower. It should be treated as treachery. They’re the same people that lied about what would happen in the event of Brexit, they don’t have the best interests of the country at heart. This brings me beautifully back to the start, this is why we don’t entrust all of our power to these people and why we are safeguarded against them. The system works, be thankful that we can choose who we have in government, the poor Americans are about to be lumbered with either Trump or Clinton.
I love my country.