As the British Monarchy represents to pinnacle of the visible 1% Elite in the UK, I call on all meritocrats to support the campaign group Republic, who are a respected and fully legal pressure group.
Membership is as cheap as chips, or you can always just make a donation, even from overseas. Funds are used to print flyers, stickers etc… for area representatives to distribute [which they’re always looking for, I’m now the representative for North Ayrshire] and printing books, booklets etc… There’s also an on-line shop to buy materials on their site.
More recently, they have invested and started making a dvd film called ‘Taking Back The Duchy’ [of Cornwall] - from Prince Charles, who makes a whopping £19million per annum, mainly from this estate.
Here are a few 'Monarchy Myth Busters’ from their site and books; even if you don’t join the campaign, you can always use them when argueing the case to scrap the Monarchy -
It’s good for tourism :
This claim is untrue and irrelevant. Even Visit-Britain, our national tourist agency, can’t find any evidence for it.
Chester Zoo, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths are all more successful tourist attractions than Windsor Castle, which is the only occupied royal residence to attract visitors in large numbers. If Windsor Castle was included in the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) list of top attractions it would come in at number 24.
Research shows that tourists come here for our world class museums, beautiful scenery, fantastic shopping and captivating history - not because they might catch a glimpse of Prince Andrew. In a republic, royal properties such as Buckingham Palace would be open all year round, so visitors that do want to explore our royal heritage would have even more opportunity to do so. But, even if the claim were true, do we really want the whims of visiting tourists to determine what kind of political system we have?
Royal Finances :
The estimated total annual cost of the monarchy is £334m, around eight times the official figure published by the royal household
The monarchy is expensive, very expensive. Of course it wouldn’t matter if it were free - the cost to our democracy would still be too high - but when the palace tells you it’s “value-for-money”, don’t believe them. We could get much better for far less.
Cut the minor royals out of the picture :
Republic has called on MPs to follow Denmark’s example and cut all minor royals off from public funding, as a step in the right direction.
In May 2016 Denmark announced plans to reduce royal funding by cutting out all minor royals. The UK needs to do the same. It is a scandal that the Queen allows her family to profit from their relationship with her, to the tune of millions of pounds.
Republic has asked the simple question, why are we spending millions of pounds on Katherine Worsley (the Duchess of Kent) or Marie von Reibnitz (Princess Michael of Kent) when public services are being squeezed and cut?
The public are with us on this. A poll carried out in 2015 showed a clear majority want all minor royals to be denied public subsidy.
A symptom of a bigger problem :
The huge waste and extravagance of the monarchy is a symptom of the main problem: the palace is totally unaccountable and is able to operate with a far greater degree of secrecy than any other part of the state. It also clearly has considerably lobbying clout within government, which explains why the government hasn’t cracked down on royal spending.
Council tax payers foot the bill for royal visits :
One of the many hidden costs of the monarchy is incurred by council tax payers when royals visit their town. Local people are regularly forced to pay for a range of costs including staff planning time, policing, road closures, renovation, cleaning, food and drink, photography, floral decorations and flags.
This means that a royal visit can leave local tax payers tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket: the Queen’s visit to Leicester in 2012, for example, cost the city council over £85,000.
It has no power – it’s just for decoration :
The Queen certainly does have power, including the power to sign international treaties and deploy British troops abroad. It’s true that most of these “royal prerogative powers” are today exercised by government, but that in itself is a serious problem. These powers have been transferred directly from the monarch to the prime minister and don’t need the approval of parliament, effectively shutting out the British people from important decisions. That is fundamentally anti-democratic – and it can only happen because we have a monarchy.
The Queen and Prince Charles also have the power to veto bills that affect their private interests. Official legal advice makes clear that Queen’s and Prince’s Consent (as the “royal veto” is officially known) is not a mere formality. The process by which consent is obtained provides a clear opportunity for the Queen and the Prince of Wales to influence the shape and content of a bill before it reaches Parliament.
Then there’s the problem of parliamentary sovereignty. At one point all the power in the land was held by the king or queen. Over time that power moved to parliament and is now held collectively by 650 MPs. However, the fundamental nature of that power hasn’t changed – parliament can make or scrap any law it likes, just as the monarch could in the past. This means our freedoms are never really guaranteed because parliament can always decide to remove them. Again, this a direct result of having a monarchy.
It makes Britain unique :
Britain will always be unique. That’s down to the achievements of the British people, our history and culture, even our geographical location.
None of that would change if we had an elected head of state – in fact, getting rid of the monarchy and choosing a new, uniquely British political system would be just one more thing to set us apart from the rest of the world.
It unites the country :
You only have to look around to realise that Britain is no more unified than many republics – in fact, it’s probably less so. It’s often said that the royal wedding and the jubilee brought the country together, but the vast majority don’t participate in royal events, which have no lasting impact other than a bill for the taxpayer.
The reality is that monarchy has no real bearing on how united or divided a country is. In fact, the three European countries with the most active separatist movements are Spain, Belgium and the UK - all monarchies.
It’s a living link to our history :
Of course the monarchy is part of our history – no republican would deny that - but it’s not all of it.
The story of Britain and its constituent nations is one of individuals making great scientific advances and medical discoveries, providing strong leadership at times of crisis and making outstanding contributions to art and literature. It is also the story of large numbers of people joining together to fight for greater representation, better conditions and equal rights.
Choosing a more democratic political system wouldn’t undo all these great achievements, most of which have nothing to do with the monarchy. In a way, we’re all living links to our history – but we don’t have to be trapped by it.
It’s unpatriotic to want to abolish the monarchy :
That depends how you define patriotism. If you think it’s about putting the interests of one family above those of ordinary Britons, then yes it is.
If, however, you think patriotism is wanting the best for your country, trusting your fellow citizens and putting power in the hands of the people, then you can’t get more patriotic than republicanism.
Britain is a fantastic country, full of amazing people. We know that one of them could do the job of head of state at least as well, and probably better, than whichever member of the Windsor family is chosen for us.
The royals do lots for charity :
It is true that most royals are “patrons” of a string of charities, but very often this is only on paper – their name may appear on the letterhead, but they are not an active ambassador for that cause.
Some royals certainly do help to raise the profile of certain charities they care about, but so do many actors, singers and sportspeople. And what about the millions of ordinary Britons who make donations and give up their free time to volunteer for good causes? They do so without any of the glory - or luxury trappings – that the royals receive.
It’s also worth noting that when a member of the royal family visits a charity, it can cost taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds – often vastly exceeding any increase in donations. The royals gain more in PR than the charities do in support.
But, as with the tourism argument, the amount of charity work the royals do or don’t do has no bearing on the question of whether we should have a monarchy. And of course, the Windsors would be free to continue their charitable activities as free citizens in a republic.
Who wants another bland or sleazy politician?
Who becomes head of state in a republic is up to you.
There’s no reason it has to be an ex-politician – the experience of other European republics shows that voters often choose colourful characters who have achieved great things.
We could have an eminent scientist, a much loved writer, a respected sportsperson or someone who’s made a great contribution to their community. It could be you or your children. And yes, it may well be someone with a background in politics, but they would be chosen by and answerable to the British people.
Democracy’s unpredictable. Sometimes the result isn’t what we would have hoped for and sometimes we regret having cast our ballot the way we did. But right now we have no choice at all; we simply get what we’re given.