Nicholas Goodchild

Historic and Pared Down

The Monarchy

3 June 2012 by Nicholas in Current Events

I grew up in a largely republican household and, as far as I know, most of my family are republican. I would say that most of my friends are of that bent too. Personally I tend to favour a monarchy, but not wholeheartedly or without reservation.

The main problem, as I see it, is what we would replace the monarchy with. We have a democracy built on a parliament with limited oversight. The head of state (The Queen) is largely ceremonial and seemingly has no power. Who would actually want such a role? If we were to make it a station with power to go alongside it then we would change the nature of our democracy and this would cause problems in and of itself.

My second strong reservation is the fact I don’t trust the idea of directly electing a president. I think we would end up with a personality contest with the usual massively undesirable candidates that this invariably throws up. This could be born of the fact that I think that, in every election I have been able to vote in through the course of my adult life, only once have I actually voted for the winning candidate. Recent events in Bradford but also the deification of banal and nigh reprehensible celebrities causes me to believe the electorate is largely comprised of idiots.

I also think that having a monarchy marks us out as distinctive and is a living embodiment of our history and tradition. Over a thousand years of history in the continuation of a bloodline, the pomp, ceremony and regalia that is associated with it and institutions and history that probably vastly benefit the image of the country and bring in great amounts of tourism and money to the economy.

What I am opposed to, however, is the incredible numbers of hangers on and extended family that makes up the civil list. In this age of austerity and necessary redundancies, why not shed some of the fat? I have nothing against William and Harry, but people like Princess Michael of Kent do test the patience rather.

I also find the sheer disproportionate coverage given to the royals on the news rather tedious (and one of the many reasons I read rather than watch my news). Again, I can see what the head of state does can be seen as important, but when her aged relative chokes on a piece of fish, need it be given top billing and is it necessary to have dour faced men in suits reassure us that it wasn’t a bone? That and Edward really does bring my suppressed republican tendencies to the fore, I really don’t want to know what a mess he is making of running a business with money from the taxpayer’s coffers.

It could be worse, though. What if these people had actual power? A rabid corgi could leave us with the Spirow Agnew of Prince Charles or a salmonella ridden pheasant at Balmoral with the very real spectre of Edward as king and the sinking feeling it’s his job for life . . .

Here’s to the jubilee and the fervent hope the Queen doesn’t abdicate anytime soon.