Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Reasons To Want A Republic Cannot Be Found Here

Liberal Conspiracy has just put up an incredibly lazy article which is little more than an anti-monarchy piece. What's wrong with that? I hear you liberal sorts cry. Nothing except it doesn't really advance a positive case for a republic does it? If we start choosing our systems based on which one isn't the one we've got, we're in trouble.

Of course, full disclosure is required. I'm an unabashed royalist. But in keeping with the style of the original piece, I'm not going to defend that position (mainly because I find it hard to, I think the Royal Family is this atheists version of "God". It's a faith thing ;) ) and instead shoot down the lazy arguments held within it. Before I do, I just want to say this isn't an attack on republicans, so calm down!

It starts off with this quote:

On my trip to England I noticed something obscene
People there still actually give a shit about the Queen

Oh God, an incorrect premise. A trip to England? Did he travel back in time? Last I check that historic country ceased to exist in 1707 (alright, alright, I'm moving on...)

It goes on

"The arguments for a monarchy in Britain today are as follows:"

Hmm.. interesting. I'm sure they wouldn't then go on to mention just the rubbish one's only foolish "patriotic" numpties sprout would they? They wouldn't descend to the intellectual level of the Sun when they asked the question of "Should gay people be allowed to be Ministers?" Sadly... they do...

She’s our queen, and having a royal family has always been a part of Britain.

Untrue. We have been ruled by French, German and (much further back) Roman monarchs/emperors. The current set are more German than anything. There is nothing less fundamentally British than the Royal Family.

There was me thinking that being "fundamentally British" would mean a descent from immigrants, from the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans ("French" as the author so callously refers to them as, nothing "fundamentally French" about them I'd argue) etc. etc. etc. And the fact is, at least since the times of the Kings of Kent, the Royal Family tree keeps coming back to these islands. I find this "xenophobic" argument rather disturbing. Are they saying that if we were a republic they'd not want to give us a free vote but limit it to those of "pure" British stock??? As someone who is of Anglo-Saxon and Viking descent am I to be cast out with all these other foreign types??

The Royal Family make money from tourism, and if they were gone we would lose the massive amounts of income it provides.

Tourists love the crown jewels, the palaces, and the exhibitions of royal paraphernalia. In a republic we could still maintain these items as historical anachronisms that can be viewed through a glass cage. Of course, we all know how terribly badly off our republican neighbours do without a monarch but with all the glitzy effects that they left behind. France’s income from tourism: 66 billion €, centred on chateaux, art collections previously owned by royalty, and palaces formerly inhabited by their unfortunate aristocracy.

Whilst I think this in itself is a lame argument for keeping the monarchy, I also find the suggestion that the fact they still exist with all their pomp and ceremony doesn't add something to the tourists experience a little bit difficult to believe.

"The Queen doesn’t have any power anyway
Symbolism is important. Look at the Catholic church. The use of icons has allowed the Catholics to put a little piece of religion into homes, schools, and workplaces in religious countries. If symbolism doesn’t matter, then presumably the whole of Britain would be content if we put a copy of the Qu’ran in every classroom in the UK? There would be uproar, of course, because objects have a symbolic afterlife. The queen’s head on a coin says “you are my subject, whether I have any real power or not”. In modern Britain today, we do not need to be the subjects of anybody. The symbolism implies that British people agree with paying for and supporting a family who make Britain look laughable in an international context."

The idea that this is an argument in favour of the monarchy is a little far fetched. This is a lazy argument against change, at best. The Queen doesn't make us look laughable. She speaks other languages, she always shows us in a good light when abroad. You need only look at the FEAR on the face of ol' Dubya when she popped by to see him to know she is held in high esteem by many. Of course not everyone agrees, they don't here and they don't in other countries. How a President would change this, I don't know. They'll be liked by some, hated by others. Symbolism is also overrated (and I'd hope there is a Qu'ran in every decent school's library if not every classroom).

How would we go about getting rid of them? It would be impossible.

One of the perks or flaws of our democracy, depending on how you look at it, is that a simple Act of Parliament can change anything. In 1911, many powers of the House of Lords were removed by David Lloyd George. The Lords had to vote for the abolition of their own strength, or face even more stringent penalties. The monarchy will have to sign their own (metaphorical) death warrant, and just like all unemployed people the family can of course get Jobseekers allowance (at the time of writing), return to their jobs in the military, and get on the property ladder.

I have never, ever in all my years of arguing in favour of a monarchy come across this argument. Are arguments against the monarchy so weak that you need to find pretend arguments in their favour to argue against???

Finally the writer mentions the actions of the "future monarch" reflects badly on the institution. Of course, that argument can be shot down easily with "Dubya". Does he reflect badly on America's republic because of his actions? Or was he just a bad President?

I'm a royalist but I could, quite easily, come up with hundreds of positive reasons why we should have a republic. I could even argue in favour the monarchy. Liberal Conspiracy seems unable to argue sensibly for either! Their article is nothing but distortion, propaganda and downright disturbing nationalism.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

1 comment:

agentmancuso said...

By all means keep the baubles if it entertains a few tourists , but the Crown must be stripped of all powers to interfere in the democratic process, no matter how theoretical.