It just doesn’t fit does it? The Republic of Britain? The Republic of England? These titles seem neither plausable nor desirable. Last week, with the 60th brithday of Prince Charles, the role of the Monarchy and its future was once again thrown to the fore. In response to an official picture published by BUCF to mark the day the esteemed chair of BULS, Tom Guise, came forth and dismissed the monarchy as irrelevant and claimed that as a nation we do not need it. I disagree with this absurd notion for reasons I shall put forth.
Impartiality – It is one of the great strengths of the current British system of government, that we retain an impartial and long serving Head of State. A Head of State who posesses little ‘real’ power but commands more respect, loyalty, affection and intrigue than any other Head of State in the world. Our monarch is a Head of State that can work with and advise any and every goverment elected by the people regardless of party affiliation. Sometimes I have to keep remindinng Republicans not everything has to be about greed and power as they seem to think. A Head of State doesn’t have to be constitutionally powerful to have power.
Experience and Advice – We know that whatever government we elect we will always have a Head of State willing to work with the government of the day and one who brings to bear a formidable breadth of experience which is vital when you face certain global and domestic challenges.What ever the challenge you can be sure that they have seen it and faced it before. They have been privy to sensistive information and have conversed directly with the Prime Minister of the day who handled said crisis. This kinf od indepth insider knowledge is vital. What is even more important is you, as Prime Minister, can be candid even frank with the monarch sure in the knowledge what you say will never pass beyond the 4 walls. You can let the immense burden of government off your chest and tell the Head of State exactly what is going on in the country without fear of what you say being splurged to the press.
Continuity – In times of crisis, or in a world that seems to be changing daily and not always for the better. It is reassuring to know that we have a Head of State who has occupied the same throne for decades. Its almost as if the monarchy is our reminder of better days gone by, a farmiliar point of reference to which we can all rally round in times of national triumph or tradgedy. That is what a Head of State should be, something or someone we can all get behind regardless of political preference, gender, religion, wealth, colour or creed. Someone we can united behind as British people. Anyone can wield power, very few can bring us together as a nation.
Image – Whatever you may think of our monarchy it does have an image second to none on the world stage. The Queen attracts larger crowds and generates more excitement and intrigue than any other Head of State in the world. Now Barack Obama has been thrown around a bit lately as an example of another Head of State that can match if not beat the Queen, but let me remind everyone Tony Blair once possessed that same kind of glitz and glamour, the difference with the monarchy is that its glitz, glamour and intrigue is tried and tested. The Queen has commanded the same kind of excitement and respect for 56 years and Im sure will continue to do so for a long time to come.
No Alternative – The most fundamental point as to why we need the monarchy is this: what is the alternative? A Republic? Oh great another overly powerful, overly ambitious, self seeking unpopular politician at the helm. Republicans can ramble on as much as they like but the overwhelming majority of this nation,latest estimate 80%, would not dream about giving politicians any more power at the minute, they can barely manage what they have! Poll after poll suggests that whilst they may disagree with the notion of ‘inherited status’ they agree that there is no desirable or viable alternative.
To sum up I will say this… Democracy is a fine thing. If our monarchy in anyway infringed our democracy I would be all for its modernisation. It doesn’t. What it is, is a system that is tried and tested and whats more is it constant which cannot be underestimated. Republicans by and large have a vested and selfish interest in power, greed and centralisation. They fail to see the benefits of this unqiue institution because it is pretty much constitutionally powerless. They fail to see that the love, respect, intrigue and affection it inspires is real power. Real power isn’t about what you can do, its about what you do with what you’ve got.
What’s more I don’t know about the rest of you but the concept of a President Gordon Brown stumbling on to the world stage… his hair and tie askew… the democratically elected President of the British people… scares the shit out of me. Give me the Queen, with her dignity, eloquence, stature and style anyday over that bumbling oaf. Aside from all their immense contributions to national life they bring to bear an invaluable bit of glitz and glamour to an otherwise gloomy nation. If we lose that which makes us distinct as a nation we become indistinct and I hope that in years to come when the future of the monarchy may come in to serious question, people will remember that fact.
(I defy anyone to watch the video below in full and not got a lump in the back of your throat!)