Big Debate: After Royal birth should Britain remain Monarchy or become Republic?
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
With the birth of the third in line to the throne we pose the question whether Britain should remain a monarchy or whether it is time for the country to become a republic instead?
Here the deputy chairman of the British Monarchist Society, David Boss, defends the monarchy while chief executive officer of the campaign group, Republic, Graham Smith, explains why he thinks it is wrong to uphold a monarchy.
Deputy chairman of the British Monarchist Society, David Boss, said: “In short, the answer to the first question is yes, Britain should remain a monarchy. Our monarchy is the pinnacle of the British culture and we are a nation steeped in history and tradition.
It is often forgotten that Her Majesty is not only Queen of our nation but of 15 other countries as well as head of the commonwealth nations which has 53 member nations.
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Her Majesty is the greatest ambassador we have abroad and her value is incalculable. There is no one that can command such respect and admiration and with an approval rating of 90 per cent in 2012 it shows that the republic movement is in the minority.
Having a presidency just will not work for us. For a start it would be far more costly than Her Majesty and we are not likely to receive the reputed £1billion a year in tourism we currently do with an active monarch.
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It is reported that the cost of the American president last year stands at approximately $1.4billion– 20 times more than the £33.3million cost of running our monarchy, and when we get back far more than give, that to me sounds like a bargain.
Constitutional monarchy works. It protects our democracy and people from the threat of political dictators. In a recent survey of the most democratic countries in the world seven of the top 10 have constitutional monarchy.
Monarchy does not answer to a political party, but seeks to serve its people. It has worked well for more than 1,000 years and in order for it to survive that long, the institution must be doing something right, and if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
Chief executive officer of the campaign group, Republic, Graham Smith, said: “The monarchy is wrong for three simple reasons: it is wrong in principle – we’re supposed to be a democracy that treats all citizens as equals; it is wrong in practice – it is an institution that uses its position for private gain and political advantage; it is wrong politically – it gives our politicians enormous power that cannot be held to account.
The principle argument is simple enough. Britain believes in democracy yet doesn’t practice it very well.
In practice the monarchy is not fit for purpose. It has its hands deep in taxpayers’ pockets, costing us more than £200million a year – equivalent to several thousand nurses, doctors, teachers or police officers.
Also the royals are protected by a veil of secrecy which they exploit to lobby ministers in defence of their own interests: note the fact that Charles lobbies to not pay corporation tax on his Duchy property empire.
And his lobbying needs to be taken seriously as he has a personal veto over any new laws that are proposed if those laws affect his private interests. It’s a veto that is used entirely in secret.
Our politicians support the monarchy because the monarchy gives them enormous power. Government ministers can make thousands of appointments, declare war, sign treaties with Europe and other nations, change laws and more – without parliament having much of a chance to put a brake on their ambitions.
This is a politicians’ monarchy – it serves the interests of the few not the interests of the people.
There is a simple democratic alternative – a written republican constitution together with an elected head of state.”