The United Kingdom is the opposite of the United States. Think about it. Briefly disregard the fact that we share the same noxious economic system of enriching the already rich and growing inequality and poverty. Also forget the shared legacy of military adventures in warm, sunny places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc.
No. Briefly disregard those ugly similarities and come to the same sudden realisation that I did. Only in the United Kingdom can one be both a Republican and a Democrat simultaneously. Taken in the American context, both are polar opposites, one party is led by a racist, sexist, extremist ignoramus and the other party somehow lost to that individual.
In Britain, one can believe in a system wherein government derives its legitimacy and authority from the people and whether through referenda or elections, at the end of the day the government is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’ A (small-d) democrat. Likewise, that same believer can also believe in the necessity of a republic, a system where there is no unelected or hereditary head of state. A (small-R) republican.
Any reasonable person who doesn’t believe in unaccountable and undeserved power, privilege and wealth should be both republican and democrat. Here are 4, and 1 bonus one, reasons why we need referendum on the abolition of the British Royal Family Now.
1: Fairness and Equity
I’m already biased. I admit to being disgusted when I see extravagance and ridiculous wealth, especially in these times where homelessness has risen by 134% since 2010, with 60% of people in poverty in work, and millions STILL using foodbanks even with our ‘growing economy’. Now, I won’t blame the Conservative government for their failed austerity economic project, but I will blame the Queen for picking these troublesome times for young, poor and brown/black communities, to receive a ‘jackpot’ revenue of £19.2m from the Duchy of Lancaster (the monarch’s ancestral estate and private income source) in 2016-17, which is an increase of 7.9% from the previous year. Let’s accept for a moment the premise that she benefits the taxpayer through tourism yada yada. Is this just?
During a time when Brexit and crazy house prices mean normal, working people will be much poorer in the near future, why on Earth should the person who no one decided should rule the country be enjoying wealth so effortlessly attained? What happened to the idea that we’re all in this together, are we a ‘United Kingdom’ or a divided one where the younger royals can pretend they’re Kardashians, the Queen can buy a cheeky helicopter for £8m and Princes Andrew and Edward can live lavish on the people’s money. Revolting
Modern Britain espouses the values of democracy, equality under the law, justice and openness. That is incompatible with an unelected head of state. Why? Simply because in a country where these values are held in high esteem by our leaders and institutions is incompatible with a someone holding power and influence over society through bloodline and hereditary privilege.
What does it symbolise in a modern society that our Queen cannot be prosecuted for any crime on her part, that unlike us peasants she can drive out and about without a driving license and when she’s taking one of fancy trips to some hot country ‘cos Britain’s pissing with rain she needs no passport, she does all of this with taxpayers’ money and even though we subsidise her lavish lifestyle her income is not transparent nor accountable. She could very well spend millions on calling and voting on Love Island Couples. No one knows but her. In one of 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace she might have been laughing at Kem with the rest of us.
3. The Cost!
I won’t fault you for believing the monarchy is financially viable, I mean love her or hate her, Lizzy does bring the tourists and their valuable money in…Right? Wrong. The stats usually point to the Sovereign Grant to calculate the expenditure on the Queen, that is 25% surplus revenue from the Crown Estate, a publicly owned property portfolio, and this added up to £76m for her in 2016. The real cost of the Queen and the Monarchy more generally is £350 million annually, with just £106m spent on security.
Since Boris Johnson isn’t going to whip out the £350 million he promised our NHS from Brexit, let’s spend Lizzy’s money instead. Bad enough we pay for the lavish lifestyle of her cousins and kids who are rich enough to pay for their own mansions, we must also pay for the repairs of Buckingham Palace. Unlike the White House and Parliament, Buckingham Palace is only open 2 months a year when taxpayers could make a much larger profit by kicking the royals out and letting its impressive art collection become an accessible national museum.
4. Traditions are Pointless
In 21st Century Britain, we are a nation trapped by dead (and living) relics of the past. Whether it is the collapsing Houses of Parliament who require urgent renovations but cannot due to tradition, the Lords within them who are unelected and unaccountable to the people of the country or even the fact that our MPs do not even swear an oath to democracy or their constituents but instead proclaim their allegiance to the Queen.
Tradition is a vital link to a rich heritage and appreciation of the past, but it cannot be allowed to control the future.
The monarchy is trash and when it is cancelled, perhaps finally the opportunity for wholesale constitutional reform will be on the table. An elected house of lords? True federalisation of the ‘United Republic’? A democratic nation where the privileged by birth need not also be privileged in wealth?
That’s what is at stake in abolishing the monarchy.
For People of Colour
The same monarchy that oversaw imperialism, genocide, grand thievery and conquest in their name, still hold their title in Britain. It does no justice to Britain’s victims that the instigators of empire are still dishing out OBEs like it’s the 1740s. If Britain is truly the multi-cultural, modern, diverse and just country it claims, then no Queen whose stolen crown jewels and wealth are abhorrent to Asian, far eastern, indigenous and aboriginal and black people worldwide should sleep content.