As you’ll probably be aware by now, I am avidly Monarchist. I am often confronted, in my day-to-day role as editor, with various myths about republicanism in the UK. The supporters of a UK republic would have you believe that their numbers are vast, though in reality, every poll shows that republican support is well under 20% in some cases.
Earlier this year I did an article called 5 Anti-Monarchy Myths busted, as a follow on from that with some new anti-republic points for you to think/debate over – here are 5 more ‘facts’ that republicans want you to believe.
‘It is a lie that Monarchy brings in tourism revenue for the UK’
Republicans frequently say that Monarchy doesn’t bring in tourism revenue for the UK. A primary piece of ‘evidence’ for this claim is that Buckingham Palace doesn’t even feature on the most popular tourist attractions. What they neglect to say, however, is that the Palace is only open to visitors for two months a year.
If we take Buckingham Palace’s annual visitor count for 2011/12 (as quoted on Republic’s website) of 613,000 and times that by 6 to get an average if Buckingham Palace was open all year round, visitor number would in fact be around 3.67 million annually.
Based on this, this would actually place Buckingham Palace as the number one paid visitor attraction in the UK, based on the table from Visit England.
Aside from this point alone, Republic also exclude the indirect revenue from Monarchy such as commemorative memorabilia, sales of magazines and newspapers featuring Royalty, visits to the areas around royal residences (and the purchase of food and drink there around) and transport revenues.
‘The Monarch has too much real power/doesn’t have real power and is useless’
This is my absolute all time favourite republican sentiment. They’re so avid to make you believe their point of view that they change their argument based on how they feel. One moment they’ll tell you that the Monarch has no real power and therefore should be abolished because she is useless, the next minute they’ll say she has way too much power and must be stopped.
The fact of the matter is the Royal Prerogative (The Queen’s official state powers) are frequently exercised by Ministers of the Crown and not by Her Majesty herself.
They actually allow for a much better system than if we didn’t have a Monarchy as certain powers are contained within the Royal Prerogative which can help in a crisis or simply for expediency when required. such as the ability to dismiss ministers, withdrawing passports, calling elections and the making of treaties.
‘Monarchy doesn’t offer stability to the country at all’
Republic say that Monarchy doesn’t offer stability to the UK at all. They declare that the USA and Switzerland are ‘two of the most prosperous countries in the world’ and are both republics. What they don’t mention is that Switzerland only comes in at 9th. Before that comes seven countries with Monarchies and just one republic (Finland at 7th) on the latest survey.
Clearly they’re being heavily selective with their mentioning of countries.
They also ask for Monarchists to explain how Monarchy offers stability to a country, so here we go: having a Monarch as head of state means that their is a constant face to the country, which doesn’t change every 5 years in elections. Being as it is a non-partisan office, The Queen is someone the nation can look to as a personification of the national identity, which is not possible with a president who belongs to a political party and is only representative of a selection of the population. Through political upheaval and times of national emergency, the people always look to the Sovereign for guidance, representation (an icon of national resistance during WW2) and as a universal symbol of constance which no president or elected head of state could do.
‘Support for the Monarchy is constantly declining, Republicanism is on the rise’
No it’s not. For at least the last 20 years, support for a British Republic has remained at a constant low point. If anything, in the last few years, republican numbers have dropped.
Polls show that support for a British republic is, at latest count 17% – as opposed to 77% support in favour of the Monarchy. In the last 20 years, republican support has never gone above 22%, despite the ‘efforts’ of pressure group republic for the last decade (or however long it is) to try and change this.
People appreciate the Monarchy because of its value to the nation. When people come to the UK from overseas, they’re not interested in seeing where George Osbourne lives or where Ed Milliband married. They come to this country in many cases to see all the places used by the Royal Family – they want to see where Prince Harry lives, where William and Kate got married – and that says something for the vast interest in monarchy around the world.
Monarchy demands deference and ‘entrenches classism’
Does it though? In case republicans haven’t realised – Monarchy doesn’t ‘demand deference’. This is not the 1600s and you won’t get thrown in the tower for refusing to bow to The Queen. In fact, the official royal website advises that there are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the royal family and they won’t get offended if you don’t bow. It’s about doing what you’re comfortable with.
As for the classism argument, how can classism be entrenched in British society when anyone can become head of the government, we have a completely fair and equal justice system, our laws enforce equality for everyone, everyone has the same right and when Monarchy itself actually brings people from all different backgrounds together in times of celebration.