Monarchy. It’s an internationally celebrated institution and in the UK, many regard it as what puts the ‘Great’ into Great Britain. Despite the Monarchy’s profound popularity and the many political and cultural advantages it offers, there are a few (and we mean a few) who advocate a republican Great Britain.
Monarchy has so much to offer to this country and indeed many other countries. Let’s first start by countering some classic republican arguments.
Firstly, the main motive of republicans is the aversion to an unelected head of state. Naturally, their proposed alternative is that the UK should have an elected head of state, which is fine for most countries, but not the UK. The immediate danger with having a President is politicising the office of Head of State. It is a fundamental belief of many that Heads of State should be politically neutral and have no vested interests in politics. A Monarchy offers not only an impartial head of state but also one that is above politics, i.e. the office of Sovereign stays very much out of party politics. In the words of Victorian Constitutional expert Walter Bagehot, “a parliamentary system [like Britain’s] educates the public, while a presidential system corrupts it.”
Continuity is another thing Monarchy offers to a country. Whereas the Prime Minister of the UK changes every 5 years now, the Monarch reigns usually over decades – continuity is very important, especially in a system where occupants of offices rarely stay the same.
Monarchy adds colour to the nation too. One of the most talked about things to do with the UK is our Monarchy, when people come to the United Kingdom, they’re not interested in seeing where the Chancellor lives or finding out the number of offices the Prime Minister’s staff have but in fact where our Queen lives and how guards stand so still. It’s a simple fact that without the Monarchy, the UK would be just another country.
Annual celebrations such as The Queen’s official birthday also give the UK a well needed boost, if there’s one thing the UK does better than any country in the world it’s tradition, and where do all the UK’s most famous traditions stem from… that’s right – Monarchy.
Political neutrality, continuity, colour and celebrations are one thing but what Republicans really get fired up about is the supposed ‘outrageous cost of maintaining the Monarchy’, well for any who wish to know more on this, we refer you to our article on The True Cost Of The Monarchy. But to summarise, the Monarchy makes profit for the country and despite all the republican outrage, our taxes would go up without the Monarchy, not down. And as for security costs which Republicans claim are so astronomically high, would a President be any different? Assuming you republicans wouldn’t want your President harmed while in office!
And really, would the UK be the same without its Monarchy – it wouldn’t even be called the UK if a republic, does the ‘United Republic’ [UR] sound right to you?
This article is essentially just kicking into touch any Republican arguments, for there is no fear of the Monarchy leaving any time soon. At the last poll at the time of the Diamond Jubilee, only 13% of people in the UK were in favour of becoming a republic, 80% supported the Monarchy and 7% weren’t sure.
At its lowest point in recent years, the highest figure for republicans in the UK was at 22% during 2005 when feeling towards Prince Charles’s new wife, the then Camilla Parker-Bowles were at an all time low. Even during the unsettling times, the UK stands by its Monarchy as we’re sure it will for hopefully centuries to come!
photo credit: Defence Images via photopin cc
Do you have any thoughts on the points raised in this article? Do you have any more to add? Feel free to do so in the comments box below.
Republicans want to get rid of the monarchy, but are conflicted on what type of republic they want. Many appear to be looking at the Irish government as a model for the UK. But under that system, the Irish President is basically an elected version of the UK monarchy – with many ceremonial/formal powers like appointing the prime minister, signing bills into law, bring head of the armed forces, etc. The only real difference is the lack of color and extensive ceremony with the President.
The other republican model is that of the USA. But under that model, an elected president is as powerful – if not more powerful – than an unelected monarch. Some republicans are uncomfortable with such power in the hands of one person because it smacks on monarchy. In fact, it’s been said the the US president can be considered an elective monarch, since some of his powers (particularly as head of the armed forces) are like those of a king.
Given the two models, it seems that the UK stands to gain little from becoming a republic. Also, as you said, any head of state costs money one way or another. Here in the USA, our president costs 20 times more than the monarchy, according to the following report – and even with the security costs which republicans like to add to the official cost of the monarchy, the American presidency still costs vastly more than the British monarchy.
Remember, the US president and UK monarchy have large national and international profiles, so it’s expected that a good sum of money will be spent to project such profiles.
Also, here are come articles about the cost of the presidency of the French Republic
So, the UK monarchy does give value for money compared to some of its contemporaries. If the issues concerning republicans ultimately come down to cost, they are getting a bargain with the monarchy (and that’s not counting the fact that most of the Crown revenues go to the Treasury).
I have always thought the British system of government was the best in the world. Prime Ministers come and go but the monarch serves for life. You just have to compare the stability and majesty of the British system to the constant upheavals and corruption stories in the nation right across the English Channel. France, on its Fifth Republic will always be a symbol of instability and revolution. Actually, since the early days of the Third Republic corruption was found up to the gilded halls of the Elysee Palace. Thank God Britain has kept its heritage and traditions intact;she would not want to become another sleaxy republic a la francaise!
no republic,long live the queen……………
Monarchy is Great British identity and very much loved and supported by British people. Queen Elizabeth life is dedicated to her people and her country. She is an archetype of pure strength and wisdom, an inspiration to all who value great diplomacy, clear judgment, sharp intellect and deep love for her people, charities and community. I believe British monarchy will have a different outlook in the future but they will always have a great influence and power to make this World a better place. Please let us not forget Princess Diana’s charity work for all people and children of the World ! Her Princes are following her footsteps and with Britain being incredibly multicultural and ethnically diverse by each day, they can only enhance our society and services with their experience, wealth of knowledge and influence. The World is changing so quickly for the better with lens on Royals welcoming Katherine now Duchess of Cambridge into the family and she will become the first Queen of non-royal descent, new polices are in place such as same gender marriage, admirable decisions of political leaders not to create another war in Syria and empowerment of black people across the World by having a first black President of USA. People of Great Britain are loyal loving royalist and suggestion of royal election is an insult to their identity.
Really weak arguments for a monarchy. Example ‘UR – does that sound right to you?’ Actually people would get used to it in a few days… Monarchy has so much to offer.. Such as? Nothing. They have no power. They live a privileged lifestyle wanting for nothing while normal people suffer. If we had no monarchy how would my life change? It would have no effect at all except maybe I’d pay less tax. Oh, and the often quoted argument about tourists. They never meet or see the queen – they have a look at the palaces whilst they are here – sure – we can keep them. Why are the Royal family so popular? Because they have 24/7 positive coverage on all media with barely a squeak of criticism tolerated. They are outdated, Elitist, underworked, grossly overpaid, not even from this country, they hate the public (see video of Prince Phillip saying he would like to exterminate humans – not surprising given his Nazi past) and irrelevant but they will stay because people have been brainwashed to believe they serve a purpose.
Why fix something that isn’t broken?
Because the queen and her kids drain 202M pounds of the people’s money every year once travel costs, expenses, salary etc are counted. In the mean time 2.1M Brits are out of a job, public spending is taking massive cuts. Policemen, firemen, nurses, teachers are being paid a median wage of 25k pounds a year while the monarchy is directly receiving 15% of all money collected by the Crown Estate, about 38M pounds this year (2014). Maybe next time there is a fire, the queen can come with a hose. So really there is something broken here.
To receive the latest Royal Central posts straight to your email inbox, enter your email address below and press subscribe.
Join 393 other subscribers