Posted 20 hours ago

Abolish the Monarchy: Why we should and how we will

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Even in my most evangelical of days as a teenager (I really must have been insufferable in my religious fervour) I could see that the belief the monarchy was somehow 'God-given' was simply not true. I have been aware of the Privy Council and some of its activities as well as the power exercised by a Prime Minister which meets the criteria for the Quinton Hogg (Hailsham) assessment of their position as an elected dictatorship.

Thus many of the pro-monarchy arguments mentioned sounded very familiar from discussions I've had, e. I hope that the monarchy is abolished soon but I don't share the author's view that it will happen anytime soon. Again, he draws on primary sources to demonstrated that the shift from monarchy to republic would be a relatively simple task. As daylight gets through, behind the curtains of deference and secrecy, we increasingly see an institution that is ripe for challenge and criticism. Abolish The Monarchy renews and informs the debate, eviscerating the nonsensical claims of the royalists and setting the tone for a full-throated challenge to the monarchy.Yet just four weeks later, as the constitution, at the centre of which lies the Crown, was in crisis [because Boris Johnson's government ministers had nearly all resigned yet he still clung on as PM], the Queen had vanished. Transworld have bought world rights in Abolish the Monarchy by the Chief Executive of Republic, Graham Smith, and publish next year. As some of the largest land and business owners in the country, those interests are considerable so consequently is their interests in our lawmaking process. Royal Consent laws allow for senior Royals access to legislation at the drafting phase to make sure they don’t compromise their private interests. It’s a disarming opening, for sure, but – on the principle that you should always lead with your strongest suit – also an odd one, for, as Smith himself eventually says, questions of tourism are irrelevant to constitutional arrangements.

I am in favour of a republic, but I am not entirely convinced by his arguments for keeping the Westminster system of democracy. They say Britain should be proud to have the mother of parliaments, to be a shining beacon of democracy and an example to other nations. Thomas Paine does get a mention, though one is left with the suspicion that Smith’s acquaintance with him comes via The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations rather than Rights of Man, since he is invoked merely to make the point that the appearance of something being correct doesn’t make it so.

He does not resort to caustic insult, and what barbed remarks there are have a good reason for being there. At just over 200-page the shortest polemic which effectively dismisses all the arguments for the monarchy. Since it hauled the author of this book off to the cells hours before Charles III’s coronation, in full sight of the world’s media, the campaign group he heads, Republic, has almost doubled its membership. One moment we see the monarch, and are told of her great virtues, the next she is nowhere to be seen, as we're told that under no circumstances can the Queen be 'dragged into' doing her job.

Graham Smith shows what fools our rotten constitution makes of us, with a monarch as emblem of a country beset by nepotism, backhanders, chumocracy and inherited privilege. Graham Smith been involved with the republican cause for twenty years, employed as Republic’s lead campaigner and CEO since 2005. When The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarchy was published 35 years ago and until very recently, the British monarchy seemed pretty unassailable.Smith correctly points out in this fantastic manifesto the fact that British media and public discourse does not allow for even a shred of anti-monarchy (thus pro-democracy) sentiment in the media or other spaces of debate, lest the lumpen learn that they’ve been duped into supporting their own (by all objective measures of wealth and political power) oppressors. Most importantly it is very thought provoking and the contents has actually changed my perception and opinions on many issues raised in this book.

My only wish is that the author will produce a cheat sheet of all the stats and arguments summarised and ready to either draw on - when doing demonstrations or in discussions on the streets - or, better still, commit to memory. The "locking-on devices" were in fact luggage straps, and he had in fact been in conversation with the police for weeks leading up to the arrest. I bought the book because I am a member of Republic but felt that I should at least make the effort to read it although unlikely to be persuaded by the arguments therein. If you were hoping that the fall of the Windsors would at least mean no more tampon metaphors, think again. I appreciated the author’s direct but informative attempts to speak about republics in a hopeful but practical way.

Rather than take a values-neutral approach to issues beyond the narrow question of how the head of state should be chosen, Smith makes republicanism a vessel for his own values, which he dresses up as those of the British people. If I were to offer Graham Smith some constructive criticism I would recommend that he could have replaced the Lords chapters with one trying to focus more into de-toxifying the idea of what a presidency would actually mean and how we could make it work for our country. Charles, even before Diana's death, was clearly a selfish fool and his father was already infamous for his foul faux pas.

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