Well that was an interesting weekend, thankfully it is over. Royalist supporters littered the streets of London to sneak a glimpse of the Queen and celebrated sixty years of her Majesty’s reign. What a load of nonsense!
Liberalism has a long and intertwined history with Republicanism, the modern social contract theorists such as Hobbes and Locke were concerned with arbitrary coercion from monarchy and put forward their arguments for an alternative. The two ideologies, inevitably seeming collapsed into each other and this is why I find it bamboozling that Liberals are so keen to celebrate a history of unelected, hereditary monarchy. Liberalism is founded upon the notions of democracy and accountability, something that a monarchy cannot even think to offer. There are three often cited arguments to keep the monarchy.
The first is the revenue provided by tourism is good for the British economy. My objections to the monarchy are purely ideological. I’m not concerned with the arguments that the Royal Family costs tax payers £xyz or that they bring in £xyz in tourism (despite this being the most defunct argument a Royalist can have. Do we need to bring back the Gladiators to the Coliseum? People would come and look at buildings all the same.)
The next defence I so often here is that the Royal Family is a proud British tradition and that republicans are anti-British culture in that sense. Once upon a time, engaging in widespread trading of slaves was a proud British tradition. This is 2012, we cannot rely on tradition as a defence for anything, we should be always looking to progress and evolve.
The final objection to a republic is that the Queen currently provides “checks and balances” to the Government. Elizabeth II has NEVER used her veto. It is a ceremonial role with virtually no power. She serves no purpose to the politics of Britain. I’m not hugely in favour of having an elected President who would most likely simply replace the Queen in a pointless ceremonial role.
If people believe in the power of democracy we should seek to scrap the monarchy. Why do we need a President? We have a fully, democratically elected House of Commons and a (hopefully partly-elected) House Lords which provides the “checks and balances” to ensure we do not have a tyrannous dictatorship of Government.
I’m not being critical of the Royal Family in the slightest, I understand the great work the Queen does in her role and she has undoubtedly worked tirelessly in the name of Great Britain. But it is time to take of our Union Jack print sunglasses and wake up to the idea of a democratic republic.