‘Vermin’ and missing the point….
Peter White, an aspirant Labour councillor for Havering, has been dubbed ‘Britain’s most famous Republican’ by Paul Waugh at the Evening Standard after calling the Queen ‘vermin’. Certainly, you can argue such a comparison shows bad political judgement given that republicanism in the UK is a minority strain of thought and no doubt there is truth in the assertion that;
many working class voters support the Queen.
It is also reasonable to criticise Mr White on the grounds that his choice of language detracted from the substance of what he was saying; rightly, he said that Republicanism is a valid viewpoint and rightly he pointed to the cost of the civil list and the outrageous suggestion that, especially in these times of national economic debt, payments to the civil list should be increased. Yes it was a little infantile and puerile but there is a much more serious criticism of White; that for correctness of those two points, that he entirely misses the point. The point and the core problem that I believe democrats should have with the monarchy is outlined in the previous post. It is that constitutional monarchy state is an affront to democracy and the democratic process.
Yes, it is wrong that somebody should be born into a position of privilege and patronage and receive such large amounts of taxpayers money purely by dint of their lineage. After all, it squares badly off against the professed ideals of meritocracy does it not? However, what is even more distasteful and wrong is that such a person will make a speech on behalf of ‘her’ government (not the peoples) and that her government affords itself such power as it does under the royal prerogative.
It may well be that people wish to retain a monarch in some form but if they wish to do so then the ways and means exist to do that while the corrosive influence of the monarchy on democracy and the national purse can be constrained. Of course, not many in the Labour Party are too concerned with these issues as they have held the reins of state power for the last 12 years and in their eyes social progress is best served by it being their, not the Conservatives, legislative program that is enacted. Once in opposition however, Labour and it’s left may well hopefully remember the centrality of democracy to advancing the frontiers of progress.