Democracy demands the end of the monarchy….
You couldn’t move for news of the Royal Engagement today. While this is obviously a time of great personal happiness for the betrothed and everybody will wish them well on a personal level; on a political level it is a reminder of one thing and one thing alone, namely the need to remove the monarch as head of state. The taxpayer should not be bankrolling anybodies wedding least of all that of Royals who are already in receipt of far too much of the taxpayers hard earned money.
Not only does it enshrine the idea of subjugation before the throne but its very existence makes an absolute nonsense of the claim Britain is meritocratic. As if this wasn’t enough however, the widespread myth that the Crown has no political power is absolute rubbish. A deeper argument for the end of the monarchy exists beyond crude economics and that is the democratic argument.
The Crown reserves significant political powers to itself as part of Britain’s hybrid constitutional settlement. Also, its government in the form of the executive also holds to itself significant powers which rise it above the legislature and allow it the freedom to act above democratic accountability. Tony Blair used powers reserved to the executive under the Royal Prerogative to declare war on Iraq with the full knowledge that any vote was only advisory, not binding (you can find a list of some of these powers here).
An awful lot of what is rotten and wrong with Britain’s democracy ultimately stems from the throne. So it is is that currently the Conservatives are busy stuffing the House of Lords with their peers under powers exercised by them through the Crown. The constitutional monarchy is the enemy of consistent and full democracy; while these remarks have no care for the royal family as people (they should be allowed to do as they please, receive no taxpayers money but be effectively privatised) they are quite clear that democracy demands the complete political emasculation of the monarch and the total abolition of all powers held under Royal Prerogative; with these powers given to the democratically elected and accountable legislature (which in turn must reformed to reflect the end of the House of Lords). If Labour is serious about building a modern democracy fit for purpose it will have to take aim against the monarchy…..