“I say Charles don’t you ever crave,
To appear on the front of The Daily Mail
Dressed in your mother’s bridal veil?”
(The Queen Is Dead- The Smiths)
If you were to ask somebody what they thought a republican looked like, a glut of unflattering images would more than likely flow through their minds. They would imagine a pale, malnourished and feral individual, wheezing and snarling from the shadows and residing in a landfill. While this may be true in my case, republicans, contrary to popular belief, have the same number of limbs as a ‘normal’ human being and do not resemble extras from Star Wars Episode I.
I absolutely and unequivocally despise the monarchy and everything it stands for. It is a crumbling symbol of Britain’s horrifying colonial past. It embodies inherited privilege, pomp and a sneering arrogance that translates as unbridled disdain for the British public. It is a loathsome anachronism, insidiously pulsing away in the background like some malignant, grotesque tumour. It clings desperately to the landscape like some belligerent squatter, wheeling out Saint Kate for injections of positive publicity. Nevertheless, through the royal wedding and diamond jubilee, the corpse of nuclear jingoism has been reanimated. However, this has not dulled my appetite for the abolition of the monarchy whatsoever.
Britain has undergone royal castration before. Murderous, puritanical fuck muppet Oliver Cromwell helmed the Parliamentarian’s uprising against the warring Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649. Until the restoration in 1660, when Charles II assumed the throne, Britain was governed as a republic. Republicanism has a patchy history on these isles: a poll by The Guardian carried out last year found that 69% of people thought Britain would be worse off without the monarchy, while only 22% thought better. However, campaign group Republic’s membership rose from a pre-royal wedding announcement total of 9000 members to 26,000, which suggests a republican spirit still dwells within the public. This is best exemplified by Danny Boyle’s refreshing rejection of a knighthood, offered in recognition for his orchestration of the Olympic opening ceremony. He joins great cultural figures like LS Lowry and Benjamin Zephaniah in refusing to mindlessly lie prostrate before the Crown.
The monarchy is unelected and unaccountable. The public has never had any say in who gets to reign over them, or whether they even want a monarch. The problem they pose is part of a wider malaise which blights British politics- a gaping democratic deficit. We are repeatedly told by hate filled, self serving politicians that constitutional issues are not a priority and we needn’t worry our pretty little heads about them. Subsequently, potential reforms surrounding the deeply unfair voting system, corrupt House of Lords and now boundary changes have slipped away with an apathetic shrug. Nick Clegg’s feeble attempts to administer constitutional change can only be filed under ‘disingenuous’: much like everything he’s done or uttered since he slithered into politics.
Far from being a redundant figure, the monarch still holds a frightening amount of power. Only silly Lizzie has the ability to call or dissolve parliament, and when the Prime Minister wants to call a general election, they must go to Buckingham Palace and ask permission from the monarch to hold one. Significant unchecked powers are derived from the crown and passed on to the Prime Minister of the day, in the form of prerogative powers: these include the ability to declare war as well as appoint and dismiss ministers. Again, the public has absolutely no say in this- which demonstrates the flaws in our unwritten constitution.
Republic estimate the annual cost of the monarchy to the taxpayer is £202.4 million- which is 112 times more expensive than the Irish president. The monarchy does not stand for democracy or fairness: which is why an elected head of state is sorely needed. So when The Mail starts screeching about the new born royal around June time, remember: we are citizens- not subjects!
By Rudi Abdallah