Should the monarchy be abolished? How about a cost analysis first, eh?

June 5th, 2012 § 4 comments

So, that’s it for another 10 years, when we’ll all be waving the Union Flag at the Queens’ platinum jubilee.

As expected there’s been the republicans calling the monarchy to be abolished. Not many in the mainstream, but then there wouldn’t be, would there? I’ve seen a bit of cynicism, ok, a lot of cynicism, on blogs and Twitter but then that’s probably just the circles I move in.

But Should we get rid of Her Maj and install an elected head of state?

To decide that, we need to know what the hell she does in the first place, apart from wave at assorted crowds and chop peoples heads off. Sorry, I’m thinking of a different queen, aren’t I?

All the reasons I’ve heard for keeping the monarchy, or Queen Elizabeth specifically are:

  • She’s a good role model on how to behave.
  • The monarchy are good for tourism.
  • She brings stability to the country.
  • The queen does so much for the country

Then the reasons I’ve heard for abolishing the monarchy:

  • It is undemocratic to have an elected head of state.
  • err…
  • that’s it.

So, the queen is a good role model. So are my parents. So are my in-laws. So are thousands of other people and families across the land. Why should one person or family be put on such a pedestal ahead of anyother because of history and birth?

The monarchy may be good for tourism, but we have fuck loads of history to lean back on and sell to the tourists. Do we really need an actual monarchy now? The amount of tourist that come here really expecting to see the queen are so low as to be virtually nil. Tourists come to see the palaces, the jewels, the castles. They’re not going to go away just because we decide to elect a head of state. We could still have guards at Windsor castle and Buckingham Palace for the tourists’ photo ops and it would still cost a fuck of a lot less that it does now.

The Queen, I’ve heard, brings stability. Just like she supposedly does so much for the country. Some specifics would be nice, but no one I’ve heard ever seems to go into specifics. For the ordinary man in the street, the queen speaks to him once a year at christmas and opens parliament where she is given a script to read from. Would we be worse off with out that?

The queen also speaks at dinners and banquets, maybe I haven’t been paying attention but those speeches don’t seem to have had much of an affect on me either. Those speeches could be delivered by any head of state, elected or otherwise.

The Queen doesn’t have any political power apart from one – then ability to dissolve parliament and that isn’t going to happen, is it?

Sounds to me like we would get along fine without a monarchy. Let’s get democratic and elect a head of state instead. One drawback to that would be, what if we, as a nation, elected Tony Blair? David Cameron would probably expect to be elected as head too. After all, he did get elected Prime Minister (sort of) so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

But if we don’t need the queen because she does bugger all, do we need a president instead?

What we need to do is find out how much value the queen and the monarchy in general add to the country. Anyone know? If the monarchy bring in more cash than they cost, then fuck it, lets keep them. Once they start costing more than they bring in, then we cut our losses and fuck them off out of it.

Before we get to the stage of electing a head of state, there needs to be a debate about what they would actually be for? What purpose would they serve. If they’re just a replacement for the queen with no political power, then fuck it, We’ll be ok without, thank you very much. If their role will be different to the current monarchs’ and have at least some political power, then it will be quite a big thing to do as it will impact on the whole political landscape.

For the republicans, this is what they need to do. Start a discussion on what the monarchs replacement would be and do, not just say the royals need to go.

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§ 4 Responses to Should the monarchy be abolished? How about a cost analysis first, eh?"

  • john b says:

    Having a national symbol who isn’t the PM (but who is completely powerless) is in itself important, I reckon, even aside from the cost/benefit stuff.

    If there were no Queen/President/Grand Poohbah/Randomly Selected Figurehead/whatever, then the PM would represent the UK at formal and ceremonial events. S/he would be awarded the dignity of, in at least some sense, personifying the country. There would be an extent to which personal attacks on him/her would be seen as unpatriotic (in the way that calling the UK or Australian PM a shitbag currently isn’t, but calling the US President or the Queen one currently is).

    The last thing the kind of megalomaniac likely to become PM needs is *increased* ceremonial importance or public respect.

  • Tyler says:

    PwC and Brand Finance (an advisory/management consultant) have both done pretty extensive reviews of what value the Monarchy brings to the UK. It’s possible to find their work free on the web somewhere.

    Ultimately both come out with numbers showing that the monarchy is actually a net positive creator of value to the UK economy though.

    • Sim-O says:

      If that is the case then considering the points John makes, the republicans are not gonna get my vote.

      I shall have to see if I can find them reports, I’m a bit curious as to how they worked it out.

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