Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks

Keep the monarchy?

Yes - they are personally important to me and must stay.
5
14%
No - they are irrelevant to me and serve no purpose. Give it a year and they won't be missed.
23
64%
Couldn't give a stuff either way.
8
22%
 
Total votes: 36

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Diamond Dog » 04 Dec 2017, 21:16

The Prof wrote:Beckham's kid leads a privileged life trading on his surname. So do lots of other people. I get it, - it's not fair.
£1 billion pounds has been given away in some VAT loophole to owners of private jets in an Isle of Man tax dodge.What is Lewis Hamilton's contribution to society? He drives cars around in a circle.


But it's not enshrined in law.

Can you not see the difference?
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby The Prof » 04 Dec 2017, 21:19

Is it your .67p you're worried about?

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby German Dave » 04 Dec 2017, 23:17

Diamond Dog wrote:But they don;t get handouts from the State. Or Royal Yachts and all the other bollocks that goes with it.


And we don't have to tug our forelocks to them like we do with royalty and the aristocracy. We're not "put in our place" by them.

What a load of offensive old cobblers.

And, as I've said (though our constitutional experts and court correspondents have studiously ignored it), they actually interfere in the running of the country, undermining the sovereignty of Parliament.
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby echolalia » 04 Dec 2017, 23:28

Toby wrote:Name me a country that has changed its political system without revolution and the accompanying bloodshed, occupation or the like

Portugal (1974)

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Diamond Dog » 05 Dec 2017, 05:55

The Prof wrote:Is it your .67p you're worried about?


Diamond Dog wrote:It's not the money.

It's the privilege. The inherent entitlement. The personification of all that - that's what's wrong with the Monarchy.



Hope this helps . You're clearly struggling to read and/or comprehend.
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Darryl Strawberry » 05 Dec 2017, 06:25

When meeting a royal, there are rules about who can speak first, where to look, what to call them, how you should stand and when you should sit. It is a mysterious business to the uninitiated.
But it stems from a time when monarchs were accorded an almost divine status and had to be treated accordingly.
"From medieval times, monarchs were divinely appointed to rule by God, so they were kind of seen as gods, so they demanded to be treated as gods," says Dr Kate Williams, a historian at London's Royal Holloway university.
"They are treated as people set apart from the rest of us, so primarily what it is creating is distance and grandeur."
In short, says Dr Williams, "you don't kiss them, you don't touch them, you bow - over and over again."
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby German Dave » 05 Dec 2017, 07:28

All of which underpins the dreadful class system that infects our society even today in the 21st century.
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby The Prof » 05 Dec 2017, 10:17

Diamond Dog wrote:
The Prof wrote:Is it your .67p you're worried about?


Diamond Dog wrote:It's not the money.

It's the privilege. The inherent entitlement. The personification of all that - that's what's wrong with the Monarchy.



Hope this helps . You're clearly struggling to read and/or comprehend.


OK - just checking.

When I mentioned privilege and Beckham's kid before I didn't detect much outrage. Same goes for the children of any sports star, or singer or elected politician or company director. That's because they've worked really hard to earn it, right? Driving a car, singing and dancing a bit. A greater contribution to society than, say, working as part of a helicopter search and rescue team on Anglesea

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby The Prof » 05 Dec 2017, 10:28

Darryl Strawberry wrote:When meeting a royal, there are rules about who can speak first, where to look, what to call them, how you should stand and when you should sit. It is a mysterious business to the uninitiated.
But it stems from a time when monarchs were accorded an almost divine status and had to be treated accordingly.
"From medieval times, monarchs were divinely appointed to rule by God, so they were kind of seen as gods, so they demanded to be treated as gods," says Dr Kate Williams, a historian at London's Royal Holloway university.
"They are treated as people set apart from the rest of us, so primarily what it is creating is distance and grandeur."
In short, says Dr Williams, "you don't kiss them, you don't touch them, you bow - over and over again."


German Dave wrote:All of which underpins the dreadful class system that infects our society even today in the 21st century.


... If you want to read some of the rest of the above article......

"Dr Williams says royal etiquette has adapted to reflect the shift in what we expect from our royal family.
"I think it is changing, I think in the earlier period people wanted their monarch to be set apart from them, that's what they wanted, they wanted someone more powerful [to protect them]," she says.

"The Japanese, the Chinese, the Middle Eastern countries, are more concerned with protocol day-to-day."


In other words, if the queen visits your school and you shake her hand (like you would any other old lady) I don't think you're going to vet whisked off to The Tower.

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Copehead » 05 Dec 2017, 10:28

The Prof wrote:
Diamond Dog wrote:
The Prof wrote:Is it your .67p you're worried about?


Diamond Dog wrote:It's not the money.

It's the privilege. The inherent entitlement. The personification of all that - that's what's wrong with the Monarchy.



Hope this helps . You're clearly struggling to read and/or comprehend.


OK - just checking.

When I mentioned privilege and Beckham's kid before I didn't detect much outrage. Same goes for the children of any sports star, or singer or elected politician or company director. That's because they've worked really hard to earn it, right? Driving a car, singing and dancing a bit. A greater contribution to society than, say, working as part of a helicopter search and rescue team on Anglesea


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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby !!VAPRANT!! » 05 Dec 2017, 10:29

German Dave wrote:All of which underpins the dreadful class system that infects our society even today in the 21st century.


:roll:

How does this 'dreadful class system' manifest itself in your daily existence, Andy? Are you bowing and scraping to people with hereditary privileges? Being forced to lick the boots of the peerage?

What would you prefer, as a system? Give us a general idea!
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby German Dave » 05 Dec 2017, 11:31

The Unfragrant Ox wrote:
German Dave wrote:All of which underpins the dreadful class system that infects our society even today in the 21st century.


:roll:

How does this 'dreadful class system' manifest itself in your daily existence, Andy? Are you bowing and scraping to people with hereditary privileges? Being forced to lick the boots of the peerage?

What would you prefer, as a system? Give us a general idea!


Well done for finally interacting meaningfully on the thread, John. I know it must have been hard for you.

I'll try to give a full reply tonight.
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Goat Boy » 05 Dec 2017, 14:04

From my own personal experience I can’t say I’ve felt that I’ve encountered the class system in a negative way. I mean I was aware of the class system growing up but it was always vague, abstract and filtered through my parents. My folks were not political but hated the Tories. I knew there was Us and Them but quite who Them were was not that clear. My parents always hated the royals too mind so I grew up with that anger as well. I knew very little about the public school system and grew up in a very working/lower middle class town and area. I think the first time I was maybe aware of public school was when the Gordonstoun hockey team played against our school. I remember thinking they somehow looked different to the girls at our school. The two worlds didn’t really meet which I guess is the class system in action itself to a degree. I grew up in North east scotland, you know? I guess there’s always that influence even if people don’t realise it but in terms of impacting on my life? I dunno. I’m the first member of my family to go to university which made my parents incredibly proud but the significance was lost on me at the time. Things were different for them and I think they’re different for kids now (jobs wise anyway) but I was also able to go to university, get my fees paid and get a degree. I went into the job market during a relatively prosperous time and was able to get experience. I’ve done alright whilst managing to avoid climbing up the greasy poll very far. Completely my own choice and also factoring in my own limitations of course. I certainly don’t believe the world I personally have encountered is classless but I think I’ve been luckier than some generations clearly and I’m grateful for that. Nothing really sticks in my craw. I should add that I have only been able to get on the property ladder thanks to my folks giving me my inheritance now however. If it wasn’t for them I would have little chance of doing that so the social mobility thing has fallen down there for me. I would hardly be alone in that respect amongst my peers of course.

It’s really in the political and cultural arena where I see class. Certainly the former appears to have gotten worse over the years but you increasingly see it in the latter too. And not just the arts where you would expect to see the middle and upper class but in popular culture too. I think we are going backwards in this respect and the progress and opportunities that appeared in the 60s are diminishing. That makes me angry.
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby The Modernist » 05 Dec 2017, 14:13

I've come across it in some areas more than others. I remember being very aware of it when I was trying to get "ahead" in publishing in London for example. I became very aware that I just didn't have the right background in terms of university and schooling. I'd approach it very differently now and go more left-field, concentrating on small publishers, but at the time I was just discouraged.
I agree very much with that last paragraph.

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Goat Boy » 05 Dec 2017, 14:25

I work in offices with computers. I’m sure other professions are quite different but I can’t say I’ve seen any particular class bias where I’ve worked

Ditto living in Aberdeen really. There’s a lot of money up there but a lot of it is actually people from working class backgrounds. I mean the old man earned very good money growing up but it was one of those rare working class jobs that paid really well (he was a scaffolder offshore). Maybe it's unusual in that respect.

Edinburgh is quite different and I’m far more aware of class down here than I ever was up there mind. But it’s mostly English students and Morningside grannies, that sorta thing.
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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Thang-y » 05 Dec 2017, 14:28

OK, an attempt at catching up (on the non yes-or-no discussion), falling short in some responses as it's already been said or it shouldn't need elaborating.

Toby wrote:Here's an interesting article from the Economist whilst we ponder this issue.

The case against the monarchy

The Economist article gave an argument which I wasn't going to comment on as at the time no-one here had called for the 'for' argument. Prof since has but I'll comment later.

The case for the monarchy
... that sets the bar for a change to an institution that commands a great deal of affection (think of the millions who celebrated the royal wedding or the Queen’s golden jubilee) pretty high.

Is there affection for the monarchy? Is there actual support for them? [Not here there isn't] Really? I'd like clear evidence of that - people can think they bring in money to the country from tourism etc but that's not real evidence of affection or popular support.

Those who would like to scrap a popular [sic] monarchy need to be able to show that there is a significant demand for a change (which there is not)

See my comments on general apathy. The monarchy doesn't hit us individually massively in our finances so there's no tremendous outcry for change and that doesn't mean there's support for them.

or [need to be able to show] that the institution does significant harm

Bollocks

It is accused of being expensive, but offset against the few tens of millions of cost the fact that Britain’s royal heritage is a big part of its tourist appeal, not to mention the unquantifiable but surely substantial brand-management efforts that the Queen in effect performs on overseas trips. An alternative, elected head of state would not be cost-free either.

Hasn't the tourism benefit claim been debunked?
Brand management? Come on now. And as I recall Prince Andrew is very active in that field.
And we're talking about an unelected body not the international dealings of elected government for which you expect reasonable cost.

The monarchy is accused of entrenching elitism and the class system, but it is a fantasy to imagine that those things would vanish in a republic; they certainly have not in America

A similar elitism and class system to that of America's exists in Australia - in addition to the monarchy. So what? For the non-royals it's to do with wealth and power (which sometimes, like the Murdochs, continues in families) - that tends to happen. But they aren't entrenched in perpetuity and financed involuntarily. And you're not expected to curtsey to them.

while the monarchies of Denmark, Sweden and Norway are among the most meritocratic and egalitarian in the world.

That's up to them. The nature of their monarchy is also very different.

It is accused of damaging democracy because (on paper) the Queen retains vast constitutional powers. But this ignores the fact that there is not the remotest chance that she or her successors would actually use them; if ever she or they did, then Britain could and indeed should consider becoming a republic.

I'll talk about this when I have a go at discussing what German Dave posted.

On the other hand, it is just as plausible to assert that there are benefits to a monarchy, on top of the (hard to quantify) economic ones. At a time when most government institutions everywhere are unpopular and even hated, any part of the state which people still actually like is a rare plus, something not to be discarded lightly.

Government is government, it will always be hated by part of the electorate. Because it's active in governing.
And there are other aspects of the State which are popular and which would remain in a republic.
They're saying things like 'popular monarchy' and 'discarding lightly' don't make them fact. Or take into account people who don't actively support the monarchy.

And what would replace the monarch?

Here we go ...

An elected and therefore political head of state is sure to upset at least one large section of the electorate a lot more than an uncontroversial one who is above politics.

Uncontroversial? .. OK
See above.

Getting rid of it simply isn’t worth the fuss.

No, quite right. Let's avoid a fuss. More tea, vicar?


Part 2 - Retort to the Economist's case for modest reform
coming soon ..

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Thang-y » 05 Dec 2017, 15:00

And the case for modest reform
The fact that a monarchy is not intellectually justifiable does not mean that it does not have a stabilising role. This may be particularly true in Britain, a composite nation. The division of the currently United Kingdom is a goal that some value dearly, but for Britons who do not particularly identify with one of the kingdom’s constituent parts, the crown may seem a more binding element. And in the absence of a written constitution, it is probably a better focus for the loyalties of the armed forces than the prime minister would be.

I thought this was a good point. They did talk about democracies from scratch which was irrelevant but as a unifying force in identity, especially at a time when decentralisation has been going on .. good point. But not one which is impossible or necessarily difficult to overcome.
Take a look the French Armed Forces who are loyal and fiercely patriotic despite having had heads of state individuals may not necessarily support. It would be a transition for the UK but there's no shortage in pride in being British/English/Welsh, more than we armchair politicians give credit for. It's much more conceivable than this argument suggests.

Thus, despite its manifest absurdity and unpalatable associations with inherited wealth and status more broadly, the case for a British republic needs to be pretty strong to justify the uncertain but real risks of transition

Again, it's the "scarey alternative" argument.
Which is arguable but I don't want to do it just now and would make this thread even more of a quagmire. But I reject the "real risks" [in the 21st century Britain] claim.

Britain’s ... entangled history of democracy and monarchy has left it with a highly centralized constitution that locates the nation’s sovereignty in "the king in parliament"—a situation that gives the leader of the majority party in the legislature a disturbingly large part of the power that was once vested entirely in the monarchy.

OK, well that's changing, the centralisation. And ...

This situation could be remedied quite easily by keeping the crown but changing its constitutional basis to one along the lines of that most excellent of countries, Belgium. Belgium is a popular monarchy. Its constitution makes clear that sovereignty rests in the people; the King (or Queen, though it has yet to have one)—who is King of the Belgians, a people, not Belgium, a territory— becomes monarch not by right, but by taking an oath to uphold the people’s constitution.

Apart from saying the boogeyman of republicanism isn't necessarily the risk that they're portraying it and in fact the monarchy could be gotten rid of once and for all, take a look at the Belgian monarchy. There is no way the monarchy, the "aristocracy", the media and international supporters will let the monarchy go so low-key. That would need a radical change and it's unrealistic. For the monarchy to revolve into what would effectively be a new system, new routines, giving back to the state lands and estates currently owned by various Duchies (you know, to be more like the Belgian system) ... no. Much more realisable just to take them out of the processes of government they still take part in and remove them from their titular positions. By comparison, that is.

A change to the British constitution which made the kingdom’s various peoples sovereign and the head of state the guardian of that sovereignty, not the source of it, would be a welcome plank in the more general programme of reform that the British state clearly needs. The British helped to give the Belgians their constitution in 1830. If the Belgians were to give some of it back 200 years on that would be a worthy return.

Cheese.


Not a definitive answer to all the points but the good points in Economist piece did warrant a reply.

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby The Prof » 05 Dec 2017, 15:24

echolalia wrote:
Toby wrote:Name me a country that has changed its political system without revolution and the accompanying bloodshed, occupation or the like

Portugal (1974)


Interesting.

I hadn't heard of The Carnation Revolution before. The Portuguese Monarchy was overthrown in 1910 leading to a chaotic 16 year Republic followed by a psudo-fasist dictatorship. Overthrown peacefully in 1974.
I'm not sure if there are any lessons for us now but it was an interesting read.
There''s still some kind of unofficial Royal family - is that right?

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Thang-y » 05 Dec 2017, 15:40

German Dave wrote: In fact, the Monarchy has never ceded power other than under extreme duress from the people. In a very real sense, the broad theme of politics over the last thousand years plus has been the struggle of the people to free themselves from the rule of an unelected, self-perpetuating elite.

And just to further complicate the discussion, I'd argue that it isn't just governmental power they would or should lose but the lands and funding which come with that position. I'd even argue about the massive land ownership inherited by the monarchic outcrops that is the hereditary "Aristocracy". While we're at it, like.

German Dave wrote: The reality is that the British Royal Family have much more political influence than we imagined even ten years ago. When I studied for my politics A Level 35 years ago, I remember learning that these days the role of the constitutional monarchy was purely ceremonial and that if the Queen ever challenged the rule of parliament it would lead to the immediate abolition of monarchy. When I continued my studies at Durham I learnt that, actually, it's not quite as simple as that and that the Queen and Prince Charles, to some extent at least, had the ear of the Prime Minister and as such could not be seen as completely non-political.

And then the "secretive constitutional loophole" was revealed:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/oct ... egislation


Politically, I believe they're powerless but I'm about to read the articles you posted. Legally, however, she is sovereign. That may have a bearing on it ... [*edit: yes I think the connection/logic is probably that in the same way you won't get a R. -vs- R. prosecution, a legal step against the crown, similarly they want consent in passing laws affecting the crown*]

The Guardian wrote:a secretive constitutional loophole that gives him the right to veto legislation that might affect his private interests

So far, it concerns his personal matters not that of the nation ...

The Guardian wrote:Since 2005, ministers from six departments have sought the Prince of Wales' consent to draft bills on everything from road safety to gambling and the London Olympics, in an arrangement described by constitutional lawyers as a royal "nuclear deterrent" over public policy. Unlike royal assent to bills, which is exercised by the Queen as a matter of constitutional law, the prince's power applies when a new bill might affect his own interests, in particular the Duchy of Cornwall, a private £700m property empire that last year provided him with an £18m income.

But because he's so high in the "aristocracy" his personal matters overlap so much with public interests. And there's the rub. He's/they're being afforded political say because of the vast nature of his personal (if hereditary) wealth.

Nevertheless, although much wider-ranging than we would have expected, Charles' power of veto is limited to those matters encroaching on *his* (albeit vast and inherited aristocratic) estate. He does try to bend ministers' ears - that's long known about, but it isn't an invested power. An abuse of position, yes I'd say so.

The second article covers the topic of the first. The third expands the power of the veto concerning matters which affect their estates:

The Guardian wrote:They also reveal the power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation relating to decisions about the country going to war.

Well I suppose going to war would affect their estates.
So the veto, although personal, is clearly also political.

The Guardian wrote:The new laws that were required to receive the seal of approval from the Queen or Prince Charles cover issues from higher education and paternity pay to identity cards and child maintenance. In one instance the Queen completely vetoed the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999, a private member's bill that sought to transfer the power to authorise military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament.

Difficult to see how it would impact on her.

The Guardian wrote:She was even asked to consent to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 because it contained a declaration about the validity of a civil partnership that would bind her.

Bind her how? That sounds purely political. It's much more than this

The Guardian wrote:The guidance states that the Queen's consent is likely to be needed for laws affecting hereditary revenues, personal property or personal interests of the Crown, the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall. Consent is also needed if it affects the Duchy of Cornwall. These guidelines effectively mean the Queen and Charles both have power over laws affecting their sources of private income.

Which, though still only the break power of veto, still leaves them financially unaccountable to the state.
And there isn't transparency in how they use the veto or up until recently even what they were consulted on.

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Re: Monarchy the institution. Yes or no?

Postby Thang-y » 05 Dec 2017, 16:03

The Prof wrote:There's plenty more stuff to get angry about.


I don't think most republicans are angry at all, despite the privileges of the unelected subject matter, particularly in a country that has a population with 20% living in poverty.

And on another point, yeah, I do kinda resent my 67 pence a year going to them. I'd rather give it to charity. Or keep it. I hazard to guess that the 20% of the UK population living in poverty would too. It's the scale of the thing. It's the lack of choice of the thing. It's the 'they don't need it' of the matter.

You asked for an argument against the monarchy ... I suspect that as no-one voted 'for' (at least who were clear about it and made the argument) the need wasn't felt. (It's since been addressed of course)