Foreign readers may be less aware, but this weekend, the UK will be devoting a great deal of time and energy to celebrating a Platinum Jubilee-a series of ceremonies designed to commemorate 70 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Amid the lavish pomp and parties, there will be calls for the abolition of this institution, and its replacement with a Republic. Are these calls justified?
On the face of it, the case for a Republic is a slam dunk. You don’t get hereditary airline pilots, doctors, garage hands, Prime Ministers, Chief Executives or any other job. So why have a hereditary head of state? The unique selling point of Capitalism was its meritocratic promise-anyone could rise to the very top. It’s hard to reconcile that with hereditary monarchy.
At this point our old friend Dave Watford from the Dog and Duck always pops up to say “The Monarchy is what makes us what we are, dunnit ?” But that is only like football teams, and their supporters using the colours of their shirts to say who they are, and not. A simple colour can say nothing about the better governance of the state, or what constitutes the good life.
But think more carefully about Dave, for he has a right to be heard. Dave is English. And, as most English people see it, England suffers from two deep and abiding traumas. The first is loss of status. Within living memory (certainly that of Queen Elizabeth) England was the epicentre of a world Empire of unparalleled size and power. Now it struggles to keep the allegiance of even its most local possessions such as Scotland. The second is a terror of immigration, which has been far larger than in the other countries of the union. Clever people may seek to explain and dismiss both. But to live among the English is to know these feelings are primal, and cannot be lightly dismissed.
To kind souls who seek to lower the temperature and reassure the nervous and the elderly, the Monarchy is a godsend. Particularly in the hands of an exemplary figure such as Elizabeth II, it states, loudly and clearly “we are what our parents were, and we will be always, whatever changes in the world.” A beautiful opportunity for rancorous and divisive quarrels has been removed at once, leaving space for more urgent issues. And the human need for huge common rituals and hierarchies is satisfied. Actually,it is a little bit like football, isn’t it?
Looking abroad, we can see several successful and stable constitutional monarchies even in advanced European countries such as the Netherlands-to say nothing of Japan. As for republics-well even the United States is now locked in a bitter constitutional and cultural impasse where a brutal and selfish minority is holding the rest almost literally at gunpoint. No advert there.
We at LSS think that the British Monarchy may soon be less relevant in Canada and Australia, and even possibly parts of the UK. But in England, its home turf and fons et origio, its role as stabiliser is irreplaceable. And so we support the continued rule of Elizabeth II and her heirs. There is no practicable alternative.
#queen elizabeth #uk monarchy #platinum jubilee #republic #captitalism #meritocracy hereditary #british empire #immigration
To let you read both sides further here are links to a couple of websites.one staunchly monarchist, the other Republican.