Recently, Political Reboot posted a piece entitled ‘Why I Am Not a Monarchist’. I tried to comment on it, but could not; my response was too long. As a result, I am posting it here. I will comment there and leave them a link to this page. What follows is my answer to their post.
Oh boy. There are so many things wrong with this article. Let’s start here:
‘. . . William would be popular with monarchists and republicans alike, provided he’s elected.’
That’s a laugh, and an insult to monarchists. No serious monarchist holds his view purely out of personal affection for any of the Windsors. We support the principle of hereditary monarchy first and the personalities presently occupying any particular throne secondarily if at all. You might as well suggest that republicans who would vote for the Duke of Cambridge really ought to be happy with the monarchy as suggest that monarchists ought to be happy in a republic with President William Windsor.
‘Keep the monarchy and you’re stuck with an archaic hereditary principle where the men go first and Charles is King George VII.’
What’s wrong with an archaic hereditary principle? Nothing of itself, unless you adhere to the Whig Theory of History. Regarding HRH the Prince of Wales as King George VII, well, it might be better to go straight to William V, but there’s no reason that can’t happen in the monarchy; you simply have to convince the right people, just as you have to convince the right people to get anyone elected in a republic. And there’s no guarantee of getting who you want in a republic either; he might not run, or the majority might vote for someone else.
‘Another paradox: monarchists believe that the Queen keeps our politicians in check, yet they dread the thought of President Blair or President Cameron. Huh? The Queen’s powerlessness actually gives more power to our politicians, not less;’
I don’t see how, but I’d agree that the politicians would be restricted yet more and the situation better if Her Majesty had real power. Still, there’s value in reminding the PM that he’s a servant by forcing him to call himself ‘Her Majesty’s Prime Minister’.
‘MPs swear allegiance to the Queen when they should be swearing allegiance to you!’
And what would this accomplish? By ‘you’ I presume you mean that abstract collective known as ‘the British People’. But there is no such thing as ‘the People’, only many individual people with different interests and different ideas regarding how the country should be run. So a concrete loyalty to an individual will be replaced with an abstract loyalty to a collective of which the one swearing loyalty is the ostensible voice. I fail to see how this is an improvement. In this system, the MP speaks as the mouthpiece of the omnipotent people and bows to no one in particular. He will naturally think of himself as a master, when he ought to be a servant.
‘We swallow so much rubbish about the Royal Family that we can’t tell fact from fiction. We think they’re good value for money yet they cost us more than £180 million a year:’
This figure is highly questionable. Investigation reveals that £29,000,000 of that money is not actually spent by the government on the monarchy, but is in fact income from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall that the republicans in question think should be public property!
Furthermore, the republicans who provide the figures admit that it is quite possible that £100 million pounds in security is just wrong; it’s an estimate, and quite a liberal one. From your own source, estimates run as low as £50 million. So let’s be generous and split the difference. We now have £180,000,000 minus the £29,000,000 the republicans claim as their own simply because they want to steal it, minus again £25,000,000 in overgenerously estimated Royal security. So now we’re down from £180,000,000 to £126,000,000. Their claims of unpaid taxes are again pure guesswork, so until they provide further details, we ought to cut that out entirely. Now we’re down to £124,000,000. I could probably pick this apart further, but that will suffice for now.
Now, the monarchy ‘costs’ £124,000,000. But as some of you may already know, the revenue from the Crown Estate, which is private property belonging to the Crown, was, in 2009, £226,500,000. The revenue from said Estate was surrendered by HM George III to the government upon his accession in 1760 in exchange for a fixed Civil List payment. So let’s subtract the money paid out to the Royal Family, under our corrected estimates, from the money the Crown brings in. When we do that, we come up with a total figure of £102,500,000. That is the profit that we estimate the Royal Family brings into the British government. That’s how much the government, and by extension the taxpayers, make off of Her Majesty and the Royal Family, to say nothing of tourism. So let’s have none of this drivel about how much they cost.
In fact, just for chuckles, let’s grant the republicans that the Monarchy does cost £180,000,000, and let’s even throw in the Royal wedding to boot. Here’s an article estimating the cost: http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2011/04/prince-william-kate-middleton-royal-wedding-multi-million-costs
Now, how much of that £20,846,352.221 are the taxpayers funding? Well, there’s security, which comes to £19,620,096.208, and cleaning, which comes to £39,240.192416. Those of course have to be rounded to two decimal places, and so come to £19,620,096.21 and £39,240.19 respectively, for a total of £19,659,336.40. Add that to the republicans’ estimated £180,000,000 annual cost for the monarchy, and you have a total payout from the government to the Royals of £199,659,336.40. That still leaves the British government ahead by £26,840,663.60. So not only does the Monarchy cost nothing, it’s actually quite profitable!
‘We even celebrate the way they represent us abroad—without irony. And people say republicans don’t have a sense of humour!’
Well, someone needs to fight political correctness, as many of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh’s comments do. And republics are no bar to heads of state with feet in the mouth.
‘We republicans aren’t revolutionaries’
Maybe not in the strict sense; I’m sure you don’t want violence. Nevertheless, you do wish to overthrow Britain’s social order.
‘and we aren’t anarchists:’
Certainly not. If anything, a republic would bring more state regulation and interference in British life.
Edited 5/14 to remove a typo.