The Nature of the Monarchy

September 26, 2008

This story caught my eye on the front page of the Guardian yesterday. A Labour backbencher has filed a report proposing to make changes to the nature of the monarchy which will allow a non-anglican monarch, and put an end to male precendence in the royal heirarchy.

Of course I welcome such changes. The law as it stands is clearly a long way away from public opinion on equality. SNP Leader and First Minister of the Scottish Parliament Alex Salmond reportedly gave this comment.

“I welcome these moves. The Act of Settlement is an 18th-century anachronism that has no place in a modern 21st-century constitution. The SNP first raised the issue over a decade ago, the Scottish parliament united in 1999 to call for this long overdue reform, and I hope the prime minister follows through in early course.”

What very few people seem to be recognising is that the monarchy itself is an antiquated anachronism that has no place in a modern 21st-century constitution. We shouldn’t be looking at reforming the monarchy to fit in marginally better with the values and principles of a liberal democracy, when the principle it’s based on (that of being born into such institutional power and wealth) is totally at odds with them! It reeks of hypocrisy. We should be working on getting rid of the monarchy altogether. My two penneth, anyway.

An “oath” of allegiance

March 11, 2008

The former attorney-general, Lord Goldsmith, has suggested that people (particularly school children) should be encouraged to take an oath of allegiance. Read the story here in The Times or on BBC online.

Now of course the discussion online has largely been to the line of “I’m not swearing allegiance to that bloody Queen”, and I agree 100%, how in a modern liberal democracy can we justify someone being born into such institutional wealth, power and influence?

But my objection goes further than that. If I’m going to swear something, it’ll be something that I believe in, and I’ll say it in my own way. Having millions of drones saying the same thing will reduce any “oath” to mere words without meaning. What happened to independent thinking? It’s dogma in its highest form.

There’s something a little more sinister as well. The BBC article mentions towards the end that:

“Young people who volunteer could receive a reduction in tuition fees, while others who work in the community could be given a small council tax rebate.”

I personally find this disgusting, and self-defeating. Not only do I think it’s wrong to effectively punish people just because they have an ounce of integrity and won’t recite something they don’t believe in, but I think this paves the way to differentiate between “truly” British people and the rest, which is a very bad idea, and will only lead to further division of society, possibly fuelling extremism and pseudo-apartheid states. Furthermore, bribing the public into taking an oath will make it meaningless. I’d swear an oath to Satan if it meant my student debt was reduced, because it doesn’t mean anything to me whatsoever!

I read up a little on the topic, and was very surprised to see that Canada, that bastion of common sense, already has one! It reads:

“I, ……………, do Solemnly swear (affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, forever. So help me God.”

I’m glad that the part at the end about God is optional, but at the same time, this oath must be made by some certain judges, the armed forces, mounted police, the Queen’s Privy council, and most importantly, by MP’s. Indeed MP’s who refuse to take it are not allowed to sit in the house! Disgusting!