Monarchy. It’s an internationally celebrated institution and in the UK, many regard it as what puts the ‘Great’ into Great Britain. Despite the Monarchy’s profound popularity and the many political and cultural advantages it offers, there are a few (and we mean a few) who advocate a republican Great Britain.
Monarchy has so much to offer to this country and indeed many other countries. Let’s first start by countering some classic republican arguments.
Firstly, the main motive of republicans is the aversion to an unelected head of state. Naturally, their proposed alternative is that the UK should have an elected head of state, which is fine for most countries, but not the UK. The immediate danger with having a President is politicising the office of Head of State. It is a fundamental belief of many that Heads of State should be politically neutral and have no vested interests in politics. A Monarchy offers not only an impartial head of state but also one that is above politics, i.e. the office of Sovereign stays very much out of party politics. In the words of Victorian Constitutional expert Walter Bagehot, “a parliamentary system [like Britain's] educates the public, while a presidential system corrupts it.”
Continuity is another thing Monarchy offers to a country. Whereas the Prime Minister of the UK changes every 5 years now, the Monarch reigns usually over decades – continuity is very important, especially in a system where occupants of offices rarely stay the same.
Monarchy adds colour to the nation too. One of the most talked about things to do with the UK is our Monarchy, when people come to the United Kingdom, they’re not interested in seeing where the Chancellor lives or finding out the number of offices the Prime Minister’s staff have but in fact where our Queen lives and how guards stand so still. It’s a simple fact that without the Monarchy, the UK would be just another country.
Annual celebrations such as The Queen’s official birthday also give the UK a well needed boost, if there’s one thing the UK does better than any country in the world it’s tradition, and where do all the UK’s most famous traditions stem from… that’s right – Monarchy.
Political neutrality, continuity, colour and celebrations are one thing but what Republicans really get fired up about is the supposed ‘outrageous cost of maintaining the Monarchy’, well for any who wish to know more on this, we refer you to our article on The True Cost Of The Monarchy. But to summarise, the Monarchy makes profit for the country and despite all the republican outrage, our taxes would go up without the Monarchy, not down. And as for security costs which Republicans claim are so astronomically high, would a President be any different? Assuming you republicans wouldn’t want your President harmed while in office!
And really, would the UK be the same without its Monarchy – it wouldn’t even be called the UK if a republic, does the ‘United Republic’ [UR] sound right to you?
This article is essentially just kicking into touch any Republican arguments, for there is no fear of the Monarchy leaving any time soon. At the last poll at the time of the Diamond Jubilee, only 13% of people in the UK were in favour of becoming a republic, 80% supported the Monarchy and 7% weren’t sure.
At its lowest point in recent years, the highest figure for republicans in the UK was at 22% during 2005 when feeling towards Prince Charles’s new wife, the then Camilla Parker-Bowles were at an all time low. Even during the unsettling times, the UK stands by its Monarchy as we’re sure it will for hopefully centuries to come!