The importance of…. Getting rid of the monarchy

Submitted by Anon on 16 June, 2005 - 11:24

The Queen’s a harmless old bag, isn’t she?

 She may well be, but the monarchy is representative of class rule, inequality and the historic privilege of the aristocracy. A socialist society would have to abolish it and its out-of-date values.

But the Queen doesn’t have any power anyway, does she?

 The Queen doesn’t only give power to the House of Commons - the monarchy gives authority to unelected institutions such as the Lords and the Privy Council.
 The Prime Minister has a power called “the Royal Prerogative”, which allows him to go to war without consulting Parliament, but with the Queen’s permission.
 The 4500 islanders of Diego Garcia were permanently evicted from their territory last year by a bill which the Queen rubber-stamped. Without the consent of Parliament, Jack Straw used her dictatorial powers to push through Blair’s foreign policy.

Wouldn’t getting rid of the monarchy be bad for the income from tourism?

 The palaces of the fallen monarchies in Russia and France receive far more tourists than Britain’s - they are opened up so that people can see the remnants of an archaic system for themselves.
 The life of luxury enjoyed by the monarchy wastes millions of pounds of our money each year.
 Losing money from tourists is a small price to pay for democratic principles!

But surely we shouldn’t give more power to Blair!

 Absolutely not! Socialists don’t want an all-powerful president, like George Bush, but a fully democratic and accountable system which gives less power to lackeys of big corporations like Blair.
 The greatest problem with the British state is that it defends the interests of the wealthy and privileged - getting rid of the monarchy has to be just one part of changing this into a society organised for the common good.

Republicanism is an important issue in that socialists oppose the whole idea of privilege and the rule of the minority. Indeed, socialists in Australia voted for a republic in the 1999 referendum on whether they should get rid of the monarchy. But they had no illusions that a republic under capitalism was the answer to the injustice in society – it is merely a somewhat progressive reform. The republics of France, Germany or the USA are not the societies we want – even having abolished their monarchies, they are still riven by class division and injustice.