Open Thinkering


5 reasons I won’t be celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

I can’t believe I have to write this in 2022, but I will not be celebrating the country I was born in having the same monarch for 70 years. This is for the following reasons, amongst others:

  1. I am a believer in democracy. You may say that the monarch provides only a ceremonial function, rather than wielding any power. But in that case why bother? We have an unwritten constitution in the UK precisely because of the vestiges of the past, of which monarchy is part. To be a true citizen we need a codified set of legal documents rather than the hodge-podge of legal outcomes, treaties, and Acts of Parliament we have at the moment.
  2. Monarchy is unaccountable. Appointing a head of state using hereditary principles is elitist, undemocratic, and unfair. The very existence of an unelected head of state means that the Prime Minister is invested with ‘royal prerogative’ powers such as going to war or signing treaties without going through the usual democratic processes in Parliament.
  3. The royal family are celebrities at taxpayers’ expense. The Queen is by far the biggest landowner in the UK, but holds offshore accounts to avoid paying even voluntary taxes. And of course, security is picked up by UK taxpayers, so the cost is much higher than the pitifully small number which is sometimes used to indicate ‘good value’.
  4. Our national anthem is unrepresentative. It should not be about one person (or family). Many people, including me, find it embarrassing to have a national anthem that asks a deity to prolong the life of a monarch. It’s anachronistic and unreasonable in the 21st century. I should not, nor should new citizens, have to swear an oath of allegiance to an unelected head of state.
  5. Having a state religion is reactionary. The monarch is head of state and also head of the Church of England. This means we are not a secular state, and bolsters extremists and nationalists who peddle ‘replacement theory’. We should be multicultural from top-to-bottom, as befits a modern country.

Monarchy is no longer what a great majority of people want. There is a significant medium-term trend downwards in popularity of the royal family, as shown by the graph below taken from here.

So I encourage you, as we come towards the end of the reign of one monarch, to support the idea of finding a way to avoid replacing them with another.

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