In a parallel universe, instead of gearing up for an election Donald Trump will go back to being a businessman, as America’s election has been cancelled. Barack Obama will continue as Head of State for the rest of his life, at which point his daughter, Malia, will begin her reign and the process will continue. America would be in uproar and would not accept this. So why do we in Britain?
The concept of a monarchy is highly undemocratic, outdated, and very expensive.
In a society that is supposedly fair and equal, how is it fair that an individual’s standing and power in society is determined by who their parents are? In the 21st Century, being a descendant of William the Conqueror should not be a basis for determining the Head of State. The monarchy is a medieval concept that has no place in today’s society.
Of course, the Queen doesn’t have as much power as in medieval times, but her prerogative powers remain significant. For example, the Queen is in command of the armed forces, and has the power to make and ratify treaties with other countries. Although many of these powers have been transferred to the Prime Minister, this does not mean that it is more democratic. This is because it gives the Prime Minister absolute power over the prerogative powers with a lack of parliamentary oversight and thus democratic accountability. Abolishing the monarch would result in greater democratic accountability over the Prime Minister’s command of the armed forces and ratification of treaties as he would not have absolute power.
Equally undemocratic is the Queen’s and Prince Charles’s power to veto bills in which they have a vested interest, such as royal estates and higher education. This power has been used on several occasions. For example, the Queen vetoed a bill to transfer power of authorising military attacks on Iraq from the monarch to Parliament. This power allows them to bypass democracy in order to protect their own interests.
A second reason why the monarchy should be abolished is that it is very expensive to the taxpayer- in 2014 the taxpayer paid £35.7 million to the monarchy. Surely, in a nation in which foodbanks and homelessness are on the rise, there are more pressing matters that the money could be spent on. Salt is rubbed into the wound when we hear stories of what the money is being spent on. Although the official website of the British Monarch claim that “The Royal Household is committed to ensuring that public money is spent as wisely and efficiently as possible”. However, there were many stories last year of members of the Royal Family spending extravagantly. Prince Andrew spent £14,692 on a trip to watch the golf at Muirfield, Prince Edward spent £46,198 on a charter flight to Sofia, Bucharest, and Ljubljana, while Prince Charles spent £246,160 on a private jet to Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
Royalists argue that this cost is compensated by the tourism that the Royal Family bring into the country. This is simply not the case. Chester Zoo, Stonehenge, and the Roman Baths are all more popular tourist attractions than Windsor Castle, the only royal residence to bring in visitors in large numbers. Furthermore research has found that tourists visit Great Britain for our world-class museums, beautiful scenery, and history, not in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Queen.
With its undemocratic nature, prejudices, and expense to the taxpayer it seems clear to me that the monarchy has to be abolished.