>Should all countries be republics?
>Republicans argue that republicanism is the next logical step toward a fully democratic constitution, which answers a number of key issues. The British Pressure Group Republic argues that the “monarchy is not only an unaccountable and expensive institution, unrepresentative of modern Britain, it also gives politicians almost limitless power.”
They say that it does this is in a variety of ways:
1 – Royal Prerogative: Former royal powers that allow the Prime Minister to declare war or sign treaties without a vote in Parliament.
2 – The Privy Council: A body of advisors to the monarch, now mostly made up of senior politicians, which can enact legislation without a vote in Parliament.
3 – The Crown-in-Parliament: The principle, which came about when parliament removed much of the monarch’s power, by which Parliament can pass any law it likes – meaning liberties can never be guaranteed.
They say monarchies:
- Contradict democracy
- Deny the people a basic right to elect their head of state, and for every citizen to be eligible to hold that office.
- Devalue democratic legislatures through giving Monarchical prerogative powers to political elites to circumvent the normal democratic process with no accountability.
- Are a form of ethnic-discrimination by virtue of their hereditary nature
- Are often gender-discriminative e.g. The British Royal Family uses male primogeniture, which means that the crown is inherited by the eldest son, and is only passed on to a daughter if the monarch has no sons.
- Demand deference. Under a monarchy people are ‘subjects’ rather than citizens.
- Are the enemy of merit and aspiration, due to the fact that people become monarch iregardless of their talents and qualifications. They also receive honorary military titles and such that they never earnt
- Condemn each heir to the throne to an abnormal childhood. This was historically the reason why the anarchist William Godwin opposed the monarchy. Johann Hari has written a book God Save the Queen? in which he argues that every member of the royal family has suffered psychologically from the system of monarchy.
- Lack impartiality and accountability
- Are expensive. Republicans claim that the total costs to taxpayers in the UK, including hidden elements (e.g., the Royal Protection security bill) of the monarchy are over £100 million per annum
On the other hand those in favour of monarchies say they:
- Uphold generations of tradition
- Bring tourists to the country
- Provide a safeguard against government instability. Examples of this include the 1981 April Fool’s Day Coup in Thailand and the El Tejerazo coup in Spain when King Bhumibol and King Juan Carlos I respectively stepped in to restore democracy in their countries.
- Provide an impartial arbiter. People like that their Head of State is not aligned to any particular political, commercial and/or factional interests
- Provide a focal point for national unity. The monarch is a symbol of the country
- Monarchs promote the image of their country around the world, having already inherited a reputation and network of contacts ready to exploit
- Monarchies allow training from an early age
What do you think?