August 29

Prominent republican says: monarchies are best

"If anybody asks me, and they usually don't, I always say I'm an Australian republican, and I'd vote as I did in 1999 to end the monarchy and 'break John Howard's heart'," writes Bob Ellis, the well known Australian writer, film maker, political speechwriter and one time political candidate.

"But I've yet to sort out a worry I've had for twenty years, and it's this," he continues on the ABC's Unleashed opinion column on 28 August, 2008.

"The best countries in the world are monarchies," he insists. As ACM has been saying for many years, just check with the UN Human Development Index (e.g. "Constitutional Monarchy: Unequalled as a model for good government," 13 February, 2007)

"Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, all monarchies, are enviable societies; and they're in sharp contrast with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Gaza, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Congo, Nigeria, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti, Panama, North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti, Russia, China and the United States, all of which are republics and most of which overthrew their kings with violence."

He does not seem to appreciate that The Queen does not reign over Commonwealth republics, nor that Zimbabwe is no longer in the Commonwealth, an association which has standards.

He does understand the essential point, though."Why is it constitutional monarchies work as well as they do?" he asks.

“It’s because, I think, they provide a level of judgement above the level of chiacking politicians, which dignifies the country. It's the constitutional equivalent of an umpire."

"A constitutional monarch is less like a god, or a Caesar or a Great Dictator, and more like a Guardian Angel; and somewhere in the human psyche there is room for this idea.

"It's what I call a sustaining fantasy, the kind of thing we suspect isn't true, but it's what keeps us going."  



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