August 2

The Advantages of Constitutional Monarchy

During the referendum campaign, I was asked to a debate at an inner city venue in Sydney.When I observed that the world’s most advanced and most civilised countries tended to be constitutional monarchies, I was ridiculed, with loud guffaws.

 I then began, slowly, to list those countries, which gradually quietened down the cafe latte set. And as we report every year, the UN agrees. The UN Human Development Index shows this year after year after year. But what is also overlooked is that new countries can also benefit from this wonderful institution. While Iraq was a constitutional monarchy, elections were genuinely contested , the press was relatively free, and life was secure.

 So I was delighted to read Radek Sikorski’s piece in The Spectator (31/7/04) in which he writes that itis wonderful to see the old king back. His presence in Kabul, he says is a lucky portent-constitutional monarchy would be far and away the most suitable form of governmentfor Afghanistan’s conservative , ethnically divided society where the monarch alone can be a symbol of national unity.

Sikorski is right-think of Belgium or Spain.


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