The BBC website had the following intriguing introduction on its site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3701086.stm
This said that 2005 will be an election year in Britain. As she enjoys Christmas with her family at Sandringham, the BBC said, The Queen can rest easy that the future of the monarchy will not be on the political agenda.
But, asked the BBC, should the future of the monarchy be on the political agenda?
A British pressure group, known by that most original name, Republic, tediously asked for a debate over the future of the monarchy, which they claim is an anachronism in a modern, democratic society.
Stephen Pound MP, one of the Labour backbenchers who support the aims of Republic, told the BBC News website:
" Most MPs keep very quiet on the subject. They don’t want to stick their head above the parapet."
Mr Pound was photographed recently while swearing the Oath of Allegiance with, believe it or not, his fingers crossed! We assume that he thinks that neutralises his oath. It does not, Mr Pound! You have taken an oath, and you are legally, morally and eschatologically responsible .
And as to republican rejoicing that the monarchy is on the way out, Professor Bob Worcester, founder of pollsters Mori, said there was a widespread misconception among the liberal media that the popularity of the monarchy was on the wane. He said:
"Our most recent polls suggest only one in five Britons are in favour of abolishing the monarchy and replacing them with an elected head of state – and that figure has remained stable for some time…..The reason for that is a mixture of fondness for royalty and suspicion of the presidential system. People acknowledge the stability that it brings and recognise the magnificent job the Queen has done."
He admitted, as the BBC so objectively puts it, he admitted that The Queen had a personal vote of her own. But beneath that there was bedrock of support for the institution of the monarchy itself. The following letter appears, with others, on the BBC website and it caught our eye:
"I am 16 years of age and I am as modern as one can be. However, I do feel that the Royal Family does play an important role. The Royal Family is what makes Britain unique from the rest of the world. I personally think that to no longer have the Royal Family would be a great shame. I know that I don’t only speak for myself in this subject as many of my friends – my age – also believes that the Royal Family plays a big part in Britain today and should remain. All I can hope for is that the Royal Family is here to stay! "
And another letter:
Most of us h"ere in the US would gladly trade ours for yours, thank you very much."
And , incidentally, a republic could be even more costly in Britain than in Australia. By ceding the Crown estates to the government in each reign in return for the Civil List, the government makes a profit out of the monarchy. And they could not seize the estates -the European human rights conventions recently enacted into UK law would ensure the Royal family were compensated, as King Constantine of the Hellenes recently established.
Then there is the tourist attraction-The Colour would surely not be trooped for ,say,President Wedgwood-Benn, would it? The loss of tourist revenues could be substantial. The UK, or the UR , the United Republic, would not be the same .
The greatest cost would be the potential destabilisation of the Westminster system, either through increasing the power of the PM, or creating a new political office. We used to have some of the more deranged commentators in Australia saying that the UK might do it first, and then we would be forced to become a republic. Perhaps now they will accept the obvious-it is just not going to happen.
We thought we would end with these words, which explain why Australians , Canadians , the British and others prefer the Queen to yet another politician:
"I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations."
And what more can we say to that, save God Save The Queen!
Until next time,