Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Monarchy in the UK

I have, in the past, been accused of being the first anarchist monarchist. I don't think that it's a fair comment, I genuinely don't believe that we need ANY kind of government to get along and live together.

And certainly, historically, when monarchy was the dominant form of government around the world, they were no better at things like venality, corruption and warmongering than democratically elected governments are today.

But I genuinely do not understand the obsession that many people have with a) doing away with the monarchy and b) the idea that the royal family are a bunch of indolent layabouts.

As to the former, what would getting rid of the monarchy achieve? Given the corrupt, venal, warmongering, bubble-inhabiting FUCKS of all parties who would be setting up our new political establishment if we sacked the royals, what the hell does anyone think we're going to get to replace it? Something better?

As to the latter, I'm quite sure that there are possibly a large number of minor royals who are indolent fucks who sponge off their family. Like this doesn't happen anywhere else. But to have a go at the Queen for not working to me seems incredibly petty:
The Queen serves an important role in reminding us that no matter how much we achieve, there's always someone who got more by doing less
-- cyriakharris

Now, a quick glance here will show that most days, the queen has to drag herself out of bed and travel to exciting places like Nottingham and Corby to attend tiresome functions that would have most of us screaming within 20 minutes. She has to endure looking at schools and old age homes and community centres and appear to be interested. She has to nibble on mass catering day in and day out. She has to endure speeches about how wonderful she is for the whole year this year.

Tell me if that doesn't sound like your idea of hell. Tell me if there is any amount of money in the world that would get you to exchange the relative freedom of your life for a life where your every move is planned out years in advance, where if you farted publicly, it would make the front page of the papers. 

And that's just the functions that the Queen attends. This is a typical day in the life of the Queen:

The Queen's working day begins like many people's - at her desk. 
After scanning the daily British newspapers, The Queen reviews her correspondence. 
Every day, 200-300 (and sometimes many more) letters from the public arrive. The Queen chooses a selection to read herself and tells members of her staff how she would like them to be answered.
This enables Her Majesty personally to see a typical cross-section of her daily correspondence. Virtually every letter is answered by staff in her Private Secretary's office or by a lady-in-waiting. 
The Queen will then see, separately, two of her Private Secretaries with the daily quota of official papers and documents. This process takes upwards of an hour. 
Every day of every year, wherever she is, The Queen receives from government ministers, and from her representatives in the Commonwealth and foreign countries, information in the form of policy papers, Cabinet documents, telegrams, letters and other State papers. 
These are sent up to her by the Private Secretaries in the famous 'red boxes'. All of these papers have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed. 
A series of official meetings or 'audiences' will often follow. The Queen will see a number of important people. 
These include overseas ambassadors and high commissioners, newly appointed British ambassadors, senior members of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces on their appointment and retirement, and English bishops and judges on their appointment. 
Each meeting usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes, and usually The Queen and her visitor meet alone. 
The Queen may also meet a number of people who have won prizes or awards in a variety of fields such as literature or science, to present them individually with their prize. 
If there is an Investiture - a ceremony for the presentation of honours and decorations - it begins at 11.00am and lasts just over an hour. The Queen usually meets around 100 people at each Investiture to present Orders, decorations and medals. 
The Queen will often lunch privately. Every few months, she and The Duke of Edinburgh will invite a dozen guests from a wide variety of backgrounds to an informal lunch. Occasionally, the guest list may consist of far fewer people, such as a newly appointed or retiring Governor-General and their guest. 
If The Queen is spending the morning on engagements away from her desk and other commitments, she will visit up to three venues before lunch, either alone or jointly with The Duke of Edinburgh.
On a regional visit, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh lunch with a wide variety of people in places ranging from town halls to hospitals. 
In the afternoons, The Queen often goes out on public engagements. 
Such visits require meticulous planning beforehand to meet the hosts' requirements. 
And The Queen prepares for each visit by briefing herself on whom she will be meeting and what she will be seeing and doing. 
Royal engagements are carefully selected by The Queen from a large number of invitations sent to her each year, often by the Lord-Lieutenants (The Queen's representatives in counties throughout the United Kingdom). 
This helps to ensure the widest possible spread and to make effective use of The Queen's time.
If the engagement is outside London, her journeys are often by air using a helicopter or an RAF aircraft. 
The Queen carries out around 430 engagements (including audiences) a year, to meet people, open events and buildings, unveil plaques and make speeches. 
Such engagements can include visits to schools, hospitals, factories, military units, art galleries, sheltered accommodation for elderly people, hostels for the homeless, local community schemes in inner city areas, and other British and Commonwealth organisations. 
The Queen regularly goes out for the whole day to a particular region or city. If the visit is a busy one, or if it lasts more than a day, then The Queen will travel overnight on the Royal Train. 
The Duke of Edinburgh will often accompany The Queen on such visits; when this happens, they will carry out some engagements jointly and others separately to ensure that the maximum number of people and organisations can be visited. 
The Queen may end the afternoon seeing a number of Government ministers in a meeting of the Privy Council. 
The Queen's working day does not stop at the end of the afternoon. 
Early evening may see a meeting with the Prime Minister. The Queen has a weekly meeting alone with the Prime Minister, when they are both in London (in addition to other meetings throughout the year). 
This usually takes place on Wednesdays at 6.30 pm. No written record is made of such meetings; neither The Queen nor the Prime Minister talk about what is discussed between them, as communications between The Queen and the Prime Minister always remains confidential. 
At about 7.30 pm a report of the day's parliamentary proceedings, written by one of the Government's Whips, arrives. The Queen always reads this the same evening. 
On some evenings, The Queen may attend a film première, a variety of concert performances in aid of a charitable cause, or a reception linked to organisations of which she is Patron. 
The Queen also regularly hosts official receptions at Buckingham Palace (usually with other members of the Royal Family), such as those for the Diplomatic Corps and The Queen's Award for Industry. 
Her Majesty may also hold receptions ahead of overseas visits. In 2007, prior to attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh gave a reception at Buckingham Palace for Commonwealth Africans living and working in the United Kingdom. 
Other receptions mark the work of particular groups in the community, such as those recently given for members of the British design and music worlds. 
The Queen has numerous private interests, which can coincide with her public work, to complete her working day. 
Her Majesty also attends the Derby and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, a Royal occasion. As a keen owner and breeder of racehorses, she often sees her horses run at other meetings. 
As owner of private estates at Balmoral and Sandringham, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh oversee the management of the estates which are run on a commercial basis. She takes a close interest in all aspects of estate life, particularly in the tenant farmers and employees who live and work on the estates. 
Through her public and private work, The Queen is well-briefed and well-known. She has met many more people from all walks of life both in this country and overseas than her predecessors. 
This takes time and effort. Often, one of the last lights on in the Palace at night is The Queen finishing her 'red box' of official papers.

Now, even assuming that not every single one of those things happens every single day, that hardly sounds like a life of indolent luxury, does it? Yes, the queen might have a lot of money that you could argue was stolen from our ancestors in the same way that Gideon and Ed Balls and Gordy McSnot steal from us today, but to argue that the Queen does not work hard is fatuous and more importantly, completely wrong.

The difference between the Queen and an elected thief is that sooner or later, the elected thief escapes to spend more time with his money. The Queen may be buried one day from a gold-plated carriage, but has she really enjoyed the benefits of "her" money? Is she unjustly rewarded because of an accident of birth, or is she an unjust prisoner because of an accident of birth?

I know which one I'd go with.


John James said...

The point, Obo, is not whether the Queen works her fingers to the bone or sits on her arse watching daytime tv (and I don't even care about the money). The issue is whether as citizens we are able to exercise our freedom to choose who is head of state, or even decide we no longer need one.

If there were a referendum tomorrow I have absolutely no doubt republicans such as myself would be spanked into the middle of next week. I'm fine with that because at least the people of Britain, for the first time in history, made a decision through a ballot box as to what constitutional arrangements they wished to see for their country.

The sad thing about a monarchy is that we don't have any choice whatsoever. It's there for eternity, whether we like it or not.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"The sad thing about a monarchy is that we don't have any choice whatsoever. It's there for eternity, whether we like it or not."

Think the French, the Germans, the Italians, etc, etc, etc might disagree.

The problem is not that there's a monarchy, it's that people think democracy is less thuggish than monarchy.

Thugs are thugs.

Kennywhizz said...

Sadly this is utter bollocks.
I know you won't mind me saying that.
The Queen may well work very hard. I don't know.
What I do know is that I do not need anybody at all, whoever it may be, to 'rule' over me.
I am 65 years old and I am quite capable of governing myself.
I don't need a government either really.

I just wish everybody would just leave me alone to live my life however I want to as long as I cause no harm to anybody else.

Best wishes


Simon Cooke said...

JRR Tolkein called himself an anarcho-monarchist - he even wrote about it:

My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to people. . . .

Umbongo said...

"The difference between the Queen and an elected thief is that sooner or later, the elected thief escapes to spend more time with his money."

This makes your point just about perfectly.

SadButMadLad said...

@John James, we do have a choice. We can make a lot of noise to get a monarch to abdicate like Edward. Now that was the establishment who forced him to quit, but they were following the public mood. Now the monarch can be a real bitch and refuse to abdicate, but then you get the "constitunal crisis" and "something will be done".

Oh, and Obo, great minds think alike. I've said something similar over at Misanthrope's

The Stigler said...

I don't give a shit if she attends 20 openings of bypasses or hospitals. It's in the fucking Counting Cats in Zanzibar level of pointless activities as far as I'm concerned.

Imagine that the Queen doesn't open the hospital. Are cancer patients going to die because HM didn't cut a fucking ribbon or draw a miniature curtain? No. So, as an activity required in the operation of a hospital, is it required? No. So therefore, it's fucking pointless.

I don't care how HARD people work. It's what you produce that matters.

cuffleyburgers said...

Obo - my view entirely.

ANybody who thinks that the bunch of terminal cretins who run the government would come up with a better solution needs their fucking head examining.

ManNotNumber said...

Obo I usually like your posts, but this one - not so much.

Walk away from the serfdom.

Ryan Spox said...

The Queen, is of course a true role model for the Nation's Youth. She is an 86-year mother of four who STILL has to work to support her mostly indolent and essentially unemployed offspring whilst still paying taxes to a Government she didn't vote for. By the time my kids are her age I expect their lives will be much the same. Albeit without all the palaces and millions and stuff.

She should try 12 hour shifts in a sweaty factory said...


I have often seen you berate posters for their misunderstanding of the meaning of the words 'anarchist' and 'anarchy', yet you do exactly the same with 'monarch' and 'monarchy'.

The Queen is not monarch, we have no monarchy in the UK. We have a Royal family, with ER as the head of the family, and that's your lot. She has no powers and makes no real decisions on matters of any importance. She is utterly useless, when one considers the pointlessness of her position.

There are those that say she retains some really quite far-reaching powers, that she kind of 'shares' power with 'her' Ministers. Even if this were true, she has failed in her duty to the nation and its people to uphold her coronation oath to never allow ANY foreign Prince or Potentate to hold sway in the running of this nation's affairs, an oath she breaks on a weekly basis, every time she rubber-stamps the reams of bull-shit that pour out of the EU daily. She has NEVER ONCE spoken out against the erosion of sovereignty in this land, to the point is is no longer Sovereign, a point she proved herself by signing EU treaties that subjugate even her to the level of a mere citizen.

A common refrain from pro-monarchists is 'Replace her? With what?' The answer is simple - nothing. No replacement is necessary as she performs not one useful function, certainly not one that could not be carried out by the local Mayor, or for those who are excited by the appearance of extremely rich people they don't know and have never met, The PM of the day.

Finally, those arguing in favour of ER are not speaking in favour of a person, but an institution. In theory, it matters not one jot who sits on the throne.

Will you all feel so warm and cuddly when you've got King Charles III as the EU Supreme Governor of England?

Anonymous said...

None of you know what its like to live in a republic. I do. 51 years ago the monarchy was voted against in a referrendum that carried a 1% majority. And it lead to apartheid. Because there was no longer any check on government power.

Anonymous said...

51 years ago my country got rid of your monarch in a referrendum that passed by a 1% majority. It led to aparheid. There was no longer anything with the power to check the government. So learn from our mistake.