A republican's Notes on a Royal Jubilee

As this very long weekend has shown, lots of you are still attached to the idea of monarchy - specifically British monarchy. The reasons are varied, but are irrelevant. All that matters, in the end, is that you like the institution, and you are unlikely to change your mind on the matter.

Equally, there are republicans like myself, who are very much in opposition to a monarchical structure in its entirety. Again, there are a few reasons for this, and again, they are largely irrelevant. Like our cousins across the aisle, we are also deeply unlikely to recant our position.

This is a long-running disagreement, one that has been discussed, argued, debated, and all other manner of conversant ways for centuries. And it is one that is essentially at the core of how to change the political structure of the UK that is failing us all.

My personal stance will come as no shock - abolish all monarchy and accompanying aristocracy. However, I'm also not that naïve nor that insanely stupid to actually propose this as a solution - that would invoke civil war as quickly as holding an investiture ceremony for another Prince of Wales. 

My proposal, then: a royal divorce. The complete and irrevocable separation of the monarchy from any power-holding position (whether that power is ever wielded or no), as has been achieved in other nations, like Sweden. Let them keep only that which they can afford (without public contribution), and they may remain as feckless figureheads - tourist attractions with only the power to bolster charitable ventures.

This method allows for a continuation of the monarchy - but also allows much-needed reforms to the Mother of Parliaments. It returns taxpayer fund previously allocated to the monarchy back to the public purse. It enshrines a dedication to full democracy. It takes away the giving of prestige and power in exchange for donations to the ever-bloating second chamber. Indeed, it forces a desperate rethink of our second chamber altogether.

I understand that a 70-year reign is quite a milestone - but when we look at almost any other country on this earth that has had leaders in place for even a fraction of that time, we see nothing but illiberal - and yet because established tradition means that, while the monarch could command more power than most other world leaders, they do not, it is still an illiberal and non-democratic notion to still be enthralled by an irreplaceable ruler.

By all means, let us wait until the throne's incumbent's reign is over to implement these changes - she has, in all fairness, been a leading figurehead, particularly during the past couple of difficult years (and I am deliberately putting aside he ability to shrug off the day-to-day worries of us unwashed masses by saying that). The image of HM sat alone during her husband's funeral is one that will always stay with me, for in that moment, she wasn't just the monarch, she was each and every one of us who chose to follow the rules to protect those around us, and she was every single one of us who had lost someone dear and precious under even more tragic circumstances than usual. Bu make no mistake, this is the way we must move forward - and we must begin planning now.

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