Tag Archives: monarchy

Opinion: On black spiders, royalty and liberalism

The release last week of Prince Charles’ letters to Ministers – the so-called “black spider letters” – offers a once in a lifetime window (and one unlikely to be repeated, thanks to the 2011 amendments to the Freedom if Information Act exempting royal correspondence from FoI disclosure – inexplicably supported by our party in coalition) into the workings of the British ‘system’, and the influence of the royals in the process of our ‘democratic government’.

I hope that, as liberals, all Liberal Democrats would agree that political power derives from the exercise of the people’s democratic rights at the ballot box, and that no-one should be able to exercise political power, nor exert undue influence on the political process, simply by virtue of birth or connections. This is why we have argued for democratic reform of the House of Lords, for example.

Yet, in the black spider letters we see both the absolute expectation of Charles that his views are relevant, important and to be listened to, as well as the sycophantic grovelling of ‘commoner’ Ministers towards the royal point of view (that “I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Royal Highness’s most humble and obedient servant” sign-off of Charles Clarke must surely stick in the craw of every socialist).

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats should support abolishing the Monarchy – and it is the right time to do so

I am a keen student of history, and have no shortage of fascination with the British Monarchy, its colourful progress, and its chequered evolution. And I do believe it has evolved, as often with grace as with indignity. In that sense, I have a certain level of ‘respect’ for the Monarchy, and certainly for some of the figures who constitute it at present. Yet, as far back as I can remember, I have though it should be abolished. Why?

Rather than lay out all the old arguments, I will focus solely on one argument for Abolition. I will do this, because it is (I believe) a liberal principle, and because I think it is hugely persuasive, and rarely aired. It is this: for the fair treatment of the Royal Family themselves, current and yet unborn, that we must abolish the Monarchy.

The British Royal Family, whatever it may once have been, is now a captive family. The institution consists at its peak of a household who are held, for our perceived benefit, in the gaze of the public eye and a web of constitutional precedent.  The Windsor family consists of real individuals, and we should never forget that. I know many will sneer at my concern for a very rich household, with all life’s advantages… but is that really their position?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 62 Comments

Opinion: Reform of the Duchy of Cornwall – on the cards?

Lord Berkeley’s “Rights of the Sovereign and Duchy of Cornwall Bill” is due to have its second reading in the Lords on 8 November. He has been quoted as saying he wants to “provoke a debate”, and it may be supposed that Bill is likely to be defeated at its second reading. As it would affect the Prince’s private interests, it would require his consent in order to progress. He has given his consent to several bills in the past, according to the Parliament website. It is surprising how many bills require his consent. This is

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Majority of Lib Dem members back monarchy – but 40% would prefer UK to become a Republic

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

44% want Charles as King, 9% prefer Wills: 40% want neither

Thinking about the future monarch, which of the following would you prefer?
Prince Charles - Some rights reserved by University Hospitals Birmingham

    44% – Prince Charles should succeed as King after Queen Elizabeth II

    9% – Prince William should succeed as King after Queen Elizabeth II instead of Prince Charles

    40% – Neither – there should be no monarch after Queen Elizabeth II

    6% – Don’t know

By 53% to 40%, our sample of Lib Dem members opt for monarchy over a republic. As ever, though, those headline figures include a span of opinion revealed in the comments.

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats for a republic

Liberal Democrats believe in democracy. Indeed ‘Democrats’ is in our title.

We believe in representative democracy, from parish councils to (though we’re still fighting for it) the House of Lords.

We believe those who make the laws of our land should be voted for by the people of our land.
Government of, for and by the people.

We believe this should be extended to those occupying the highest positions in British Government.

If we believe, as we rightly do, that no peer of the realm should be able to be a legislator just because of who they were born to or who …

Posted in Op-eds | 52 Comments

Opinion: Should the Queen speak out on the Belfast flag issue?

Queen Elizabeth IIThe pictures of the Queen joining the Cabinet meeting were charming. They conveyed a reassuring image of a stable democracy with a historic back-stop. Almost always we want the democratic element to prevail, but there are perhaps very limited issues and occasions when the monarchy can make a difference. The Queen inviting Harold Macmillan to form a government rather than Rab Butler in 1957 is the occasion often quoted. It did actually make a political difference, since Harold Wilson was later reported as having feared that Rab Butler may well have won the 1964 election.

Northern Ireland may be another occasion when the monarchy could make a

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Opinion: The case for a Republic – and why Lib Dems should support it

This is a long fought argument and, maybe, one that everyone that will read this is tired of hearing. Nonetheless, it is an argument that all liberals should support.

As liberals, we oppose the arbitrary concentration of power – and you don’t get more arbitrary than your head of state being hereditary!

As a short disclaimer, I do not intend to go into arguments about cost et cetera, but rather the principle of having a monarchy.

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

Opinion: The lottery winner who would be King or Queen

Hereditary monarchy has no place in a “fair, free and open society” but royalists and republicans seem to be talking different languages. To bridge the divide we need to choose our head of state by lottery. I agree with William Summers who recently wrote herethat he “cannot support a system of monarchy whereby power is inherited and all but one family is excluded from being head of state.” This is on top of questions of transparency, corruption and political influence, or of historical connotation. But republicans have failed to make the case for any alternative. Arguments from principle

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

Opinion: Why I am a royalist

There’s nothing democratic about the royal family. They are the descendants of a thug who defeated another thug to become the despot of these Isles. If that was all there was to them, I would be the first in the queue to get rid of them.

The greatest invention in the history of the world is not the wheel, or fire, or the scientific method: it’s democracy and the rule of law. What’s wonderful about democracy is he principle it establishes, that everyone, no matter their colour or creed, is of equal worth. That each person has the same number of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Nick Clegg’s praises Queen’s dignity, calm and wisdom

It’s now time to pack away the bunting and force ourselves back to the daily grind after the double bank holiday.

The Voice thought you might be interested to see Nick Clegg’s official message on the Diamond Jubilee, though, which is available on his You Tube channel here.

He says she is a Queen famous for her quiet steeliness but he’s always been struck by her great warmth and her rare ability to put everyone she meets at ease.

He praises her wisdom, calm and dignity in a rapidly changing world – and wishes us all a good time celebrating.

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats should make the case for an elected head of state

I’m proud to be in a party that values freedom and democracy above all else. We passionately campaign for equality of opportunity, and a world in which success is based on a person’s own merits rather than privilege and nepotism. We want to reform the outdated electoral system, and object to an unelected House of Lords, described by Nick Clegg as “an affront to the principles of openness which underpin a modern democracy”.

That is why I, like many other Liberal Democrats, cannot support a system of monarchy whereby power is inherited and all but one family is excluded from …

Posted in Op-eds | 94 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJennie 7th Oct - 10:59am
    Mark Reckons started that idea, not Mark Pack.
  • User AvatarPsi 7th Oct - 10:56am
    Stuart “The point is that Simon was not making any claim on the basis of information” He quoted the report: “Energy subsidies: £3.8bn … the...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 7th Oct - 10:38am
    Peter - why not use your full name when making comments as I do? Also why "amusing". I said it was a nasty speech. I...
  • User AvatarJennie Kermode 7th Oct - 10:30am
    As chair of a leading charity working in this sector, I have bee impressed by the Lib Dems' action on this. I think the problem...
  • User AvatarCharles Rothwell 7th Oct - 10:27am
    Absolutely disgusting and "red meat for the blue rinses" in the most opportunistic, baying mob-pleasing fashion which can be imagined. I had some respect for...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 7th Oct - 10:14am
    @ Simon Foster, I don't want to de-rail this thread, but it seems to me that positive and negative freedoms are in direct opposition to...