Thursday, 20 November 2008

Senatus Populusque Britannicus

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Wise words from Michael Palin there. I have been inspired to quote them by this article by Johann Hari in the Independent. It would seem that Prince Charles has decided that his position, achieved by birth, gives him the knowledge and expertise to make pronouncements on a variety of issues which he is at best partially familiair with.

However, as much as I could say about Charles' anti-science positions, including amongst others his campaigning to have "alternative" medicine practiced in the NHS (alternative because it hasn't been shown to work) at the expense of the taxpayer. But no, this post is instead a more general one. This is about the existence of the monarchy itself.

There are those who defend the monarchy, they say that spead over the 65,000,000 people in the UK the cost of the monarchy is very low. They say that the monarchy is a big tourist attraction and the Queen in an important ambassador for this country.

Well I say, I don't care. I don't care how much the monarchy costs, I don't care how much public work they do, I don't care how many tourists they bring in. I don't care because fundamentally for me this argument is not about logisitics, it's about ideals. It's about the idea that a person's status can determined not by their character or their achievements or by their own hard work, but instead that position can be determined simply by their birth. Be that birth "high" of "low".

I find it repugnant that in a modern country there is a family that by birth is set above all others. That there is a person who simply by birth has the right to decide who becomes PM, has access to government papers, and has direct access to a bully pulpit to propagate their ideas to the public and to politicians, no matter how asinine they may be. And not forgetting that it is a fundamentally discriminatory organisation; it is now 179 years since the passing of the Catholic Relief Act 1829 allowed catholics to sit in the House of Commons and yet still being a catholic, or being married to a catholic, makes a person ineligible to become the monarch. That is the reality of the monarchy, and such a thing as no place in a modern society.

What I'd like to know is what everone else thinks...

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