Background

Recently, startling stories have emerged about the House of Windsor. Sinuous royal fingers have been tweaking the nipples of government policy, it would seem.

Hardly shocking, but it’s rare that such stories get major prominence in large news outlets in the U.K.

What stories?

In the 1970s, a new convention between the Government and the Crown took shape. The monarchy has since been entitled to object to legislation that might affect their private interests. If that doesn’t reek of institutional overreach, I don’t know what does.

This custom is named the “Queen’s Consent”. It is a convention where the British monarch can wave off legislation before it has been granted assent, or even debated in Parliament. What makes this even more insidious, is that it is convention. It has become so well established in the process of British governance, that it happens without any legal reckoning or scrutiny. It’s a fat backchannel to change legislation, that has been routinely used by “Queen” Elizabeth and “Prince” Charles since the 1970s.

you are funding this family's privilege to block laws that could benefit you

You and I have nowhere near the same recourse to object to legislation in a similar way. It’s an option afforded only to a few people at the apex of a system of hereditary privilege. Plain and simple, it’s the monarchy sneakily directing government policy to protect their own backs. Why should a member of someone else’s family get special dispensation instead of yours, just because of an accident of birth? Souring the pudding further, is that taxpayers are funding this family’s privilege to block laws that could benefit you.

This begs the question - why vote when there’s an institution behind the scenes, pulling the strings for their own personal aggrandisement?

The dissonance

While grandstanding about equality, democracy and equal entitlement, the U.K. is still beholden to a small family. This family get first refusal on proposed laws and changes to legislation.

A British pastime is to rejoice in a sense of historic achievement. Whether that’s scientific, artistic or as the engine of the industrial revolution. Each laudable. These are disciplines which benefit society in real, tangible ways.

Overseas the British lament; demagoguery, dictatorships, corruption and secretive influence. The British consider “tribes in the jungle” parochial. Societies with headdresses made of reeds, ceremonies with weapons and dancing animals. Sneering too, at their absurd insistence upon divine entitlement.

Yet all seems forgotten when it comes to their own shores.

Lauding the non-achievement of being born into a particular family is an abhorrent national pastime.

We have an unelected head of state who dresses in elaborate robes. Who adorns their head with precious metals and jewels, to gaze upon groomed horses and polished cannons on their birthday. This causes great swathes of the British populace to loose all sense of sanity as they fawn and wobble with a grin, telling themselves this is normal.

Lauding the non-achievement of being born into a particular family is an abhorrent national pastime.

That’s not to mention that your taxes still go into the royal money box. Your money pays for those embarrassingly elaborate, Jack-and-the-beanstalk royal occasions.

Who keeps the spinning top spinning?

Of course when there is an opportunity to take action against something that would impact you, you would take the opportunity. If a privilege is available to you - you’d be silly not to use it. Any unelected ceremonial head of state, with ties to a government will always have an influence upon it.

I have to ask, why are politicians so deferential to royal institutions? Do they have such a low view of themselves, that they’re willing to simper and dance attendance before an antiquated institution… for.. umm.. what exactly? Is it because ‘it’s the monarchy’? Are politicians unable to escape the childhood fairytale that Kings and Queens are fair, equanimous and deserve further extended privilege?

Would Charles or Elizabeth Windsor consider David Cameron or Nick Clegg their close friends? I doubt it. Why such servility from politicians (allegedly acting in your interests ) to one small family?

But but… it’s our history

Sure it’s a historical curio, but let it be just that. It’s a tragedy that legitimacy is given to one single family. A family who dress up, wear crowns and pretend their position is extended by the grace of a god is a fantasty horror story. A Royal Family. Just let that notion simmer.

The embarrassment of a hereditary power structure still lurking in the halls of a democratic government, is wretched. Making matters worse, the general populace have been persuaded the monarchy represents ‘the best of the British’. How sad that something considered ‘the best of British’, is a title given to someone by accident of birth.

Continuity of a nation is not found in any singular institution. We ought to stop pretending it is. Let’s take a moment to remember the Nazi sympathetic Edward VII. How about the recent alleged pedophile royal (Prince Andrew). This is why hereditary institutions are bad - you never know what you’re going to get and there’s no option to remove the people who occupy them.

Nationhood resides in the quiet corners of rural life, it’s found in the cosmopolitanism of our raging cities. It’s shaped by the scientific, altruistic and artistic achievements of it’s citizens. Bloodlines shouldn’t come into it.

The World

These institutions do exist in other parts of the world. We should revile them equally so. In fact, they are readily laughed at by most of the British. Yet, for great swathes of people in the U.K. the jaw loosens, the pupils dilate and all sense of balance is seemingly lost. It’s time to scrap the whole silly institution, because it is just that. It’s a fantasy of a bygone age. Nothing about the British monarchy represents the British or their contribution to the world. It’s one family who have found themselves in their position by happenstance.

Unelected figures who can tweak government policy and block legislation threatening their private interests, should startle everybody.

Let’s dismantle the institution and leave these costumed nepotists to their elaborate ceremonies and trite ritual in their own backyards. At least then we can sigh at them from over the garden fence, without paying for their bunting.

References

Prince Charles Blocking Freehold purchase on his land

Queen Elizabeth changing laws to hide her personal wealth

Written by Thomas

08th March 2021