Britain's Morning Star feels no joy on queen's anniversary

Is there to be no end to the pukefest laid on by our national broadcaster to convince the world that people in Britain are beside themselves with joy over the 60th anniversary of our unelected head of state?

From repeated trailers for programs featuring royal family members saying how wise and wonderful their relative is to breathless simpering TV reporters explaining why the utterly mundane is somehow magical, the BBC has lost all sense of proportion.

It even featured a "royal historian" who was given free rein to assert unchallenged that even those of a republican bent are delighted that Elizabeth Windsor has remained in post for so long.

At the risk of being accused of being part of a small resentful minority determined to spoil the joyous celebrations of a grateful people, the Morning Star says No.

We are not happy that, in the early part of the 21st century, an unelected person is designated head of state in Britain and remains so on the basis of hereditary right.

It is an outdated practice, which most of the world has rejected in favor of forms of democracy that allow every child to cherish the possibility, however unlikely, of becoming head of state rather than knowing that accommodation to privilege has established no higher destiny for us all than that of royal subject.

Defenders of the status quo assert that the monarchy is largely symbolic or even little more than a tourist attraction, but its residual powers are real, extensive and undemocratic.

The meshing of the royal prerogative with the office of the prime minister creates an executive power where the House of Commons is less authoritative and assertive than it should be.

Elected members of Parliament are excluded from the secret unminuted meetings between prime minister and monarch that take place on a weekly basis, which makes a mockery of parliamentary sovereignty.

Royal prerogative is also invoked to draw a veil over the constant intrusion by the Queen's eldest son in matters of state, interfering in government policy on a range of issues.

How much influence does he have? It would be reassuring to believe very little. However, it baffles belief that he would persist with his letter-writing campaigns to ministers if he was singularly unsuccessful.

But surely the most important aspect of Prince Charles's advocacy of pet projects is that he, as a member of the royal family without any particular talents or experience, has privileged access to ministers that is denied to the rest of us.

It serves as a reminder of the contradiction between democratic advances made in various fields as a result of popular struggles and the ever-present monarchical obstacle to full emancipation.

Arguments in favor of maintaining the monarchy stretch from fairytale sentimentality to assessments of the institution or the Queen personally as "a source of stability and security in a changing world," as Ed Miliband phrased it.

What a sad comment on the maturity of the people of Britain that, according to its politicians, we still need an anachronistic figurehead to see us through troubled times even though German, French, US and Russian citizens seem capable of managing without.

The Morning Star has no intention of surrendering to the tidal wave of officially approved and confected royal fervor.

Our goal is socialism, based on full democratic rights for all and a republican constitution.

This article originally appeared in the Morning Star newspaper.

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  • Yes, it's about time Great Britain--and all the other countries still carrying about the rotted corpse of monarchy--dumped this relic of feudalism. Whether the putative "sovereign" interferes much or little with the actual workings of government, the retention of a monarch is an insult to all people, and not least to the British people, who have struggled for democracy for centuries.

    Posted by Hank Millstein, 02/09/2012 10:23pm (2 years ago)

  • How sad but unsurprising that only the Morning Star talks any sense about the monarchy. Time to put these scroungers on the dole.

    Posted by Richard Vernon, 02/09/2012 10:32am (2 years ago)

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