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The issue of the Royal Family has been discussed before in SCAN, and remains to be a controversial topic amongst some, who cry that the monarchy is an old-fashioned way of ruling a country. A self-confessed Royalist and an avid historian, I believe the monarchy is something which should be cherished; perhaps not the Royal families of yore, who exercised tyranny over their subjects, but still. The Royal family these days is less about totalitarian forms of control over their peasantry, and more about making Britain proud. Graham Smith argues that “a hereditary monarch has no place in a society that believes ‘we the people’ should be in charge”, but where exactly does it state that by keeping our monarchy in power the people are not in charge? If anything, unless Britain decided to become a socialist state, the people will never truly be in charge, as demonstrated by the harsh crack-down on those who participated in the London riots – as well as the constantly negative outcomes of peaceful student protests.
A recent article published by the Guardian seems to talk in hushed tones about how “secret papers” that were issued on a court order reveal how the “approval of Queen and Prince Charles is sought on a range of bills”. My response to this is, so what? It is no secret that although the Queen still holds small amounts of political power when it comes to the passing of new laws. This is not necessarily a bad thing, she has power within her to prevent atrocities – god forbid anybody attempted to enforce Hitler-esque policies, good old Liz would be able to put her foot down. The Guardian claims that the documents show “overall at least 39 bills have been subject to the most senior royals’ little-known power to consent to or block new laws… they also reveal the power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation relating to decisions about the country going to war”; given the ridiculous mess that countries create fighting foreign wars that were nothing to do with them in the first place, it seems logical that the monarch should have the power to “torpedo” these kinds of decisions; Britain is in no financial state to be running around fighting grand wars to show how great we are.
Although some might argue that it’s time to abolish the monarchy as there is simply no need for it in this day and age, I argue back with why is there a need to abolish it? The popular argument presented by anti-monarchists is that the Royal Family is essentially useless and thus we should consider stripping them of their political rights. If that is indeed the case, then where is the harm in leaving the Windsor’s be? Graham Smith goes on to argue “there is no reason to believe that if Britain abandoned the monarchy tourism would suffer”, however, there is no reason to assume that if Britain abandoned the monarchy tourism would continue to thrive. It is no secret that other countries, such as the United States, find our Royal family endearing; and are incredibly fond of asking every single person with a stereotypically ‘British’ accent whether you’re chummy with the Queen. Further to this, a video on YouTube by CGPGrey seeks to show the reality of how much the Royal Family is costing Britain, and claims that the Royal Family actually creates £160,000,000 a year in profit; plus the ludicrous amounts of money brought in by tourism. Thus, completely blowing Smith’s argument that “the queen has failed to do anything of note or worth” out of the water; thanks to our Royal Family, we’re luring in those other curious countries who no longer have an active monarchy residing in their capital city. Nor do they get public holidays to enjoy fairy-tale royal weddings reminiscent of a Disney film.
Although I do think that political power should be bestowed on those who have earned the privilege (although it is debatable whether the likes of David Cameron deserve to rule the country), I also believe that Britain should keep tight hold of its heritage and be proud of our royals. Smith argues, “After 60 years who can quote a famous speech or point to a moment of crisis or celebration when the queen offered leadership and inspiration?” I see your complaint, and I raise you the Christmas broadcast of 1957, in which Elizabeth II proudly stated “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations”. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like the British monarchy, you’re welcome to leave. God, or whatever mystical being you choose to believe in, save our gracious Queen.