“It is not titles that honour men. But men who honour titles”


I never used to feel the republican sentiment. To me having a head of state whom performed civic duties and represented something which many other countries did not have was great.

It created a sense of grandness and uniqueness. An offer of palaces, prestige, title and honour.

But the reality is that today a 96 year old woman, who should be resting, enjoying the autumn of her life, has vast constitutional duties. Which she is no longer fully fulfilling.

I don’t believe palace announcements are truthful. There is complete lack of transparency as the monarchy slowly lurches to the end of the longest reign in history.

For me, my republican sentiment grew with the emergence of family crisis after another. Accusations of racism, underage sex, alcoholism, divorce, quarrels over how much security different members should get. How big it should be. Whom should live where. Family members cutting each other off. A place on a balcony greater news than the greater good of the family.

The press hounding those that had served their country, who had sought only to bring positive change as did their mother.

The institution has become more important and controversial than its purpose and the people in it. The survival of the institution is more important than its honour. The survival of that institution is more important than bearing compassion between each of its members.

Whilst queues grew for food banks, we handed out more cash to do up palaces. The Duchy of Cornwall sold shortbreads for £3.45 from Waitrose. Whilst there was a shortage of public housing stock we handed over yet more money for doing up Buckingham Palace. We considered a royal yacht whilst taking away benefits from the most vulnerable.

This money won’t fix everything. Nor is it central to the value that is often touted as central to its raisin d’etre. These opposites and double standards already exist. But there are some which are within our grasp to correct.

But with such privilege, comes great responsibility. Surely any one of her subjects could provide the same service as she, if they were granted the same privileges in life. Privileges only obtained by whom gave birth to whom, whom married who, and in what order.

It is true that monarchy provides an anchor in our time and through history. But too much is said of how monarchy adapts to our times. Does the monarchy represent modern Britain? Isn’t the power of democracy in being able to tick a box and change our political structures at the will of the masses?

As with most things in Britain we are veering towards a presidential style system in all but name. Personalities and becoming a judge of them is of greater importance than policy. We already know that. We choose not to see or say it.

The trouble is we no longer separate leaders from their ideology. It has allowed parties to create single tents, covering all issues, being of all opinions, and lurching into populism. We all ask; what does anyone stand for anymore?

I never used to be a republican. But the thought of separating leaders from their populist politics. And being able to vote and change our state leadership at the temperature check of the public, is tempting.

More importantly, if we live in a system where personality is more important than policy, the system needs to hold leaders to account. At the moment it is all or nothing, the public held hostage to internal votes of no confidence within parties. And hostage to whatever the cabinet wants to say about what the public thinks, doesn’t think, or should think, without reference to fact.

We’ve just done one massive constitutional change. That change hasn’t really changed much, except endanger the union. The union is divided. Perhaps it’s time to put it all to the vote and live as a democracy.