Why Monarchy is a Good Thing
July 24, 2007
Why Monarchy is Good Thing, according to my Oxford tutor Leslie Mitchell, a Royalist and Tory and a historical genius.
1) Tradition and constancy. A monarchy represents something that has been around for 1,000 years. A republic can never have that, as any head-of-state it has will be relatively new. A monarchy is also imminent, meaning it has weathered storms and endured through even the biggest crises. For example, the threat of that “little man with a strange mustache” (Hitler) is actually very small compared to the historical weight and constancy of the English monarchy.
2) The monarchy doesn’t cost very much. Her Majesty the Queen is only the 50th richest person in the United Kingdom, and costs the taxpayer only 57p a year. The Prime Minister costs the taxpayer far more. Though the royal family’s wealth originally came from the fact that they owned and taxed all the land in England, now the “civil list” is voted on in Parliament every year. This list basically agrees that the nation will support the Queen, her husband Prince Philip, and (while she was alive) the Queen Mother. Prince Charles is supported by the proceeds of agricultural rents in the duchy of Cornwall (Wales), as per his position as the Prince of Wales. And, the monarchy actually brings in money because they are such a huge tourist attraction.
3) The Queen can never be corrupted, because she is too rich to be bribed or bullied. She has around 500 million pounds of personal wealth. So while a Prime Minister or elected official can be corrupt, at least the head-of-state can’t be.
4) The monarchy is the basis of the Commonwealth. There are 83 countries currently in the British Commonwealth, and the Queen is the head of the Commonwealth. Every four years, all 83 countries send representatives to a meeting to have an intellectual exchange. The Queen, of course, is a very experienced politician, having been in power for about 60 years. It is very useful to have a forum for international discussion, and so the Commonwealth is a positive thing.
5) Monarchy is one of the only uniting factors in the United Kingdom. Few things actually unite Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales, and the monarchy is one of them. Unity is a good thing.
One of the main objections to the monarchy is that it is the very pinnacle of a class system. If one is uncomfortable with the idea of a class system, especially a blatant class system with things such as titles and peerages, one is uncomfortable with the monarchy. Silly Americans, says Leslie Mitchell.