Saturday, 2 May 2015
A question of the monarchy and constitutional change
The main and seemingly only news item on the television box for most of today (so far) has been the birth of a Royal baby. The amount of interest shown by the media does reflect a large public interest in the monarchy and explains why such a seemingly archaic form of rule continues in a modern democracy like the the UK.
As usual such events have been discussed on social media both pro and against with all the usual platitudes or aggressive criticism about "royal scroungers"
I am not an ardent royalist but nor am I enthused about the alternative of an elected President. In my youth I recall reading the late Willie Hamilton's book My Queen and I published way back in 1975. As a budding radical such republicanism appealed to me at such a tender age (I had in fact just left school).
Later I recall wearing a Stuff the Jubilee badge that was issued by the International Socialists/SWP that upset quite a number of locals as I remember! However these were different times and like a lot of fellow radicals and revolutionaries thought change was only just around the corner.
How wrong we were.
Marching through the streets in 1979 we called for a downfall of Callaghan's Labour government and for the introduction of full bloodied socialism.
What we got was Margaret Thatcher, the defeat of the miners and the decline of the left as by the end of the eighties communism had fallen everywhere except Cuba, China and North Korea.
The Monarchy was as strong as ever.
Fast forwarding to today as I like many others from that era are now heading towards retirement, such radicalism has inevitably become muted. The "left" is no longer recognisable in a form I recognise. The modern lefts dalliance with Islam(ism) has blinded it to human rights and led to new forms of racism and authoritarianism.
Free speech has been undermined by " safe spaces" policies and secularism once a central platform of the left pushed aside in an unsavoury alliance with radical Islam.
Then there's the question of the monarchy which prompted me to write this post reflecting on past times and thoughts.
If we replace the monarchy with a President there is one real problem.
Do we have any politicians up for the role?
Mr Miliband comes over as a decent sort and will be getting my vote. But President. Sorry but no.
Of the other notable politicians Boris may be entertaining but is far from Presidential material (and wouldn't get my support because he's a Tory. On the fringes the possible candidates become progressively worse (no pun intended).
Natalie Bennett? Useless. George Galloway? I'd emigrate!!
Even thinking to past politicians within my lifetime only one slightly possible candidate comes to mind. The late Jo Grimond, one time leader of the Liberal Party.
But of today's politicians not a single one of them seems up for the job. Like most people I have a healthy disdain for politicians. I have to vote, but like many the choice does come down to who I don't want rather than anything else.
For now there seems to be no real desire to change the country from a constitutional monarchy to a republic.
First we'd need better political leaders.