Verdict of the British people: “Long to reign over us”


Is Sunder Katwala right when he says:
“British Republicanism is perhaps the least successful political project of my lifetime.”?
While we have recently seen such pie-in-the-sky policies as nationalisation of the banks enacted, and Conservatives quoting Polly Toynbee on equality, I would still reserve the title for efforts to get the UK out of the EU - given the vast reserves of wealth and media propaganda put into the struggle.
But, given that there have been republicans around in this country since before this country was a country, the  numbers are staggering. Four recent surveys point to solid support for the Monarchy:
 
While there are variations in the questioning between the Ipsos-Mori poll (2011), the ICM polls (2011 and 2009) and the GFK NOP (2007), the “monarchist answer” is given by between 63 and 78 per cent, while the “republican answer” is given by between 18 per cent. These figures have barely moved in more than 15 years.
Monarchy is impossible to square with belief in equality of outcome, opportunity or capabilities.  And, as official royal powers are passed de facto to the Prime Minister, there is concern for what Tony Benn called the ‘Penumbra of power”. But, in a wierd way, it works.
  
There are problems that progressives must face that affect people more directly, and something can be done about. We have welfare reform being carried out by a ministerial team that plays up to the worst prejudices of the tabloid press. A health reform, concocted by political elites in collaboration with think tanks funded by some of the American private health care companies that opposed President Obama’s healthcare reforms, that will let free market dogma run riot within the NHS.  And the imminent reversal of any progress on child poverty made over recent years.
So put your feet up, put a union jack paper hat on your head and enjoy the show. And when the royal wedding’s done and dusted, fight the battles that matter.
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  • Mister Jabberwock

    “Monarchy is impossible to square with belief in equality of outcome, opportunity or capabilities.”

    Never mind monarchy, equality of opportunity and outcome are so self evidently contradictory – how can you believe in both equally.

  • http://twitter.com/alexhern Alex Hern

    Well done, you’ve just written a catch all “but there are more important things” article.
    Upset about cuts to libraries? Fight the battles that matter; don’t you know people will literally die due to cuts to DLA?
    Upset about cuts to DLA? Fight the battles that matter; don’t forget that our government is actively killing people in a civil war in Libya?
    Upset about our intervention in Libya? Fight the battles that matter; remember that compared to much of the world, the Libyan people are doing just fine. At least they have food!

    ‘Fight the battles that matter’ is a conservative slogan, which any progressive should be extremely wary of. The monarchy is an expensive, outdated symbol of the fact that Britain is still a bastion of class privilege, with the lowest social mobility in Europe. Maybe putting serious effort into abolishing it remains a Sisyphean task, and if that is the case then we should use our energy elsewhere, but that’s ‘fight the battles you can win’, not the ones that ‘matter’.

    And even if we can’t win it, ‘enjoy the show’? Fuck that.

  • Simon London

    “Monarchy is impossible to square with belief
    in equality of outcome, opportunity or capabilities.”

    Which is why thinking people abandon “belief” (faith) and recognise reality – that equality is impossible, and an ignoble aim.

    People have different capabilities. Races have different capabilities. We are not all the same.

  • James Lewis

    “‘Fight the battles that matter’ is a conservative slogan, which any progressive should be extremely wary of.” Says Alex Stern, but he’s wrong

    Aneurin Bevan taught us that ‘the language of priorities is the religion of socialism’

    LFF should stick to the real world, there is plenty of work to do.

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  • Dave Citizen

    I’m with Alex – trying to seperate issues out into isolated little boxes may make journalism easier but it ignores reality.

    Anyone who wants to hand their children a fairer but more prosperous society will need to get their heads around the fact that issues such as extreme inequality, rewards based on merit, two tier private/public schooling and having an aristocratic/rich elite that fast tracks its kids into the best jobs and positions of influence, are all aspects of the same battle.

  • graeme

    1.“Monarchy is impossible to square with belief in equality of outcome, opportunity or capabilities.”

    Unlike goold old socialism, huh? The one system that has successfully impoverished, enslaved and destroyed entire populations better than any other.

    Let’s hear it for socialism!! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

  • http://johnm55.wordpress.com johnm55

    The evidence from the polls and on the streets today would indicate that we are not convincing the Great British Public that republicanism is an idea whose time has come.However building on the admittedly non-scientific evidence from my bike ride today the route to a republic is to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes. Hardly any monarchist car drivers around much before 3pm but hundreds of republican cyclists.

  • William

    The issue is not the monarchy, per se.Not having a small elected Upper house, no hereditaries, no PM appointees is the issue.Once the UK has a proper democracy,the house of Windsor can be returned to Windsor, full stop,and the palace, built for the Duke Of Buckingham,can be, used as a permanent public display of the greatest art collection in the world,and the’royal family’restricted to an annual opening of Parliament.

  • Patrick Ward

    “So put your feet up, put a union jack paper hat on your head and enjoy the show. And when the royal wedding’s done and dusted, fight the battles that matter.”
    What utter drivel!
    For a start, even a confirmed and committed republican, like me, knows that the “Union Jack” is the RN pennant, as opposed to the Red, White and Blue “Union Flag!”
    This blog, however, completely misses the point concerning the issue of monarchy/plutocracy v republicanism/democracy.
    Whilst I agree that single issue politics is irrelevant to
    our world, that doesn’t mean we should ditch so-called “unpopular” policies as determined by ROPs like IPSOS. As a retired person, I have signed up as a panellist for IPSOS and others and am aware that their so-called “scientific approach” involves quotas and profiles, which means they often ignore opinions, based on these, saying that they’vealready reached their quota or thatyour profile doesn’t meet the spec.
    Opinions change, so we should not stop trying, because it’s an uphill struggle, after all we’ve come a long way since the days of Slavery, Transportation and Empire!

  • Mr. Sensible

    Couldn’t agree more, Daniel.

    And well done to the royal couple. I hope the nation enjoyed it.

  • http://bloodworthweb.blogspot.com/ James Bloodworth

    “People have different capabilities. Races have different capabilities. We are not all the same.”

    Sorry? “Races have different capabilities”?

    Um, no, they don’t. It is a plain fact that “race” is a construct with no scientific validity. DNA can tell you who you are, but not what you are.

  • Ed’s Talking Balls

    Republicans on TV have come across as an utterly miserable bunch. I’m very happy not to be among their number and am pleased that the vast majority of people show no desire to join their joyless ranks.

    Well said Mr. Sensible. I reckon the nation did enjoy it, too.

  • http://bloodworthweb.blogspot.com/ James Bloodworth

    Engels on Kate Middleton: “The English bourgeoisie are so deeply penetrated by a sense of social inferiority that they keep up, at their own expense, an ornamental caste of drones to represent the nation at state functions; and consider themselves honored whenever one of themselves is found worthy of admission into this select and privileged body, manufactured, after all, by themselves.”

  • Simon London

    @James Bloodworth

    No. Race is not a social construct. Society is a racial construct.

    And of course races have different capabilities. For example, East Africans excel at endurance running, sub-saharan Negroes excel at sprinting and Queensbury rules boxing (thicker skulls), Northern Europeans are more intelligent than either, Pygmies and Australian Aborigines are the least intelligent by far, Ashkenazi Jews are on average more intelligent than any other racial group, the English are more individualistic than other Northern Europeans etc. etc. etc.

    These are plain facts James.

    And of course within any nation or society, some people are stronger, more intelligent, etc..

    Equality (whether between races or within them) is impossible, and an ignoble aim.

  • Patrick Ward

    Which “nation” was that “Mr Sensible,” since there is no British nation, which of the nations of the UK of Gt Britain and N.Ireland are you referring? Perhaps you’re just using the ConDem/Blair/Brown false construct of One Nation, or perhaps, you mean the English nation and dismiss the nations of the “Celtic fringe” are irrelevant!
    Before you likewise dismiss me too as irrelevant, I should point out that I lived and worked in mainly Oxford and London from 1970 to 1999, have many English friends, and that I also bear no illwill against the “Queen of England’s” grandson or his bride, but actually wish them well as I would any newlyweds at the start of their life together.
    However, I do resent the over-effusive fawning toadyism of the editors and reporters of the newsmedia of Britain, such as the BBC, who could only muster a total of 2 minutes of real news and 2 minutes of weather in a 30 minute programme on tonight’s News at 6!

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  • http://redandgreenjack.blogspot.com Jack

    It’s weird, not wierd. That is all

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  • Eleanor Firman

    You can’t ‘teach’ republicanism, but you can teach history. No-one should give up on this.

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  • Dave Citizen

    Interesting how traditions, how ever mad, can be clung to so fiercely by a large proportion of the ‘common’ people in a country.

    Madness in this case involves a family enslaving itself to seperated lives under constant observation and restriction while a majority of other members of society have to endorse this loss of freedom and fund the privileges that are its recompense.

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  • http://scrubbedupstudent.blogspot.com Chris W

    Whilst what you say is obviously true in regards to the small support for republicanism, you slip into the same error as the anti-AV brigade towards the end.

    They similarly argued that because there are more important issues happening than AV, we should ignore it. Personally, I don’t rank things before deciding my positions on them. Yes, there are more pressing matters, but that won’t stop me in my belief that the monarchy is an incredibly outdated system in need of scrapping.

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  • Bob

    “…and Conservatives quoting Polly Toynbee on equality…”
    Please don’t refer to the Tories as “Conservatives”. They’re not conservative any more.
    UKIP are the new Conservatives.

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  • Chris

    A typo surely? – ‘the “monarchist answer” is given by between 63 and 78 per cent, while the “republican answer” is given by between 18 per cent’.

    There should be an ‘and 26%’ at the end.

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