Monarchy “perpetuates inequality” says Plaid AM


As the Queen officially opened the fourth National Assembly for Wales following May’s devolved elections, one Plaid Cymru AM, has dubbed the monarchy as representing “a hereditary class system which perpetuates inequality”.

Queen-ElizebethAs new members of the Assembly used the opening as an opportunity to reflect on their new found law making powers and responsibilities, a number of Plaid AMs took the decision instead not to attend, concluding that their time was better spent in their constituencies than hearing the Queen.

Among them was Leanne Wood, AM for the South Wales Central region who used the opportunity to once again outline her objection to the principle of the monarchy, arguing:

“In the modern Wales people should not be subjects, we should be citizens. The monarchy represents a hereditary class system which perpetuates inequality.

“The Royals are an unaccountable, privileged elite allowed and encouraged by government to expand its wealth through the patronage of the civil list, the honours system and the land assets their ancestors pillaged from common people. The income they can make from the Crown Estates land in Wales in future years is money that could be well used by the cash- strapped Welsh government.

“It is worth remembering that while millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is spent every year on maintaining the Royal family and their hangers-on in the style they are accustomed to, adults and children are going hungry because they have no money to buy food.”

Her words however received short shrift from Labour MP for the Rhondda, and shadow Constitutional and Political Reform minister, Chris Bryant who said of the move:

“This is just childish attention-seeking. Most people in the Rhondda, whether they are republicans or monarchists, reckon the Queen does an exceptional job and would expect all members of the Assembly to show her a certain degree of respect. With all her experience, I suspect the Queen could teach Ms Wood a thing or two.”

As a number of Plaid members sought to use the opening as an opportunity to reiterate their concerns over the continued existence of the monarchy, first minister, Carwyn Jones used it to pledge that the fourth Assembly and government in Wales, will and should be one that concentrates firmly on delivery.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales ahead of the opening, he explained:

“The big challenge for us is to make sure people know what we’re doing and can measure what we’re doing – perhaps we haven’t been as good at doing that in the past.

“It’s important that you don’t just do things for the betterment of society in government but (that) you actually make sure people understand what you’re doing and can measure what you’re doing.”

He went on to confirm that he would be establishing, and personally leading a new Delivery Unit at Cardiff Bay, formulating targets and other measurable outcomes to demonstrate to the people of Wales how the government was delivering on its commitments made to the electorate in May.

The language of delivery came as the leaders of the devolved administrations and the UK government prepare to meet together for the first time since the elections, with the economy likely to be high on the agenda. With that in mind, following the publication of the IMF’s report into the state of the UK economy, the Welsh government has continued to warn:

“We have repeatedly said that the recovery is very fragile and we call on ministers in London to re-think their approach and not jeopardise what progress we have seen. Our view is that the UK government’s current approach cuts too deep and too fast.”

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  • Selohesra

    For once I agree with Bryant – normally he just talks pants

  • Robert

    Plaid are now not even a major force in Wales, they made a massive mistake in saying they would not rule out from going into coalition with the Tories, a massive mistake for a party that does not even know what the people of this small country thinks, it has spent so long talking to it’s self without asking the people. Wales is a country still badly scared by the Tories, my own AM a very good Mary Helen Jones lost out to Labour by eighty votes, if Plaid had not stated they would go into coalition she would have won hands down. I know that Plaid was hoping the Tories would win well, with them coming high up, they would then hold a whipping hand with the Tories, except they forgot people had to vote for them first.

    I could not believe that Plaid would even state this but they did, then tried to sell the fact they were a socialist party, looking out for the poor working class the sick the disabled.

    It backfired, now of course they want to be seen as some sort of party of the people, working for you, and again they miss the mood of the people again.

    What I think of the queen is not what my neigbours think, so yes by all means do not bother going to the opening, but do not try and make it into this massive party political ideal.

    Labour has now to prove they can do what they promised and they have to prove that the NHS is safe in labour hands, because right now waiting times are getting serious, to day we are told our fire station will only be manned by five full time firemen, ten will be let go, the station may well be only manned during the day. this is a labour council.

    Now comes the moment of truth.

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  • Dave Citizen

    Please let’s not allow a crucial issue like levels of inequality in Britain to get dragged into a petty arguement about monarchy. Extreme inequality currently blighting Britain needs tackling because it’s holding back our economy and damaging social wellbeing. Plenty of much more equal (and successful) countries still have monarchies.

  • mr. Sensible

    Wow, Plaid were at one stage talking about Coalition with the Tories, and now this?

    That’s a U-turn and a half!

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  • richard

    I watched the documentary with Fiona Bruce. One moment in the film highlighted the psychological effects of the class system. John Watts a former young offender spoke about being invited to take part in a Duke Of Edinburgh programme 3 years ago. “When I was at school I had heard of the Duke Of Edinburgh awards but my perception was it was for a higher class of person. Not for people like me.” This is the problem with the monarchy. It creates a class system where your accent and background determine how important you are and how much respect you are afforded by other members of society. The psychological effect of this has a negative effect on mental health, aspiration and social mobility. If Labour really wants to help the working class – they should campaign against the class system. At the very least call for honours and titles to be abolished.

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  • leontrotsky

    Well put Leanne.

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