Sunday, 24 April 2016

The True Cost of the Royal Family is More Than Pounds and Pence

http://previous.presstv.ir/photo/20120601/lotfi_morteza20120601165408200.jpg




Youtube educational channel CGP Grey made a video about the Royal Family five years ago, and its below average compared to their usually educational trivia. The poor quality is clearly a result of the presenters bias in favour of the Royal Family, a bias that jumps out of their tone and subject choices.

The first part of the video dealing with the economics of the Royal Family and relations to the rest of the UK (Parliament) is correct though it skips other some interesting and important incidents in that relationship, like the time in 1795 when the Prince of Wales married the Princess of Brunswick and Parliament raised an £65,000 per year to pay off her debts. This was at a time when food riots were common, and starvation threatened thousands of commoners.

But the real issues begin after the video moves beyond this into other areas. Tourism for one, he talks about American tourism and states that it is simply because of the Royal family, and so the Royal Family are responsible for the GDP share that tourism brings in.

This is a common argument trotted out by Monarchists in the rare occasions that the Royal Family is publicly challenged, and as per usual nothing is given to substantiate it.

Because there simply isn't, first US tourists aren't the most common tourists to the UK in 2014 they were in third place behind France (1,980,000) and Germany (1,460,000) with a total of 1,280,000. That's quite a high number but it isn't what is being argued here. And as for why those Americans visit we're given the answer "the Queen". So language and family connections don't factor into this at all hey?

Interestingly in that same year 24 million Americans went to Mexico, and 12 million to Canada, so if governmental systems are the main attractions for tourism and tourist revenue a good reason to keep or change that system, I guess the UK should turn itself into a Federal Republic. Oh and the only thing given as evidence for the importance of the Queen to the Yankee tourist dollar was France. Now according to the statistics I could find, boring Republican Paris is a close second to London, oh and France is global number one travel destination for tourism, having 84 million visitors in 2014. And the UK was beaten by the republican USA, China, Italy, Turkey, and Germany. But Monarchist Spain was third with 65 million tourists so its not all doom and gloom for the Crown.

But enough about tourism, the video gets much worse. At 3:30 the video talks about Royal prerogatives in a dismissive way. Showing a rather simplistic view, yes the Royal Prerogatives are really used by the actual Royal, but they've been used by most governments ever since. A Prerogative is

The Royal Prerogatives are a series of historic powers formally exercised by the monarch acting alone, but which in reality are exercised by government ministers. They enable government ministers to rule virtually by decree, without the backing of or consultation with Parliament, in many areas not covered by statute. A.V Dicey has described the Royal Prerogative as: “the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the crown”.

In relation to foreign affairs, the powers cover:
  • the recognition of foreign states;
  • the declaration of war;
  • the making of treaties;
  • the accreditation of diplomats; and
  • the deployment of armed forces in the UK and abroad.
In relation to domestic matters, the powers include:
  • the appointment and dismissal of ministers;
  • the issuing and withdrawal of passports;
  • the appointment of Queen’s Counsel;
  • the dissolution of Parliament;
  • the granting of honours;
  • appointments to, and employment conditions of, the civil service;
  • the commissioning and regulation of the armed forces; and
  • the calling of elections.*
There is also the prerogative of ‘mercy’, which affects the judicial system. It means that ‘pardons’ can be granted in relation to a criminal conviction (i.e. it used to allow the withdrawal of the death penalty), or legal proceedings can be halted against an individual.

Now these powers are used by the Prime Minister, but that doesn't mean the Monarchy is sqeuky clean, the government is still using autocratic powers to subvert the principle of democracy, and given they do require the public consent of the Monarch of the day, that means the Queen/King is still complicit in these acts.

Thanks to the Royal prerogative the UK government can declare war on a whim, and control the civil service. These are very serious parts of the UK governmental system and they stem directly from the Crown. The video alleges that abolishing the Monarchy wouldn't change much and they may be right Republican movement have sometimes deposed one family simply to build another form of tyranny. But sometimes they have succeeded in granting at least limited freedoms. The fact that Royal Prerogatives come from the Royal family would suggest that an attack on the Royals legitimacy would also attack the legitimacy of its powers.

Then at 4:00 the video takes its final most absurd step by coming up with a hypothetical Queen Elizabeth II as global despot. This suggests that the maker of the video genuinely doesn't understand the institution of Monarchy at all really. The Monarchical system is more than the actual Monarch, human beings do not live for ever and so do not rule forever (Unless your name is Kim). Even if the current Monarch is amazing, that's no guarantee that the rest of them in the future will be.

After all King Edward VIII whom actually appears in the video at 02:04 was a Nazi sympathiser and an agent for the Axis powers.

"The active supporters of the Duke of Windsor within England are those elements known to have inclinations towards Fascist dictatorships, and the recent tour of Germany by the Duke of Windsor and his ostentatious reception by Hitler and his regime can only be construed as a willingness on the part of the Duke of Windsor to lend himself to these tendencies."
 "The American understood he was being asked to carry a message to the President, but he was unsure of the exact terms. As he was leaving the governor general's residence, the duke's aide-de-camp spelt it out. He instructed Oursler to tell the President that if he would make an offer for intervention for peace, before anyone in England could oppose it, the duke would instantly issue a statement supporting the move. It would start a revolution in England and, the duke hoped, lead to peace."

Although funnily enough this absurd hypothetical isn't nearly as absurd or hypothetical as the video maker thinks. The House of Windsor is actually very comfortable with the idea of coups and brutal Monarchies. To take one example the Queen is married to Prince Philip, who as most tabloid readers will know is Greek. Greek royalty to be precise, the Greek Royal  Family remains close to the British family despite the embarrassment of being kicked off the throne in 1973. Constantine II was on the guest list for the Queen's diamond Jubilee before protests by the Greek government got him dropped.

 “Constantine is not allowed to go,” a courtier tells me. “If the Queen could invite whom she liked, of course he would be there.” Constantine attended the Duke of Cambridge’s wedding and is a regular guest at the most important royal events. His sister, Queen Sofia of Spain, has been invited to the luncheon.

Why so much hostility, well Constantine II wasn't happy being a constitutional monarch and decided on a little restoration, in 1967 there was a coup by right wing officers, mostly of the rank of Colonel hence the nickname "Colonel's Coup". The King decided to support them, (many generals and the Navy and Air force were loyal to the royal family). Unfortunately by December the relationship between the King and the Junta broke down, so the King decided to run his own coup using the officers and units loyal to him. The counter coup failed miserable merely strengthening the Junta's position so the King and his family fled to Rome. In 1974 the people of Greece would show their appreciation for the King's politicking and the regime it helped create by voting for a republic.



http://i.imgur.com/cxlDLUj.jpg

But that was Greece and decades ago, well at the time The Queen with the rest of the government backed the Junta even after the hapless Constantine had fled. Also on the Jubilee guest list were the King's of Romania and Bulgaria. Two houses that supported brutal genocide and oppression in the 20th century.

 Between 1941 and 1944, Romania was responsible for exterminating approximately 300,000 Jews, giving it the sinister distinction of ranking second only to Germany in terms of the number of Jews murdered during the Second World War.
The new legal policy, dictated by the governments of King Carol II and Marshall Ion Antonescu, discriminated against the Jews of Transylvania and Banat, among other groups, on the basis of citizenship. Moreover, it confirmed the intention to apply a "detailed plan" of deportation of the Jews from the above-mentioned areas (The Archive of the Jewish Communities of Timisoara, Doc. 76-78, 1943). Negotiations for these deportations began in November 1941 and were resumed in the spring and summer of 1942. All attempts to persuade the authorities to change this policy failed. An existing prejudice towards Jews as an ethnic group - according to which the Jews of Southern Transylvania could become spies or betray the Romanian interests as speakers of Hungarian and German - played an important role in the hostility against them. - See more at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/236-between-hungary-and-romania-the-case-the-southern-transylvanias-jews-during-the#sthash.ulNcVCMV.dpuf
The new legal policy, dictated by the governments of King Carol II and Marshall Ion Antonescu, discriminated against the Jews of Transylvania and Banat, among other groups, on the basis of citizenship. Moreover, it confirmed the intention to apply a "detailed plan" of deportation of the Jews from the above-mentioned areas (The Archive of the Jewish Communities of Timisoara, Doc. 76-78, 1943). Negotiations for these deportations began in November 1941 and were resumed in the spring and summer of 1942. All attempts to persuade the authorities to change this policy failed. An existing prejudice towards Jews as an ethnic group - according to which the Jews of Southern Transylvania could become spies or betray the Romanian interests as speakers of Hungarian and German - played an important role in the hostility against them. - See more at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/236-between-hungary-and-romania-the-case-the-southern-transylvanias-jews-during-the#sthash.ulNcVCMV.dpuf
The new legal policy, dictated by the governments of King Carol II and Marshall Ion Antonescu, discriminated against the Jews of Transylvania and Banat, among other groups, on the basis of citizenship. Moreover, it confirmed the intention to apply a "detailed plan" of deportation of the Jews from the above-mentioned areas (The Archive of the Jewish Communities of Timisoara, Doc. 76-78, 1943). Negotiations for these deportations began in November 1941 and were resumed in the spring and summer of 1942. All attempts to persuade the authorities to change this policy failed. An existing prejudice towards Jews as an ethnic group - according to which the Jews of Southern Transylvania could become spies or betray the Romanian interests as speakers of Hungarian and German - played an important role in the hostility against them. - See more at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/236-between-hungary-and-romania-the-case-the-southern-transylvanias-jews-during-the#sthash.ulNcVCMV.dpuf

Oh and there was a time when a commonwealth government was overthrown by the military in 1975 that had no protests or condemnation. That nation was the little known Australia, and the reasons for the coup involved the royal relationship.

 Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.
 Sir John Kerr, the Governor General (the crown's representative to Australia) with the support of MI6 and the CIA deposed the elected Prime Minister Gough Whitlam using the powers of the Crown.



 The democratic process destroyed using the powers of the Monarch. Every Monarchist should ask themselves, if the Queen is happy to hobknob with brutal autocrats, and have her powers used to topple elected governments, would she really be opposed to the same happening here?

Of course the greatest fault of the video is that the whole thing is a massive strawman. The objections to the continuation of the Monarchical system are not those presented in the video. Here's what Republic the largest and most prominent Republican group in Britain has to say on the matter.



It's simple: Hereditary public office goes against every democratic principle.
And because we can’t hold the Queen and her family to account at the ballot box, there’s nothing to stop them abusing their privilege, misusing their influence or simply wasting our money.
Meanwhile, the monarchy gives vast arbitrary power to the government, shutting voters out from major decisions affecting the national interest.  The Queen can only ever act in the interests of the government of the day and does not represent ordinary voters.
The monarchy is a broken institution. A head of state that’s chosen by us could really represent our hopes and aspirations – and help us keep politicians in check.

It's simple: Hereditary public office goes against every democratic principle.
And because we can’t hold the Queen and her family to account at the ballot box, there’s nothing to stop them abusing their privilege, misusing their influence or simply wasting our money.
Meanwhile, the monarchy gives vast arbitrary power to the government, shutting voters out from major decisions affecting the national interest.  The Queen can only ever act in the interests of the government of the day and does not represent ordinary voters.
The monarchy is a broken institution. A head of state that’s chosen by us could really represent our hopes and aspirations – and help us keep politicians in check.
- See more at: https://republic.org.uk/what-we-want#sthash.sJ6Vh5Jy.dpuf
And in not one second of this video are these costs of the monarchy responded too.

*We now have fixed terms of five years, however there are two exceptions for an earlier election and they both require the consent of the ruling Monarch. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog

 
#blog-pager { display: block !important; float: none!important; } .blog-pager-older-link, .home-link, .blog-pager-newer-link { background-color: #FFFFFF!important; }