Medals From Mummy
Who does the man called Prince Philip think he is? Not recognising hereditary titles, I’ll call him by his actual name: Philip Mountbatten. Having embarassed us for several decades with his constant racism, he finally reveals what he thinks of Green activists: “bunny huggers“. In a BBC interview to celebrate his 90th birthday he makes the hypocrisy of our current government appear positively infantile, by ranting about the effect humans have had on the planet:
“If we’ve got this extraordinary diversity on this globe it seems awfully silly for us to destroy it. All these other creatures have an equal right to exist here, we have no prior rights to the Earth than anybody else and if they’re here let’s give them a chance to survive.”
This from a man who has spent his globetrotting life flying around the world! His carbon footprint must be enormous. He can be forgiven for his childhood roaming, after the Greeks sensibly decided to be a republic and kicked his family out. Fair play to him for serving in WWII on our side onboard meditarranean and pacific fleets. After that he went badly downhill. Having shot an estimated 30,000 deer, rabbit, hare, wild duck, snipe, woodcock, teal, pigeon and partridge and pheasant in Britain alone, he can fairly be described as bloodthirsty. Strange then that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) chose him as their President. I’m not sure which is stranger: them offering him the role or him accepting it. His shooting parties are estimated to have shot 150,000 pheasants in between 1976 and 1996. In 1961, despite protests from politicians in both India and Britain and whilst still the president of the WWF, he went out on an Indian tiger shooting expedition, at a time when the Indian tiger was endangered (it still is, unsurprisingly with people like him on its side). On the same trip he killed a crocodile and six urials (a mountain sheep).
Duke of Hazard
At the height of the recession in 1981 he said, “Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.” In China in 1986 he described Bejing as “ghastly” (remember, this was an official visit) and told British students, “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” He told an expat in Hungary in 1993, “You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly.” Also in 1993, he visited Lockerbie and spoke to a man who lived in a road where 11 people had been murdered by the falling wreckage from the Pam Am jumbo jet. Was he tactful? Was he fuck! He said, “People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.” In 1995 he asked a driving instructor in Scotland, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” In 1996 he broke the constitutional settlement by becoming involved in politics. At the time there was great pressure for reform of the gun law. He said, “There’s no evidence that people who use weapons for sport are any more dangerous than people who use golf clubs or tennis rackets or cricket bats.” In May 1999 he upset a group from the British Deaf Association who were standing near a band, by pointing to the musicians and saying, “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.” These aren’t the only dodgy statements he has made, they are just a selection. His job (and his wife’s for that matter) is to shut the fuck up, to stay out of politics and to promote the hereditary principle, whereby the people born rich and powerful in this world, stay rich and powerful. It’s not a big ask from our Parliament so why can’t he manage it? Probably because he thinks that the rich and powerful are going to stay that way and he can get away with anything. He may have a point. Especially with the spineless nature of most of our politicians, who seem to love nothing more than to get their grubby hands in the expenses till.
Thatcher's Handbag Will Be Auctioned On 27th June
Monarchists have long argued that the status quo should be maintained because the alternative is some tyrannical president as head of state. “What about President Thatcher?”, they ask. I can’t see what she could have got away with as head of state that she didn’t manage in the slightly more minor role of Prime Minister. Can you? What difference would a slightly grander title have made to her obsession with ruining our civil society? She was downright nasty anyway. Since this specious point is the best the establishment can raise, it follows that there is no reason to retain the current system.
The People's Palace
Sometimes we still hear the old argument about them drawing tourists to this country. Brighton & Hove have the only royal palace in the country which is owned by the people. We seem to have plenty of tourists here. Plenty of tourists visit other countries which have turned themselves into republics. This argument holds no water whatsoever.
Not Far From Home
The alternative? An elected head of state would do just fine. They wouldn’t have to have the same powers as the existing prime minister. The Irish have a neat system, with the president largely restricted to ceremonial powers and a Taoiseach (the Irish equivalent of prime minister) wielding the real political power. Seems to work okay for them. There’s no reason why it couldn’t work for us.
The present system celebrates inequality. It glories in the idea that some people are born great and one can only join in the greatness if one is lucky enough to receive a marriage proposal from the inner ranks. It forces our media to act deferentially towards embarassing racists like the birthday boy, Philip Mountbatten, due to the enormous patronage perceived the flow from them.
Worse than any of that, by some estimates approximately one third of all our law stems from what we call Royal Prerogative. This is exercised by the Prime Minister of course, rather than the monarch, but the question remains: why should so much power be wielded by any one person? The power to declare war is the notable example. Because of the diverse subjects covered by royal prerogative and because of the uncertainty of the law in many instances where an ancient power has not been used in modern times, it is difficult to give a comprehensive catalogue of prerogative powers. However, the constitutional lawyers Bradley and Ewing summarise the main areas where the prerogative is used today as follows:
- Powers relating to the legislature, e.g. – the summoning, proroguing and dissolution of parliament; the granting of royal assent to bills; legislating by Order in Council (e.g. in relation to civil service) or by letters patent; creating schemes for conferring benefits upon citizens where Parliament appropriates the necessary finance.
- Powers relating to the judicial system, e.g. – various functions carried out through the Attorney General and the Lord Advocate; pardoning of convicted offenders or remitting or reducing sentences; granting special leave for appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
- Powers relating to foreign affairs, e.g. – the making of treaties, the declaration of war and the making of peace; restraining aliens from entering the UK and the issue of passports.
- Powers relating to the armed forces e.g. – the Sovereign is commander in chief of the armed forces of the Crown and the control, organisation and disposition of the armed forces are within the prerogative.
- Appointments and honours, e.g. – appointment of ministers, judges and many other holders of public office; creation of peers and conferring of honours and decorations.
- Immunities and privileges, e.g. – the personal immunity of the Sovereign from being sued.
- The prerogative in times of emergency, e.g. – requisitioning of ships (where compensation would be payable).
- Miscellaneous prerogatives – various other historic powers relating to such things as royal charters, mining precious metals, coinage, franchises for markets, treasure trove, printing, guardianship of infants.
The monarch retains some important powers of personal prerogative: the appointment of a Prime Minister, the dissolution of Parliament and the giving of Royal Assent to pass bills into law. It is often said that the last time a monarch refused to sign a bill into law was in 1708 and that, therefore, there is now a constitutional ‘understanding’ that this refusal cannot happen. However, in 1945 the monarch declined to approve of the Ministers suggested by Clement Atlee, on the grounds that he was too left-wing. Although Attlee did not require the monarch’s assent for the appointment, he buckled under the pressure and appointed someone else. This is within living memory. Much more recently, it is commonly known that the man known as Prince Charles (real name: Charles Philip Arthur George) frequently fires off letters to ministers and demands replies. He meddles generally in politics wherever he sees fit. At best he is wasting our time but at worst there is something much more sinister going on.
The constitutional settlement for the status quo is quite clear. As I’ve said above, the monarch and her family retain their titles and privilege in exchange for staying out of politics and representing the best of Britain abroad. Since they routinely break this understanding, can we not get rid of them? Apparently not! None of the three mainstream political parties call for a republic.
The Green Party stands out from the other political factions in Westminster. It believes that the hereditary principle should have no place in government. In its present statement of policy on public administration, it says:
a. No person shall acquire the right to any office of government by inheritance.
b. An hereditary peerage shall confer no right to sit in Parliament (see PA455).
c. The monarchy shall cease to be an office of government. The legislative, executive and judicial roles of the monarch shall cease.
d. Peers and members of the royal family shall have the same civil rights and fiscal obligations as other citizens.
e. A settlement of property held by the current royal family shall be made, to divide it between that required for the private life of current members of the family and that to be public property.
Seems fair enough, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s more than fair enough. They’ve lived the life alright, with wealth stolen from all over the world. I personally don’t think that they should get any compensation but, hey, I can live with some kind of permanent division between the wealth that is truly theirs and the wealth that they hold on trust for the people so to speak.
3rd In Line For The Throne
It’s time we stopped putting up with the likes of Philip, Charles and the one known as Prince Harry (Henry Charles Albert David is his actual name). Even if they could somehow be cured of their persistent racism, the whole arrangement with their family has become a burden on us. It is time we were citizens, not subjects.